Blinded By Science
November 11, 2004 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Blinded By Science: How `Balanced' Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality. How and why the media has failed so completely to educate the American public on the massive environmental dangers we face. (via WorldChanging)
posted by stbalbach (11 comments total)
The media is balanced for this very reason. They are *paid* to be "fair and balanced."

It's one of the reasons we're screwed.
posted by eriko at 7:04 AM on November 11, 2004

When I think of the media in the US today, I'm reminded of the Monty Python "Argument Clinic" sketch.
CUST: Well, an argument isn't just contradiction.
MR. B: Can be.
CUST: No, it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
MR.B: No, it isn't!
CUST: Yes, it is! It's not just contradiction!
MR. B: Look. If I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position!
CUST: Yes! But that's not just saying "No, it isn't"!
MR.B: Yes, it is!
The media figures that as long as they have two "sides" to a debate, they're being fair, even if one sides is merely saying "no it isn't".

And as long as there are two sides to an issue, it remains "controversial". I think it was Paul Krugman who said that if the Bush administration were to declare that the earth was flat, the headlines would read "Shape of the Earth: Views Differ".
posted by jpoulos at 7:26 AM on November 11, 2004

For a brief moment I toyed with having liberal scientists release these "findings":

Abstinence Lowers I.Q.!

Voting Republican Increases Cholesterol!

Reading the Bible Causes Impotency!

but I came to my senses and realized that increasing the noise (lies) would only dilute the public's faith in science.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:35 AM on November 11, 2004

Americans aren't merely ignorant. They're mostly in denial. It's not the fault of the media that people waste shit and pollute. We've been told, but why do we continue to ignore the environmental problems we have? It's easier, duh!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:49 AM on November 11, 2004

Maybe it's because many of the enviromental predictions made in the 60s-70s didn't come true.

"The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines - hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now" - The Population Bomb
posted by zelphi at 8:34 AM on November 11, 2004

Fuck the lower IQ, I am GETTING SOME!
posted by Eekacat at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2004

Maybe it's because many of the enviromental predictions made in the 60s-70s didn't come true.

Whew! Finally got rid of all that bathwater.... holy crap, where's the baby?
posted by turaho at 9:04 AM on November 11, 2004

Maybe it's because many of the enviromental predictions made in the 60s-70s didn't come true.

Hmmm. That doesn't stop the guy on my street corner who's pretty sure the Rapture is coming New Years Day 2000 2002 2004 2005.

I don't buy it. People believe what they want to believe.
posted by jpoulos at 9:15 AM on November 11, 2004

Man, if Galileo were alive and working in the U.S. today, he wouldn't get anything done.
posted by psmealey at 9:38 AM on November 11, 2004

Mooney's blog.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on November 11, 2004

jpoulos, you know the rapture's coming in 2006, because 2+6 = 8 (a vertical infinity sign, separated by '00', a horizontal one!) Anyone who dares argue will not be swept up in [this year's] rapture.

More on-topic: This isn't just a problem of the mainstream media. I've definitely seen peer-reviewed journals publish objections to really, really good research ("to stimulate debate") where the research was top-notch (and the reviewers had thought as such) and the objections essentially come down to "this doesn't agree with my pet theory".
posted by dmd at 5:05 AM on November 12, 2004

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