Sharon Begley from Newsweek wrote an article titled "The Truth About Denial" which aimed to expose the massive disinformation campaign put out by oil companies like Exxon Mobil to obfuscate mainstream science on global warming. The article is great introductory material for those that are not familiar with what is going on. There is still much more that needs to be discussed by the mainstream media (e.g. Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher's continued violation of federal law) but at least the mainstream news is starting to catch on to what is painfully obvious to others. In the talk section a reader asked Sharon Begley:
How can the responsible media best meet their "fairness/accuracy/'balance'" responsibilities in dealing with climate change deniers?To which Sharon Begley said:
I don't think science is like political or social issues, where all views are of equal weight. To the contrary: in science, there really is a 'right' answer, tho it may take time to emerge, and journalists have a duty to tell readers what that answer is likely to be. Me, I don't do he said/she said, but delve into the arguments and see which has empirical merit. It's not that hard.This is such an important concept that is so missed by so many. It's too bad as it is basically a quote from the Nobel Laureate on the 200 Deutch Mark:
"Laypeople frequently assume that in a political dispute the truth must lie somewhere in the middle, and they are often right. In a scientific dispute, though, such an assumption is usually wrong."Unlike many forms of politics, the middle ground is often not a safe bet in scientific matters. Furthermore, traditional "objective" reporting simply does not work well in science, it's just too easy to get caught up in the false objectivity of "balance". If 99.99% of doctors say heroin is bad for your health it is not fair to give equal weight to the 0.01% of doctors (who happen to live in Columbia and/or are anarchists) that say heroin is no big deal. This is of course of the assumption (right or wrong) that one is even interesting in reporting accurately.
Newsweek, The Truth About Denial, Sharon Begley, Aug. 13, 2007
Resisting Change: Global Warming Deniers
NEWSWEEK's Sharon Begley, Live Talk on Wednesday, August 8, at noon, ET, about climate change denial and its lasting pervasiveness.