"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Science Journalism 

As you may have noticed, I take discussions on how science is represented in the media very seriously. Part of the reason that the current administration is able to get away with the kind of bullshit they throw out about "intelligent design" and evolution and "cultures of life" and such is that the public is totally ignorant and uninformed about science. While the ignorant part is due to our miserable educational system, the uninformed part is largely the responsibility of the media.

A really lovely editorial in the current PLoS Medicine digs in to the media and science journalists for their lazy, sloppy work, and describes what roles they ought to be playing. For me, I think it starts with a couple of simple and possibly quite unpleasant (for editors and producers) steps: require journalists on the science and medicine beat to (a) have a degree in a real science (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy) and (b) hold themselves to the same background and fact-checking standards to which any other reporter is supposedly held.

PLoS also highlights the importance of recent whistleblowers, and what we can learn from them. Better science journalism might have made these guys come forward sooner, or even uncovered the problems without their trouble.

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