NSF "blurring the lines between journalism and PR"


The Observatory — July 01, 2009 10:23 AM

NSF “Underwriting” Coverage…

And other controversies from the World Conference of Science Journalists

By Curtis Brainard

LONDON — The sixth World Conference of Science Journalists got off to an enjoyably controversial start here on Tuesday afternoon.

The event takes place against the backdrop of concurrent editorials in the world’s leading scientific journals, Science and Nature (the former by CJR contributing editor Cristine Russell), exploring the ongoing “crisis” and potential “swan song” of science journalism. To be sure, these dire perspectives are no mere exaggerations.

The opening session of WCSJ featured three provocative speakers, introduced by BBC News correspondent Nick Higham, who posed the questions: “Do we need a new kind of science journalism?” and “Where do traditional journalists fit into the new media landscape?”

The ensuing discussion quickly revealed that regardless of whether or not we need a new type of science journalism, we are surely getting one, and that traditional science journalists are being marginalized in the process. Of the three speakers, it was perhaps Jeff Nesbit—the director of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation—that most riled up the audience.

The consternation stemmed from the fact that the NSF—a federal agency that funds twenty percent of all federally supported, non-medical basic research in the United States—is now “underwriting” a wide array of media projects. Some of these are fairly traditional in nature. For example, the NSF has provided major funding for a number of PBS reports and plays no role in the editorial process or creating the final product. In partnerships with U.S. News & World Report and LiveScience, however, the outlets are posting content created by the NSF, researchers, or public information officers (all of which is labeled as having come from the NSF). There are also a few miscellaneous projects, such as Science Nation, a video series produced by members of CNN’s former science team (which the network axed last December); a recent panel event with Discover magazine; The Discovery Files, a series of podcasts that air on about 1,500 commercial radio stations in the U.S.; and Science 360, a Web site which aggregates all NSF-generated content (which, being publically funded, is available to anybody that wants to use it).

A number of audience members stood up to challenge Nesbit, arguing that the NSF is dangerously blurring the lines between journalism and PR, and is attempting to “disguise” publicity as objective reporting. Higham, the panel’s moderator, also asked whether or not it is “healthy for science journalism to be supported by NSF.”

To his credit, Nesbit, a former journalist, seems to be well aware that the NSF’s media endeavors pose a threat to journalism. “We realize that there is high risk,” he said in response to Higham’s question, “but at this point I would say that it’s a necessity.”

Indeed, LiveScience senior editor Robin Lloyd was in the audience and stood up to say that the outlet, which has recently lost about half of its editorial staff, “appreciates” the content that NSF provides. In an interview after the panel she added that the NSF maintains a high standard of quality, but also acknowledged that posting pre-packaged content is not an “ideal” situation. “We are throwing up their press stuff,” she said.

Nesbit wasn’t the only controversial figure on the opening panel. Ben Hammersley, associate editor at Wired Magazine UK, made a powerful case that the problems engendered by the rise of new media have, in fact, been chipping away at traditional journalism for ten to fifteen years. “We’ve been chased down the street by a snail,” he said. As such, Wired is “not asking what to do about new media, but what to do in the post new media age.”

Hammersley argued that there would eventually be a “re-specialization of journalists.” The current popular wisdom that the modern journalist should be a jack-of-all-trades, fluent in writing, video, radio, Web production, and a host of other skills is a flight of fancy, he said. If we ask journalists to do everything, they will fail. Eventually, Hammersley believes, we’ll come to understand that readers and audiences follow those who can produce “extreme quality” in individual disciplines from feature writing to Twittering.

“The market is about to shake out even harder than it did five years ago,” he said, and from its applause, most of the audience seemed to agree with him. But some took issue with Hammersley’s further conclusion that “the appearance that we don’t need science journalists comes from the uncomfortable conclusion that we had too many to start with.”

While most conceded that there will be, unfortunately, fewer journalists overall, some conference goers found Hammersley’s perspective defeatist. One questioned why he is ready to concede jobs rather than examining why new publications have failed to sustain more of them—a fair point.

With so many pressures on the journalism industry as a whole, such anxious debates are to be expected and desired. Case in point was the session’s third panelist—Krishna Bharat, the principal scientist at and founder of Google News. Bharat said that the Web site’s mission is to “get people to read more news, bring the best information to people who need it, and to promote freedom of speech.”

