Thursday, July 10, 2014

BBC Told To Stop Giving Equal Time To Science Deniers

Lisa Winter, IFL SCIENCE

“There’s two sides to every story.” We were all taught that line as children in order to to stop seeing the world in such black-and-white terms. It is also a good rule of thumb for journalists in order to provide a well-rounded representation of a reported topic, isn’t it? Not always, particularly when it comes to scientific facts. When certain scientific topics are discussed on television programs, there is usually an expert in the field pitted against someone with fringe beliefs not supported by evidence.

For instance, a conversation about climate change will involve a scientist as well as someone who claims Earth is actually cooling. When discussing an outbreak of preventable disease, an immunologist will cite the merits of vaccination against a Mommy Blogger who uses Natural News as an information source and believes vaccines are poison. This gives merit to pseudoscience cranks, detracts from the actual science, and creates the illusion of a debate in the scientific community where there is none.

The BBC Trust has had enough of this model and released a progress report outlining the steps it has taken to improve the integrity of its science reporting.

(Read more here.)

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