The purpose of the Facebook page "I Fu**ing Love Science" is to popularize science while remaining scientifically accurate. However, one of its posts was recently flagged as "fake news" by Facebook fact-checkers.
Today, the only thing reliable about the collective media – both American and international – is how unreliable they are. Even on vital issues, like the coronavirus, they succumb to sensationalism and conspiracy theories. Is it any wonder, then, that more people are turning away?
“An extra burger meal a day eats the brain away," is the sort of arresting headline you’d expect from a tabloid. But it actually comes directly from a recent university press release, relating to a review of the evidence around diet and dementia published in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. Nutritionist Angela Dowden assures us that a burger will not eat your brain.
A story that's gone viral (again) claims that McDonald's touchscreen menus are fecally tainted. Is it true? No. The global headlines saying otherwise are total lies. So, on what basis are these folks making that ridiculous claim?
The Lancet is a highly respected biomedical journal that's taken an odd turn toward sensationalism and clickbait. That is troubling. Here's what we've been noticing.
Why on Earth does the media print sensationalist nonsense over and over again? We know of at least three reasons: (1) It cares more about internet traffic (and $$$) than anything else; (2) science journalists often have no formal education in the field; and (3) university press offices purposefully exaggerate their research.
A few weeks ago, a paper claimed that an extra glass of wine will shorten your life. The story circled the globe in minutes. A new paper, with better methodology, concluded what we all knew: Moderate alcohol consumption can be integrated into a healthy lifestyle. It, however, won't receive nearly as much attention as the sensationalist report. Such is the power of the academic PR hype machine combined with a gullible, sensationalist press.
Carey Gillam is a well-known anti-GMO activist who rejects the scientific consensus, regularly reports easily provable lies, and works for an organization that gets most of its money from 9/11 truthers.
A study published in The Lancet concludes that one additional drink per day increases a person's risk of stroke, coronary disease, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aortic aneurysm. Alcohol may not be to blame, but we can't determine this because the authors didn't even bother to collect data on it.
The authors had a clear strategy in mind: (1) Do a study on a common household object; (2) Produce boring data that doesn't surprise any microbiologist; (3) Write a provocative, fear-mongering headline; (4) Market it to a gullible, clickbait-hungry press, exhibiting no critical thinking; and (5) Watch the grant dollars roll in.
A complete hoax was circulated among Russian state-controlled media as legitimate news, and then the Western media fell for it. Sure, some of them provided "caveats." But the point is that Russian propaganda has so infiltrated the public discourse that it appears regularly in mainstream Western media outlets. And that's shocking.
While brilliant, Stephen Hawking states uninformed opinions, like when the theoretical physicist claimed a few years ago that "philosophy is dead." In an upcoming documentary, Dr. Hawking says humans must flee from the planet because of "climate change, asteroid strikes, epidemics and overpopulation." But he's wrong on every single count.