Yet while many in the audience lauded the utility of Google News, a number questioned its impact on the industry (such as news outlets’ efforts to improve search engine optimization at the expense of quality, or criticism that Google should share some of the money it makes off news links). One person pointed out that, for all Bharat’s noble goals, Google has done little to engage journalists at major outlets in an effort to find wasy to alleviate some of the industry’s woes.

Among the 800 or so participants at the WCSJ there are clearly many differences of opinion about whether these trends will prove to be banes or boons for informing the public about the relevance of science. One thing is happily certain, though—nobody is taking any of it lightly.

h/t to T J Overton

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July 9, 2009 8:04 am

Google itself is politically slanted. And Bingo was his name O.

July 9, 2009 8:06 am

Ron Hubbard, in his novel Mission Earth, makes a depiction of journalism that predicts with great precision all this….media doesnt do information any more. it is propaganda at its worse.

UK Sceptic
July 9, 2009 8:07 am

Nick Higham should be asking, “Do we need an honest kind of science journalism that isn’t based on alarmism, political propaganda and BS?”
To which the sensible reply should be – YES!

Leon Brozyna
July 9, 2009 8:22 am

Most of what passes for journalism these days (and it’s not limited to just the field of science) is mostly a reading of press releases that are massaged a bit and then read each night by network talking heads. It’s no longer news but entertainment. Which is why we’re witnessing the major old media dying on the vine. We now are turning to the internet and sifting through numerous blogs and news sites, forced to separate the wheat from the chaff ourselves – which is itself far more entertaining an endeavor than listening to the nightly entertainment half hour.

Ron de Haan
July 9, 2009 8:25 am

This is an entirely natural process.
It happens when a free society is turned in a Government Controlled Socialist State.
You only have to elect another President to solve the problem.

Pamela Gray
July 9, 2009 9:07 am

The media will provide what the public majority will watch so that advertisers can buy slots and the broadcast can make money. Remember when the daily news was an evening event around dinner time and with no commercials? Not only did we not see commercials, the news NEVER covered celebrities as the main focus. We also did not see reporters providing any kind of editorial opinion during the report. At the end of the news, one of the reporters gave an editorial comment but that was the only time during the 1/2 hour segment. This isn’t government control, this is a free wheeling industry out to make a buck for stock holders and family dynasties. We watch the garbage called news for the same reason we are all getting fat on fast food. The enemy is us.

July 9, 2009 9:20 am

Is it worse for outlets to re-publish NSF press releases, and identify the source as an NSF press release – or is it worse for what most newspapers do today, re-publish the original press release under their own name, and not identify the source as NSF (or other PR fluff source)?
Last week, I read a news story that I tracked back to the original PR fluff piece. The news story (circulated by AP) had lightly edited the original PF fluff piece, and then added a claim never made by the press release or the study authors – blaming global warming for the newly found situation.
The fundamental problem is that reporters generally opt for the easy and lazy way out – just copy the press release. And allow themselves to be manipulated by the science community. Reporters treat scientists with “deferential reverence” and accept answers that they would never accept from a politician. Reporters have little to no understanding of the peer review process (peer review does not mean that the study has been replicated or its data and methods thoroughly analyzed, contrary to what some reporters have actually written). Most reporters have not had a math class since their high school algebra class and their brains go numb when they see numbers – and as a group are generally incapable of understanding and questioning statistical analysis.
All science labs have PR agencies spinning reports about their newly released studies. The press releases often make claims beyond those of the study to increase the seeming importance of the organization or the studies findings. Sadly, reporters lack the skills necessary to ask probing questions. And typically lightly edit the PR spin and then pretend to have committed journalism by publishing the press release.
The problem is not the NSF – the problem is the poor quality of journalism and low skill sets of most journalists reporting on science and engineering topics.

July 9, 2009 9:49 am

News is only reality-based entertainment for money these days. If providing unvarnished facts were to provide more income than providing trivia and propaganda, then someone would sell facts.
These days “facts” are a “niche” product with limited income potential.

Jon Jewett
July 9, 2009 9:51 am

Ron de Haan (08:25:24) :
“You only have to elect another President to solve the problem”
Presidents in both Honduras and Venezuela are trying to become “Presidents-for-life” (just like Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe). And in both cases, the grab for power is supported by the current administration. Also the so called “bail out bill” included some $1 billion for block grants to organizations such as Acorn. I pray that I am just being paranoid, but it may not be that easy to make a “change”.
Steamboat Jack

Steve in SC
July 9, 2009 9:56 am

The media has been shrieking fire in the theater in order to gain attention from their brethren who are doing the same thing. Liars all.
My personal thoughts about them are snip snip snip snip and snip snip. They are lazy and most have no idea about anything remotely resembling science. Propagandists at best.

