Science

Are Blondes ‘Warrior Princesses?’

Here’s how your science news sausage gets made: research is done, journalist reports the opposite, other journalists reprint without checking the facts.

BBC Article
Times Online Article
True Slant
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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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22 Comments

  1. “Are you ugly, plain, pretty,very pretty, extremely pretty?”

    “I see would that be mildly very pretty, very very pretty, or extremely very pretty?”

    “Are you sure? Look at this picture of a supermodel and give me a point-by-point comparison.”

    “And how about tits? Ass? Bush? Do you have nipple confidence?”

    Note: subject became angry. More confirmation for hypothesis.

  2. This is because the media critters make up their mind how the story will “slant” before they gather the facts and find out what the story actually is.

    How often do you see retractions or corrections when they aren’t called out by someone? No follow-up unless the story “gets better” no fact-checking beyond a simple logic test.

    All it takes to realize this is to listen (see, read) a story about something you are very familiar with, where you already know the facts. The leading questions to witnesses, the misleading statements, the omissions, the flat out lies are all over the place. These are the people we trust to tell us what is going on in the world? what our leaders are doing? You’re going to trust that?

  3. @Baroncognito:
    I believe we should be outspoken about these things, I also well we should have a certain amount of expressed outrage, however I feel that “being angry” is more of a personal emotion and we shouldn’t let assholes get to us. And I don’t want to see Rebecca angry

  4. I’ve been expressing the same frustration about this Times article, which claims that high fructose corn syrup is responsible for childhood diabetes. The only problem is that the study compared plain fructose (not HFCS) to glucose in adult men (not children). Would it kill you to just read the damn study before reporting on it?

    What’s even worse is that it only takes one magazine or newspaper to misrepresent the findings of a study. Then, a whole bunch of other media outlets pick up the story from that newspaper, don’t bother to look into the research, and just parrot what some other idiot reporter said.

  5. Between the science reporting in the mainstream media and the depression the news sent me into in 2001-2009, I gave up following newspapers and other mainstream news outlets. I may not be a “good citizen” as a result since I don’t know what I’m supposed to know about issues, but at least for the moment, I don’t care. I hear about things happening in science by listening to SGU and following other such sources online, and if a topic interests me enough to follow up on, I try to get accurate details on it (a perk of being a student is that I have access to journal articles through the university library’s catalog).

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