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Alex Berezow at American Council on Science and Health on Scientific American Going Woke


He notices the same problem we did:

One of the biggest mistakes that scientists have made in recent years is to become overtly political. Scientific American has taken it a step further and endorsed Joe Biden for President.

In its editorial, SciAm admits that it has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. There’s a good reason for that. Science is not a partisan endeavor. But in recent years, it has increasingly become one, with scientists (and especially science writers) openly rooting for one side of the political spectrum…

At least the SciAm editorial is thoughtful and substantive. It rightly criticizes President Trump for exercising poor and inconsistent leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it should have stopped there. By endorsing Joe Biden, SciAm is further politicizing the scientific community, and in the process, the once preeminent magazine risks losing whatever readership it has left.

Alex Berezow, “Scientific American Endorses Biden And Risks Losing Whatever Readership It Has Left” at American Council on Science and Health

Well, basically, they can’t endorse candidates and still be the referee on behalf of science as such.

Sure, they can still claim they are. But a reasonable person need not grant them any authority. It becomes merely prudent rather than “anti-science” to treat their pronouncements, whether on global warming, COVID-19, or whatever, with the skepticism reserved for campaign literature.

Win or lose, they will end up regretting that move.

Note: Berezow seems to think that Scientific American is losing readers. A very recent attempted rah rah at Poynter is ambiguously worded:

The magazine has been profitable and will be in 2020, she said, though she and a spokesperson declined to provide more detailed financial information. It continues to publish in print every month at a time many other magazines have been cutting back on frequency. Of course, Helmuth said, Scientific American has lost print advertising this year just like every other magazine or newspaper.

Likewise, newsstand sales, smallish in number but highly profitable compared to discounted subscriptions, have crashed. The days of buying a half-dozen magazines at the airport for a coast-to-coast or transcontinental flight were already on the wane in the digital era. Now air travel has nearly gone dead.

Circulation is holding reasonably steady at 300,000 — 240,000 print plus digital, another 22,000 digital-only, and the balance from other categories.

Rick Edmonds, “Scientific American, the oldest U.S. magazine, hits another milestone as the appetite for science news heats up” at Poynter (August 31, 2020)

We’ll try to keep an eye on that. Scientific American has been owned by Springer nature, since 2015.

See also: See also: Scientific American breaks with 175-year tradition, endorses Joe Biden for US President.


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