July 9, 2009 10:07 am

What’s needed is an NSF that’s devoted to objectivity. Paying for its PR to be publicized defeats any appearance of objectivity for both the NSF and the media outlets. No media outlet is truly objective[*] as each have editorial bias. Still, there was an apparent effort toward objectivity. Accepting what amounts to paid ads and subsequently not reporting it as such is yielding all pretext.
[*] I’m reminded of a Twain essay on the funny things kids say in school where he relates the answer of one child asked to define “Republican”. The child answered “a sinner mentioned in the Bible”. Twain wryly noted “also in Democratic newspapers”.

July 9, 2009 10:09 am

Live Science is a prime example of bad science journalism. Every item that I know something about leaves me disputing the conclusions because of misinformation, omitted information, and sometime even illogical conclusions from the evidence presented. I’ve emailed the authors occasionally to complain, but have received no response nor seen any improvement in quality. I assume they’re mostly young, naive, recent journalism BAs who took a science course or two. Richard Kerr who a decade ago used to (and perhaps still does) write summary articles for Science was much more thorough and knowledgeable about a range of subjects. The quality of his work was consistent.

Jeff Wood
July 9, 2009 10:18 am

The exquisite Pamela makes an excellent point. The rubbish in popular media – I write from Britain – is there because the readers, viewers, and listeners accept it.
Even our traditionally highbrow media are declining in quality, all in favour of a buck or two. Is there no money in truth, accuracy, scepticism, and so on?
Dark Age Lite coming up. Thank goodness for the Interweb thingy, where my suspicions of the Global Warming tale were confirmed, and I find such excellent people; most I suspect, half my age.

July 9, 2009 10:22 am

I am not surprised by this since I have been following the similar ‘use’ of the media in the medical area through Sandy’s wonderful Junkfoodscience site. In that case, medical companies, NGO’s and the like issue papers by press release instead of the traditional method of journals. In this format, the results of studies can be spun without being questioned, and non-skeptical news outlets get quick and often sensational pre-packaged snippets to publish. Hundreds of news outlets can be used to carry an item in a single day this way.
I think there is a an underlying reason for this, and that is that journalists and the public at large are generally not sophisticated enough (or lack time and energy) to understand studies and possibly more importantly their methodologies. I have never forgotten Arthur C. Clarke’s Law stating that any sufficiently advanced technology will appear to be magic. Couple this with the idea inculcated in minds of my generation that scientists are objective, dispassionat relaters of the truth and you essentially have a religious hierarchy where a select few issue bulls to the public through their faithful and uncritical intermediaries.
When the only function of journalism is the quick dissemination of sensational information, the ability of a few to manipulate the masses increases without end. I can think of no better illustration of this than the whole global warming farce undergirded by the ‘mankind is destroying the world’ meme. it is the wholesale manufacture of ‘truth.’

Pamela Gray
July 9, 2009 10:25 am

In Twain’s day, the dems were highly religious southerners who still stung from losing their slaves and states rights (in other words, “conservative”). The repubs were somewhat less religious northerners who championed the nationalistic Union (in other words “liberal”). Repubs were considered sinners because they were thought to be non-religious heathens.

July 9, 2009 11:00 am

Post modern science. More writing and less calculation.
All these models are not calulation. They are projection of subjective beliefs and extrapolation.

July 9, 2009 11:19 am

To my mind, the whole of journalism has been strangled by the media moguls over the last several years and, in the main, has become a political tool to manipulate the masses.
Science journalism is no better. I won’t lose any sleep when they go to the wall – sooner the better.

John Galt
July 9, 2009 11:25 am

Science reporting in the mainstream media IS nothing more than re-writing press releases, plus getting a few additional quotes.

