Quote of the Day: Scientific Results Should Be Vetted First and Foremost…

…by scientists, not journalists. From Genomicron:

A primary tenet of journalism is that it present a balanced view of the story and not make any subjective judgments. The fact that the scientific community has semi-objective methods for determining the reliability of claims (such as peer review and the requirement of repeatably demonstrable evidence) should not impinge on this. It is therefore important to present “both sides” of every story, even if one side lacks any empirical support and is populated only by a tiny minority of scientists (or better yet, denialists and cranks).

It’s not that scientists are infallible–Intelligent Designer knows we aren’t. But, overwhelmingly, most of the scientific malfeasance–as opposed to political meddling in science has been discovered by other scientists through the scientific process, not intrepid journalistic investigators.

This entry was posted in News Media. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Quote of the Day: Scientific Results Should Be Vetted First and Foremost…

  1. Mike P says:

    But really, come on now, who actually is looking to journalists to police science? When journalists cover science, they’re trying to get the story, not uncover some scandal. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an actual investigative journalism piece try and disprove some scientific tenet.
    What genomicron was referring to is the tendency for journalists to “level the playing field”, so to speak, for all scientists who wish to pipe up about some issue. The problem is that many journalists don’t know how to cover things any other way. It’s something that desperately needs to be addressed in j-schools, but as far as I know, it isn’t. And, frankly, it’s a lazy, easy way to cover a story.
    But I am getting pretty sick and tired of all the self-righteous bitching going on on ScienceBlogs about the state of science journalism. Rather than do anything to actually, you know, address to the problem–or hell, even diagnose what the problem is–we get snarkly little Top 10 lists like Genomicron’s. It’s counterproductive and pithy.
    How about a letter to your local journalism school asking if you could give a guest lecture to one of their 100-level classes about the importance of the scientific method?

  2. Lorax says:

    The problem is that many journalists don’t know how to cover things any other way. It’s something that desperately needs to be addressed in j-schools, but as far as I know, it isn’t. And, frankly, it’s a lazy, easy way to cover a story.
    OK, so you note there is a problem with how many journalists cover science stories and it needs to be addressed. You acknowledge that journalists may take the lazy easy way out.
    But I am getting pretty sick and tired of all the self-righteous bitching going on on ScienceBlogs about the state of science journalism. Rather than do anything to actually, you know, address to the problem–or hell, even diagnose what the problem is–we get snarkly little Top 10 lists like Genomicron’s. It’s counterproductive and pithy.
    But damnit it’s the scientists fault! Maybe some scientists should do something about it, like I don’t know, raise the issue and broadcast it to others in a blog or something. Note to Mike: calling sciencebloggers self-righteous bitchers on a scienceblogger site might be considered counterproductive and pithy.
    How about a letter to your local journalism school asking if you could give a guest lecture to one of their 100-level classes about the importance of the scientific method?
    That is actually a good idea, which I might consider doing myself. Too bad you framed it in such a cranky manner.

  3. Mike P says:

    Lorax,
    Ever got worked up about something? Cuz I have. And I did. Cranky? You bet I am. I’ve witnessed a few weeks of certain sciencebloggers and cousin blogs sputtering about a problem and making literally no suggestions, short of PZ’s claim that scientists should just take over science journalism.
    And, really, I am not blaming the scientists. Please note that I did not once blame scientists for the state of science journalism. But I am pissed that so many of them have turned my profession into a collective punching bag without trying to do something about it. The general tone has suggested to me they’d rather whine about it than try to fix it. And, of course, that’s an outsider’s view, because I’m a science journalist and not a scientist, but it’s the impression I’m left with.
    Journalists aren’t dummies and they’re not robots. If they’re covering an issue incorrectly, it isn’t because they’ve secretly colluded to destroy the good name of science. So I’d just like to see some more productive discussion, and if I have to call people out for being whiny or self-righteous, so be it. Gadfly, etc. etc.

  4. Steven says:

    Eh Mike P, I think you dropped your pacifier.

  5. ohhh goods.

  6. thanks for all

  7. sex shop says:

    thanks for all

Comments are closed.