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At last someone is asking: Why are science reporters so credulous?


Most people don’t seriously consider the effects of the nonsense that is wafted at the public in the guise of instructing us all about “evolution,” regardless of its social effect. But every so often, something comes along that should smarten them up. The origin of COVID-19 was one such thing and science writer Nicholas Wade tackles it at City Journal. If you don’t care, wake up. If people you know don’t care, wake them up. Next time it could be worse.

Anyway, Wade writes,

Unlike most journalists, science writers seldom consider the motives of their sources. Few or none remarked on Andersen’s deep personal interest in the result he was trying to prove. He and his colleagues concluded on January 31, 2020, that the Covid virus did not have a natural origin. But Francis Collins, then director of the National Institutes of Health, immediately decreed this view to be a conspiracy theory that will do “great potential harm to science and international harmony.” Not to mention to his own reputation and that of his lieutenant Anthony Fauci. Both have long advocated for gain-of-function research—enhancing the infectivity of natural viruses—and they funded such research involving bat viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Technology.

No scientist wishes to get on the wrong side of NIH administrators, the major funders of biomedical research. If Collins said the lab leak was a conspiracy theory, why then, so it must be. A mere four days later, Andersen changed his mind and derided lab leak as a conspiracy theory. No one in his group has provided a convincing explanation for this 180-degree reversal. Andersen’s new paper, if true, would go a long way to justifying his otherwise unsupported second take on the issue.

Why are science writers so little able to report objectively on the origin of the virus? Innocent of most journalists’ skepticism about human motives, science writers regard scientists, their authoritative sources, as too Olympian ever to be moved by trivial matters of self-interest.

Nicholas Wade, “Journalists, or PR Agents?” at City Journal (March 20, 2022)

Another way of putting it is that too many people are — at best — naive about government-led and government-funded science. And science writers can make a living out of avoiding realities and catering to their illusions while retaining a sense of impeccable righteousness.

How many science bureaucrats would be comfortable with the reasonable interpretation that the COVID-19 virus originated as a result of gain-of-function research supported in part by American funding at the Level 4 virus lab in Wuhan? Wouldn’t there be a demand for Congressional hearings in the United States and Royal Commissions in Canada?

The science journalist is much better off as a happy little daisy burbling about employment equity in physics than as a beat reporter tracking down ‘crats who do not want to be questioned.

At Evolution News and Science Today, David Klinghoffer comments:

The credulousness of science journalists is remarkable. Their reporting, almost as a rule, seems more like they are crafting a press release than objectively probing the claims of their subjects, namely scientists. Although mainstream journalism as a whole has come increasingly to resemble state propaganda, there is at least, sometimes, a semblance of skepticism. What is it, then, with science reporters?

David Klinghoffer, “Why Are Science Reporters So Credulous?” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 21, 2022)

Meanwhile, from the world of non-press releases:

Alcohol-related deaths in the US spiked more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic, study shows If true, that wouldn’t be a surprise. And most of those people may not even have been at much risk.

Think tank wins lawsuit to review U. Michigan scientists’ COVID advice to Gov. Whitmer ““It’s been two years since the state shut down and we still don’t have answers on what exact science and data were used when determining policies that impacted the lives and livelihoods of ten million people,” Wetzel told The Fix.” Right now, the healthiest thing going would be serious enquiries as to who exactly started all the panics — based on what information, exactly?

And these are the people who might be making decisions for the rest of us in a few years — if we let it happen:

The original article is actually unfair to the writers of press releases. Most PR written at universities is humble and objective and clear. The "journalists" take this decent material and turn it into murderous poison. polistra
deleted martin_r
Darwinists are PR agents too ... PS: what was the origin of Wuhan virus ? The question is, what was the origin of any virus.... and, there had to be thousands of origins .... with viruses, it is much worse than with the origin of life question.... and Darwinists are clueless ... martin_r
The origin of the "virus" isn't the important question anyway. Origin is a permissible argument now, which tells us it's the wrong question. Permitted arguments about details are intentional distractions. Science (or philosophy) must start with Ockham. Does this entity EXIST at all? The record of fake threats is 100% consistent. All of the "threats" that start wars or tyrannies are either non-existent or falsely labeled ordinary things. polistra
Editorials won't help. Only a competing source of BIG MONEY will help. Before 1946 science had a wide variety of funding, from private wealth and corporations and insurance companies. Government was just one of the sources, so it couldn't dominate and didn't dominate. This point has already been proved in media, where Joe Rogan grabbed most of the audience from CNN and MSNBC. Silencing him is impossible because he will simply take his audience AND THEIR MONEY elsewhere. polistra

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