July 9, 2009 11:36 am

“The market is about to shake out even harder than it did five years ago,” he said, and from its applause, most of the audience seemed to agree with him. But some took issue with Hammersley’s further conclusion that “the appearance that we don’t need science journalists comes from the uncomfortable conclusion that we had too many to start with.”
What a thing to say as the economy is contracting in a melt-down. I said it once in another post, and I’ll say it again… When there is no controlling mechanism at the foundation of the economy (money and credit), it becomes impossible to say wheather is too much or too little of anything. Financials gyrate in the absence of an effective anchor and compass. And with them jobs. And since i’m not one to beleive in coicidence, apparently objectivity in the media does as well, which is the only shortage that I see.
Leon Brozyna (08:22:53) : “It’s no longer news but entertainment.”
I disagree. Let me give you one example of what I heard on… I think it was ABC, this morning. It was about swine flu (again/yawn) and the talking head (don’t recall his name) said “President Barack Obama issued a warning about swine flu…”
And like all blurbs, the talking head just breazed to the next topic. No questions like “Since WHEN was the president the CDC? What the hell is going on here that some young, inexperienced jackass that never managed anything can go around making warnings like this? And what IS the warning anyway?! WHY a warning?! Should we care?!”
It’s frsutrating to the discerning mind (and perhaps a bit scary) that they don’t do more than read from the teleprompter. Then again.. maybe realizing that they are THAT air-headed is funny. I’m not sure. It’s like being trapped in a submarine and listening to the code being tapped by the man outside.
Ron de Haan (08:25:24) : “You only have to elect another President to solve the problem.”
Sorry to pick on you, Ron, but isn’t that like saying Barack Obama issues a swine flu warning? IS everything as simple as being president-centric? It seems many have come to think so, but the president, whoever he is, is only a smaller part of the problem, maybe the tip of the ice-berg, but a smaller part nonetheless. Imo.
Pamela Gray (09:07:21) : “Remember when the daily news was an evening event around dinner time and with no commercials?”
Uh…No, I don’t. You old folks tell such CRAZY stories 😉
“This isn’t government control, this is a free wheeling industry out to make a buck for stock holders and family dynasties. We watch the garbage called news for the same reason we are all getting fat on fast food. The enemy is us.”
So what you’re saying over that Big Mac is that before, things were more or less politically controlled thus news had better quality in the past, as oppossed to now where it’s just unabashed commercialism and thus lower quality?
If so, that is interesting. And maybe a bit depressing. There’s someone outside my submarine, tapping away perhaps… Never can be too certain about that. But what I do know is that fast food has spanned both periods as you have defined them and so might be the only thing that can be agreed upon 🙂

Retired Engineer
July 9, 2009 12:02 pm

Ed (09:20:57) : “All science labs have PR agencies”
They have to. I know from sad experience if you don’t wave the flag, your budget vanishes. If you make the flag say what the boss wants to hear, you get promoted. Facts? Truth? Optional.
It’s all about money.

Ron de Haan
July 9, 2009 1:46 pm

Jon Jewett (09:51:40) :
Ron de Haan (08:25:24) :
“You only have to elect another President to solve the problem”
Presidents in both Honduras and Venezuela are trying to become “Presidents-for-life” (just like Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe). And in both cases, the grab for power is supported by the current administration. Also the so called “bail out bill” included some $1 billion for block grants to organizations such as Acorn. I pray that I am just being paranoid, but it may not be that easy to make a “change”.
Steamboat Jack
This is all “change” we did not ask for.
This President is dangerous.

July 9, 2009 2:03 pm

Death rattles. IMHO the Internet has not slain (bankrupted) traditional print journalism. The “News Media” (whatever that is) has self-destructed, unable to cope with the explosion of free speech expressed by web-based analysts like WUWT.
I stopped reading newspapers in 2001. I NEVER watch TV news; it makes me apoplectic. The real scoop is always available on the Net, at reliable sites that are far more in-depth with more real science than any print journal (including Science and Nature, which have slipped into utter junkaphilia).
Traditional journalists have cut their own throats with complacency and incompetency. Traditional Establishment Science (such as the NSF) has jumped off a cliff, too, and not just recently. Free speech on the Web is filling a vacuum of longstanding.

July 9, 2009 2:14 pm

Re. Jeff Wood (10:18:13) :
“Is there no money in truth, accuracy, scepticism, and so on?”
Nope, its all in infotainment. With big, scary headlines.

