From Alex Berezow at American Council for Science and Health:
Scientists have a common saying about models: “Garbage in, garbage out.” That means if you put bad data into a model, you can fully expect for the model to spit out bad conclusions. The same is true for organizations. If a newspaper hires improperly educated, hyperpartisan people who possess merely a casual relationship with the truth, we can fully expect the newspaper to produce absolute rubbish. And that’s exactly what has happened at the New York Times.
Consider the following:
– Just two days ago, a piece in Slate criticized the NYT for its coverage of topics like “wellness” and “detox.” The NYT has entire pages dedicated to these wishy-washy topics, which often promote unscientific fad diets and other pseudoscience.
– For years, NYT writers such as Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, have used their platform to trash biotechnology (e.g., GMOs) and shamelessly promote organic food (as well as sell their books). It’s probably not a coincidence that the wife of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the former publisher of the Times, sits on the board of Whole Foods. More.
Wow. We rarely hear a science writer address the failures of traditional media in such blunt terms but the times are changing.
One change is that ttraditional media simply do not control “the narrative” to the extent that they used to. The Times cannot obliterate findings by pronouncing them pseudoscience or validate them by pronouncing them science. We have all been able to get other views within seconds for nearly two decades now.
Traditional media probably don’t control; science writers the way they used to either. For one thing, they cannot afford to employ so many of them. It’s a tough world out there but maybe a more honest one – and more fun. If we can keep the internet free, we can keep it that way too.
See also: Another academic freedom meltdown in science, this time re GMOs
Journalist wonders, why Creation Museum inspires rage, whole foods scams don’t (sky fell last night too, by the way) (a fun oldie from 2014)