Sunday, September 28, 2008

In my few years of learning what Journalism is, I've stumbled upon this truism that works for both Journalism and Science. Journalism, and Science, is the search for truth. Science being the truth in the natural world and Journalism the truth in everything. Why, if they are so closely identifiable, do they not work well together?

The controversy most famous in the last few years, that made my heart bleed from the journalistic incompetence shown by many in the media (which is a bloated term I hate using), is Global Warming. While liberal and conservative pundits, politicians and people on the street argue over if its real, scientists know for a fact that it is. Conservatively its not as clear cut if it was our fault or if we can do something about it. But the constant debate over weather or not Global Warming is real spreads the untruthful idea that it is a matter of opinion.

Recently, another debate raged around the scientific community and I had a conversation with someone that made me think about this issue. A few weeks ago the Large Hadron Collider was turned on. The debate over mini-black holes made national news. The conversation I had was with someone who worked in the Media for a long time. We started to talk about the LHC during class and he said something about how it could destroy the world. I raised my hand and said "But to be fair, no Scientists actually believe that will happen." And he said that I should listen to NPR. This made another student question why turn on the LHC if there is even the possibility of a problem. To answer her, there is no possibility. The black holes are too small to do anything and the reaction happens naturally anyway.

The idea that a Scientific debate needs two sides sounds right, but can be very wrong. Science is always right according to the evidence available and an opposing opinion can be only based on faith. While its not wrong necessarily, faith is not science.

No one is really at fault here, everyone is just using the same flawed information. But if the idea of Journalism is to spread truth, then any non-truth ultumitly destroys Journalism.

This is a bit text heavy and sounds a little conspiracy theory-y so here is the cutest thing ever.


Anonymous said...

Whether or not to say weather or not or whether or not.
I thought language was journalists strengths as it certainly isn't rocket science or climate science for that matter.

Anonymous said...


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