science journalism

Last week, international media outlets reported that asparagus causes cancer. It does not.

Like a series of bad sequels, the media is back with yet another terribly botched story. This time, the claim is that using household cleaning sprays is like smoking 20 cigarettes per day. Wrong again.

The study, which used a cohort design, examined lung capacity and function among...

The war on science has at least three fronts.

First, there is the widely reported political war on science, widely and erroneously believed to be waged exclusively by conservatives, when in reality, progressives are just as eager to throw science under the bus when it suits their agenda. (ACSH President Hank Campbell and I wrote an entire book about this topic, called Science Left Behind.) As a general rule, when science and political activists clash, the activists usually win.

Second, there is the legal war on science, in which unscrupulous lawyers use scientific uncertainty against science to score jackpot verdicts and settlements. All a lawyer has...

One of the many problems with academia is that it allows nutcases to flourish.

Consider Columbia University. It employs both Dr. Oz, "America's Quack," and Mark Bittman, a former organic food warrior for the New York Times who was once described as a "scourge on science." UC-Berkeley has Joel Moskowitz on staff, a "wi-fi truther" who thinks that...

The job ad is appalling.

NPR, which to its credit at least attempts to cover science and health, is looking for a new Science Editor. Unfortunately, actually being trained in science is not required for the job.

Under the qualifications section, the ad says, "Education: Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience." Amazingly, not only is a background in science unnecessary, college itself is optional. Despite such a low bar, whoever gets hired for the job will be responsible for covering "consumer health trends, medicine, public health, biotech and health policy." Seriously?

The only substantive qualification in the ad is "broad and deep experience reporting and...

If a respected scientist endorses a controversial view, should he or she be erased from history? The editors at Wikipedia think so, but only if the controversial opinion is one they personally dislike.

That's precisely what happened to a respected German paleontologist, Günter Bechly. His biography on Wikipedia has been deleted. Poof. Gone. It's like he never existed.

According to German Wikipedia, where a version of Dr. Bechly's page (which appears to have been created in 2012) still exists, he was once an...

One of the biggest problems of our hyperpartisan culture is that everything has been turned into a morbid game show.

Gone are the days when politicians and the media acted in the best interest of the American people. Instead, we have manufactured controversy and faux outrage over the most mundane of events. Instead of world news, we get 24/7 coverage of the President's Twitter feed. And instead of serious analysis, we get programming that resembles some horrifying merger of Family Feud, Hunger Games, and Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Consider CNN's coverage of the government shutdown. They are masters at...

Much buzz has surrounded President Trump's "Fake News Awards." Given that part of our mission is debunking pseudoscience and bogus health claims, we felt obliged to offer our own Fake News Award ... for junk science.

Websites like Food Babe, Mercola, InfoWars, and Natural News are perennial contenders. But giving them the award is too easy and predictable. Anyone with a halfway decent frontal lobe knows that these websites are pure garbage.

So, the Fake News Award for Science should go to a media outlet that has credibility (in some people's eyes, anyway), yet consistently gets the science wrong, likely for ideological reasons. With those criteria in...

ACSH is in the business of promoting evidence-based science and debunking junk science. That rubs some people the wrong way.

Take Dr. Oz, for instance. He got really upset when we called him a quack and called on Columbia University to throw him out. But he is a quack. If that bothers him, then there are two solutions available: (1) Stop being a quack; or (2) Fully embrace quackery. Go all in. As Byron Katie would say, "Love what is." Love your quackery, Dr. Oz.

As it turns out, Americans may have already figured out that Dr. Oz is a snake oil salesman. His ratings are down about 70% from five years ago. Hopefully, Dr. Oz will soon be on his way out, and we'll gladly take ...

We've been hard at work this year informing you of the latest developments in biomedical science, debunking junk science and bogus health claims, and explaining the science behind the headlines.

In case you missed them, or if you'd simply like a reminder of the year that has just passed, here are the 10 most popular articles we wrote in 2017.

#10. Suicides In Rural America Increased More Than 40% In 16 Years. America's economy is shifting from small-town America to the cities, and at the same time, the opioid overdose epidemic has hit rural states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, especially hard. Perhaps as a result, from 1999 to...

I met a friend at a coffee shop in Seattle today. We covered a lot of ground in the short time we had together -- politics, the state of our nation, the state of our city.

We don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. But what we have in common is a respect for each others' intelligence and intentions. We also share a desire for truth rather than ideology to prevail. By doing our best to rely on facts and to acknowledge our own sources of bias, we can have productive conversations despite our disagreements.

After my friend left, an elderly gentleman approached me and said (paraphrased), "I overheard you talking about politics. You both listened to each other and responded. That's not usual for this city, where it's bash, bash."

It's not just Seattle; it's all of America...