science journalism

In a world of fake news, scientists tend to find comfort within the pages of the scientific literature. While peer review is far from perfect and science often wrong, the process finds the truth in the long-run.

The gatekeepers of science -- that is, the people tasked with editing the scientific journals -- have an incredibly important job. They must decide which research deserves to be published and which does not. Other journal editors publish essays and articles for general consumption rather than scientific manuscripts. Regardless of one's exact role, what all editors have in common is the privilege of facilitating dialogue among the scientific community and its stakeholders.

As we have rightly come to expect, with great privilege comes great responsibility. That's...

In a nod to science, Newsweek reported that there might be genetic underpinnings to obesity. So kudos for hopping on the science bandwagon and for a moment, not writing clickbait. But why not share the actual science instead of dumbing it down to “Regardless of how much you eat, your weight may be out of your hands?”  For the scientifically literate, wishing to learn more, here is what researcher Vann Bennett found.

A deficiency in the ANK2 gene, which codes for chemical activity on cell membranes, has been shown to cause obesity in mice. By extension,...

The New York Times has some of the worst science coverage in the nation, its Tuesday section notwithstanding. The Times shamelessly promotes alternative medicine and organic food while scaremongering over "chemikillz" and trashing scientists who work in biotechnology.

There's a reason for that. Not only is the paper trying to appeal to its elite, Upper West Side clientele, but the New York Times's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., is married to Gabrielle Greene, who is on the board of Whole Foods. In May...

President Trump caused a controversy when he said that it is "frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write." He is absolutely right, but what can be done about it? His emotive and knee-jerk solution of revoking media licenses is deeply problematic.

It is easy to sympathize with Mr. Trump's view on what he likes to call "fake news." Science writers, like those of us at ACSH, fight pseudoscience and false information every single day. Anti-vaccine propagandists and alternative medicine practitioners literally have blood on their hands. Anti-GMO activists are manipulative liars who have libeled honest scientists. TV doctors claiming miracle cures are...

It doesn't matter how bad or wildly untrue an idea might be; it is a near certainty that one can find an academic somewhere who is willing to embrace it. Alternative medicine, AIDS denialism, Holocaust denialism, communism -- all of these find a welcoming home within the ranks of academia.

The latest bad idea -- admittedly, not nearly as bad as the aforementioned -- comes from Smith College history professor Daniel Gardner, who believes that the U.S. should learn from China about air pollution. In an article for Project Syndicate, he makes the case that a nation with some of the cleanest air in the world can learn from a nation...

New polling data from Pew shows that most Americans don't consume any science news whatsoever. Given how out of step the American public is with scientists over many key issues -- from the safety of GMOs to vaccines -- this probably doesn't come as much of a surprise.

According to the poll, 17% of Americans are active science news consumers, while 36% come across science news at least a few times per week. (Obviously, that means 64% do not, which is concerning in an age where science and technology affect much of our daily lives.)

What does come as...

Kurt Eichenwald is an interesting guy -- in the same way that a 47-car pileup on the freeway is interesting. He is, according to his Twitter bio, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a New York Times bestselling author. He also has written for Newsweek, where he penned one of the best essays I have ever read about conspiracy theories.

You would think that a man with such enormous influence would wield it with great responsibility. But you would be wrong. Last year, he tweeted -- without any evidence whatsoever -- that he believed Donald Trump...

Like North Korea, everybody agrees that fake news is a big problem. But also like the Hermit Kingdom, nobody really knows what to do about it.

Facebook, a site from which a substantial number of people acquire their daily news, has decided that pages that post fake stories will be banned from advertising. That's a perfectly fine decision, but it raises a bigger and more profound question: Who decides which news is fake? Mark Zuckerberg?

The Trouble with Fake News

According to TechCrunch, Facebook collaborates with third-party fact-checkers to...

It's not an exaggeration to say that the American public hates the media.

A poll conducted by Gallup last year showed that merely 32% of Americans had a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in the mass media. A Harvard poll, reported by The Hill, concluded that 65% of Americans think the media publishes fake news.

Who can we thank for Americans' disgust with the media? Journalists like Brian Williams.

You remember Brian Williams. He's the former anchor of NBC Nightly News who was replaced for...

When it comes to food, biotech, and health reporting, the New York Times is at least consistent: It is guaranteed to be wrong every single time.

Recently, it ran a very strange article about traces of glyphosate in Ben & Jerry's ice cream. It's strange for two reasons: (1) Ben & Jerry's is vehemently anti-GMO; and (2) It doesn't matter if there are traces of glyphosate in your ice cream.

Ben & Jerry's Gets 'Greenmailed'

Like Whole Foods, Ben & Jerry's has profited handsomely by scaring people about the safety of the food supply. The company is anti-GMO and supports GMO labeling. However, that...