UPDATE: Luboš Motl finds some interesting tidbits about the state of science at Sb, see below the “Continue reading” line.
UPDATE2: PZ Myers ends his “strike” and flames me, see response in Update2 below.
Many WUWT readers are familiar with some blogs that reside at Sb. For example there’s Wikipedia edit master, William Connolley’s “Stoat-taking Science by the throat“, Tim Lambert’s “Deltoid“, and some others like the well known Pharyngula by the ever grouchy PZ. Myers. It’s all good fun to read.
But, now there’s quite an exodus occurring at the scienceblogs.com conglomerate. Just look at the front page for today and the list of bloggers leaving or expressing concerns:
What’s happened? Well it all started with the parent company, SEED, allowing the Pepsi Company to start a blog on nutrition. Some bloggers went ballistic, perceiving that SEED caved to the almighty dollar and let some evil corporation into the sacred science temple.
Newsflash: SEED is a business. The Guardian did a story on the Sb blogger anger, and Sb was faced with a mass revolt. The SEED management didn’t handle it well enough or fast enough for some bloggers tastes, even though they removed the Pepsi Food Frontiers blog. The result: 15 Sb bloggers upped and quit in protest. Here’s the content they are protesting.
As PZ Myers writes at Pharyngula, it is getting worse, more bloggers are leaving, and he’s on strike with a list of demands for the Sb management.
It’s come to this. We’ve been facing a steady erosion of talent here at Scienceblogs, with the loss of good people like Carl Zimmer and Ed Yong a while back, and with the very abrupt departure of 15 bloggers after the recent PepsiCo debacle — an event that damaged the reputation of this place. And now just yesterday we lost PalMD and Bora. Something is going rotten here. What could it be?
Just in the time it took me to write this up this morning, Superbug, Zuska, and Speakeasy Science have all announced their departures, and Casaubon’s Book is considering it. We really are having a serious crisis of confidence, and Seed has to wake up and take action.
Add Mike Dunford to the list of departures.
Sb is crumbling fast. It seems to be the season for things crumbling. I wonder though, how many of those indignant bloggers that couldn’t handle a PepsiCo sponsored nutrition blog actually consume many of PepsiCo’s brands and don’t know it? There’s a lot of brands, Doritos and Mountain Dew for example. What blogger can do without those?
And PepsiCo has a lot of green brands, like Ethos Water that helps children get clean water worldwide.
And who could argue with the greenness and innovation of PepsiCo stuff like this?
Point is that the bloggers who resigned in protest over a nutrition blog probably consume some of these things and don’t even know who makes it.
But what is really funny is how the new Food Frontiers blog was presented by SEED management in the first place:
As part of this partnership, we’ll hear from a wide range of experts on how the company is developing products rooted in rigorous, science-based nutrition standards to offer consumers more wholesome and enjoyable foods and beverages. The focus will be on innovations in science, nutrition and health policy. In addition to learning more about the transformation of PepsiCo’s product portfolio, we’ll be seeing some of the innovative ways it is planning to reduce its use of energy, water and packaging.
Oh the humanity! Lots of tolerance over there at Sb.
I’ll give this piece of advice we always used to give in the TV Newsroom to people calling in that demanded we remove/edit/censure certain news stories, TV shows, or advertisements:
I understand your concerns, thank you, there’s no need to yell. Respectfully, if you don’t like the content, change the channel, we don’t force you to watch.
I find the whole Sb revolt thing hilarious. It’s a tempest in a pop can. Of course, PepsiCo could have defused this whole thing simply by making an announcement to stop putting deadly earth killing CO2 in their sodas, and instead sequestering it out back, underground. Then they’d be heroes, right?
UPDATE: Luboš Motl finds some interesting tidbits about the state of science at Sb:
To demonstrate that scienceblogs.com has almost nothing to do with science these days, let us look at the five most active articles on their server, according to the main page of scienceblogs.com:
1. Episode LXXXII: Is this the thread for the tea party?… P.Z. Myers just included a would-be funny video that attacks the tea party movement
2. Monckton vs The House of Lords… Tim Lambert wrote a short text discussing purely the form, not the content, of some exchanges of Lord Monckton with the deputies
3. What fresh torment can we perpetrate on young girls?… P.Z. Myers discusses breast ironing in Cameroon and argues it occurs because the inhabitants are Catholics
4. Boyd Haley finally does the right thing, but is it for the wrong reasons?… Orac celebrates that the ScienceBlogs surrendered to the commies like him in PepsiGate; it’s discussed that evil companies are adding drugs to food
5. GOP Talking Points Even GOP Doesn’t Believe… Ed Brayton about Bush tax cuts. Doesn’t even pretend to be science
As you can see, science is virtually non-existent over there and everything is biased left-wing politics. But they still have the breathtaking arrogance to attack PepsiCo’s scientific blog on nutrition as insufficiently scientific for them.
Compare the above postings to the Food Frontiers blog now at PepsiCo’s website.
UPDATE2: Predictably, the always angry PZ Myers goes zerkers over this post. He thinks I don’t understand the issue of “ethics of keeping advertising separate from content”. Um Newsflash there PZ. I spent 25 years in a TV and radio newsrooms, don’t lecture me about keeping infomercials off the news. I’ve fought that battle. But as I pointed out and PZ missed, if people don’t like infomericals, they can turn off the TV or switch the channel. The organized rant that forced SEED to remove the PepsiCo Food Frontiers blog denies readers their right to choose. That’s so uncool but typical for people like PZ that think people shouldn’t be allowed to choose for themselves. Just look at his religious hatreds he posts regularly. No science there, just hate.
Also, without citing a single sentence he claims I have particular take, that the reason for the exodus is that people don’t like PepsiCo products. Well noooooo, if you’d read it rather than engage your typical hateful knee jerk keyboard pounding reaction, you see it was a question.
I wonder though, how many of those indignant bloggers that couldn’t handle a PepsiCo sponsored nutrition blog actually consume many of PepsiCo’s brands and don’t know it?
Some class act that PZ. He is the face of Sb today, so sad that science is co-marketed with anger and hate there.
UPDATE3: see my detailed comment below