July 9, 2009 2:23 pm

Mike D. is absolutely right. These are the end times for traditional news outlets, information sharing via the WWW is exactly what Adlai Stevenson had in mind with his comment…”The first principle of a free society is an untrammelled flow of words in an open forum”

July 9, 2009 2:29 pm

Ron de Haan (08:25:24) :
“This is an entirely natural process.
It happens when a free society is turned in a Government Controlled Socialist State.”
This is not about a “Government Controlled Socialist State.” Unfortunately, it seems that the conservatives who frequent this site seem to want to blame it all on the Liberals. But the fact of the matter is that control of the corporate media has been just that: Corporate. It is time for people to set down their ideological biases, whether conservative or liberal, and begin to see the global corporate and financial elite are the ones working in tandem with the governing administrations (both Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal; remember, one of the chief architects of Cap & Trade was Ken Lay of Enron fame) to bring about their agenda. As the controllers of the media, they report what the government wants them to report. And in turn, the government is more than willing to do their bidding, since it is these major corporate sponsors that prop up the governments.
We do not get truth through the media. We get spin. Both conservatives and liberals do it, and the major media are more than willing to lap it all up. What we are told about climate change, Afghanistan, Iraq, 9/11, Honduras, Venezuela, drug wars, Iran, etc. is all spin, and frequently flatly false. NBC does it. CNN does it. FOX does it. BBC does it. Sure there is petty partisan bickering that goes on, which the media love to highlight and they play upon that activity to feign impartiality and neutrality, but reporting on the real state of affairs in this world is remarkably absent.
What we have here is not a socialist agenda. In fact, we have something far more akin to fascism of the Mussolini form; that is, the corporate elite working in tandem with government to implement their global agenda with the voice of the people being progressively silenced and made irrelevant. So long as they can keep the masses bickering across the left/right boundary, they are more than happy to carry on with their own plans.

July 9, 2009 3:02 pm

I have long railed against so called journalism which in reality is little more than agenda peddling agitprop – a process which has reached a new low in reporting on climate issues.
I am also a long standing contributor to a blog on world events and geopolitics. It’s our practice to edit out the ‘journalism’, leaving the facts and then add our own commentary. Not much different to what happens here at WUWT.
This made me realize 2 things.
1. For most people, all news of relevance is local. They don’t care what is happening in Yemen or the Antarctic icecap, except to the extent it affects their neighbourhood or hometown.
2. Those of us who are interested in what happens in these places, generally know more about what is happening and why than the journalists who write the news articles and consequently their journalism is just annoying noise to be filtered out.

July 9, 2009 3:02 pm

A nifty story to follow the ones about WaPo selling access to administration officials and relevant reporters to lobbyists, and well known left-wing bloggers asking prominent questions at important press conferences:
It would seem that the White House Press Corps got an off the record fete on Independence Day, replete with singers and comedians.
Ms Gray has part of the problem: us. Another commenter hit on the moguls aspect. Another, major factor: The J Schools. For decades now, they’ve transitioned from reporting driven journalism to agenda driven journalism. The reason that most of the traditional news media don’t cry foul on the current events (with a couple of notable exceptions) is that they simply agree with what’s happening, therefore, it must be protected.

July 9, 2009 3:08 pm

TamRob 14:29 “This is not about a “Government Controlled Socialist State.” Unfortunately, it seems that the conservatives who frequent this site seem to want to blame it all on the Liberals. But the fact of the matter is that control of the corporate media has been just that: Corporate.”
And I pretty much agree with most of the rest of the statement. Both parties. Corporate leadership. All mainstream media (which is all corporate). Much of academia. Most of the science publications. Google by all means, front and center. Corrupt — the whole bunch. With respect to science there is not much to trust; it is all filled with propaganda, with a multitude of new centers set up in our prestigious universities to create false science that the media then ply us with. I took Nature for years. Cancelled a number of years ago — too much propaganda. Science Mag is coming close. Scientific American, Science Digest, gone, never to return. The only place an honest, inquiring mind can go these days is to the internet. What our brave bloggers need is some of the money.

Ron de Haan
July 9, 2009 3:09 pm

TamRob (14:29:20) :
It’s the same thing.
Socialism, Communism, National Socialism, Corporatism, read Fascism, all failed experiments from the past.
They all caused and still cause numerous deaths, wars and disasters.
We can do very well without.

