Not only is science journalism susceptible to the same sorts of biases that afflict regular journalism, but it's uniquely vulnerable to outrageous sensationalism – this or that will either cure cancer or kill us all. So to promote good outlets while castigating the bad, we partnered with RealClearScience to create a handy chart.
Soda taxes aren't racist, yet precisely that case was made by a reporter for the newspaper. His position: Blacks and Hispanics consume more sugary beverages than whites and Asians, while whites and Asians drink more diet beverages than blacks and Hispanics. Because the tax does not apply to diet beverages, it is racist. Let's break this down.
Sometimes general assignment reporters are asked to cover complex science and health stories, which produces an entirely predictable product: Articles that are nothing more than rehashed press releases, topped with click-bait headlines based on misunderstandings of the original research. And here are some other ways it happens.
Science is one of the few institutions in America that has largely remained above the hyperpartisanship gripping our nation. However, there is a small but growing perception among Americans that scientists are becoming politically biased. Indeed, surveys have confirmed that Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in academia. And, over the last few months, the behavior of high-profile scientific journals has only served to reconfirm these perceptions of bias.
Besides deceiving readers about science policy, there are plenty of other reasons to avoid Slate. Perhaps best is that the online site loves posting contrarian articles using a time-tested formula to attract readers: Take an obviously-stupid statement and add a headline vigorously defending it. Whether the article is accurate, compelling or well-conceived is an afterthought.
2016 was a year to forget. A rough-and-tumble election, partisan rhetoric and "fake news," and the loss of many beloved and talented people -- from Prince to Carrie Fisher -- made this calendar cycle a bit more difficult than most. Surely, 2017 must have something better in store. To ensure that it does, we all must resolve to make it so. And as a science journalist, I can do my part by adopting these four resolutions. I hope other journalists join me.
This "disease" is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek – though still quite real – phenomenon. Often, those who have been awarded a Nobel gain infamy for saying and believing incredibly stupid things, some of which are quite delusional. Mr. Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist, is the newest inductee into this dubious club.