In “The press under pressure” Nature, 480, 151 (08 December 2011) offers high dudgeon ab out the current state of the British media. Essentially, riffing off the deplorable phone hacking scandal, Nature’s editors hit out in all directions, at targets ranging from US talk radio through French journalists worried about transgenic crops, to some ka-diddle about volcanic ash. If Nature isn’t minding us all, we just can’t think straight.
Our favourite part:
Sometimes the agenda is obvious and explicitly political. More often, it is the instinctive overreach of a story-teller who chooses what to include to make their tale as interesting as possible. Either way, the problem runs deeper than reporters regularly confusing bacteria and viruses, however irritating that may be to some. Witness the list of the top 100 UK political journalists of 2011, as decided by Total Politics magazine last week. In at number 14 is Christopher Booker, a columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. Not satisfied with Booker being “skeptical about global warming”, the magazine partly credits his high rank to his claims that evidence to prove that passive smoking and exposure to asbestos cause cancer “does not exist”.
Well, is his influence or isn’t it due to those stories? In a contest for most influential, you should pick the, well, most influential, not Dudgeon’s Humble Servant.
In any event, descending from Olympus, they take the trouble to announce that they have invented new media:
But science has a way to respond that others do not. Through online forums, blogs and Twitter, a cottage industry has grown up around instant criticism of dodgy scientific claims and dubious findings. This parallel journalism is increasingly coming to the attention of the mainstream press — as demonstrated by the rising number of stories in the press that were first broken by blogs.
So the Swift Vets, the Katrina bloggers, and the Arab Spring tweets were all taking their orders from Nature? Must have started the same year Al Gore invented the Internet.
Thanks for the info, Nature editors. We know what to do with it.
Follow UD News at Twitter!