July 9, 2009 3:28 pm

Ron de Haan (08:25:24) :”This is all “change” we did not ask for. This President is dangerous.”
No doubt, but so have a lot of presidents been dangerous. FDR paved the way for the ‘Great Society’ by removing from domestic circulation and the private ownerhsip of Constitutional money. And not to be out-done by those shamelessly less limited democrats, Nixon cut it out of interanational trade to create the bubble-bust market for Wall Street speculators. A feud between two types of robber-baron dictators, most presidents after FDR, in my estimation, were either dangerous men or taging along with the philosophies and agendas of dangerous men.
And so we got the change we allowed to take place, as the result of a growing government over the last century. We may not like it, but it is what we allowed.
Obama is dangerous because he is defending the failing base of the expanded government/bank power structure… as rabid wolf in sheeps clothing (but the wool is terribly worn and rotten. Some emperor we have, eh? But if that is the emperor, our empire is in shambles just the same). Yet even without him, the power structure would still exist. Another wolf it more than likely would be that took his place.
Except Ron Paul. At this time, he is the only presidential candidate that understands the problem. He gets on the back of the central banking system that is FORBIDDEN by the supreme law of the land, our Constitution. Trouble is, even if he became president, Congress is rife with corrupt supporters of the status quo. I think we will need to rebuild the nation through reclaiming local and state government first, from the bottom up. Top down never works. If no suitable replacements exist, then the incumbent must be RELENTLESSLY guided by our voice to conform to our Constitution as originally penned by our Founding Fathers, until they do or suitable replacements are found.
As for the media… perhaps when such a movement took root and grew in momentum, their objectivity might return as a matter of professional survival.

Ron de Haan
July 9, 2009 3:52 pm

Benjamin (15:28:39) :

July 9, 2009 5:31 pm

Ron de Haan (15:52:49) : ….
I know. And? All the more reason to disassemble not just his base of power, but that of the unconstitutional government as a whole. Trust me, if this is not done whoever replaces him will only continue down this path. When our money is based purely on imagination to create a debtor nation that is slave to it’s creditors, there can be no ethical government. Not here, not anywhere in the world.
Our Founding Fathers knew this, thus they wrote into the Constitution what the definition of money is, in hope that a society free from bankers breeding big governments would spread to the world.

July 10, 2009 6:47 am

Why are we here? I’m reading THIS site, instead of watching Good Morning America because I want REAL news and analysis on Climate Science. Many of my colleagues go to a number of financial blogs because they want REAL news and analysis on financial markets and individual companies of interest.
This site IS the replacement for MSM. Not totally, to be sure, but in time, it’s going to be sites like this who become the gold standard for news and analysis.
Make sure you give Anthony’s sponsors a gander.

Tim Clark
July 10, 2009 9:13 am

Jon Jewett (09:51:40) :
Ron de Haan (08:25:24) :
“You only have to elect another President to solve the problem”
I pray that I am just being paranoid, but it may not be that easy to make a “change”.

When you consider that Obama told us what he was going to do prior to the election (some stupid promises yet unfulfilled) and yet 50%+ voted for him, I think the ignorant masses waiting for a bailout will continue to override reason.
TamRob (14:29:20) : What we have here is not a socialist agenda.
What do you call income redistribution?

July 10, 2009 11:18 am

This move (free) explains how the news media have always operated:

Dave In Davis
July 10, 2009 1:49 pm

Playboy: Implicit in the Administration’s attempts to force the networks to “balance” the news is a conviction that most newscasters are biased against conservatism. Is there some truth in the view that television newsmen tend to be left of center?
Cronkite: Well, certainly liberal, and possibly left of center as well. I would have to accept that.
Playboy: What’s the distinction between those two terms?
Cronkite: I think the distinction is both clear and important. I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause – but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they’re preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can’t be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism.

July 12, 2009 4:44 am

I don’t think that there is any doubt ABOUT BBCs position on global warming, but look at:
The quote from the article is:
“In a wide-ranging attack, he also claims it is now ‘effectively BBC policy’ to stifle critics of the consensus view on global warming. He says: ‘I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change.
‘The Corporation’s most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that “the science is settled”, when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn’t.
‘But it is effectively BBC policy… that those views should not be heard.”

July 20, 2009 11:49 pm

There are not enough good science journalists around probably because there aren’t enough readers anymore. It’s all about entertainment nowadays. Science journalists would probably prefer writing PR for science companies than write about Brangelina…I could be wrong though.
carbon dating

July 23, 2009 4:26 am

And yet, the pendulum sometimes swings back unexpectedly.
Somewhere Esquire went from being a vacuous rag for narcissistic homosexuals to a magazine that publishes stuff like this:
I was impressed.
It tells me that I’m not as smart as I think I am about media.

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