Scientifically Illiterate Journalism - Russian Nuclear Submarine in Perspective

in #stem2 years ago (edited)

How hard would it be for a news organization to have a physicist on call to check facts and put things into perspective? They don't do that because there's an incentive to write click-bait articles instead of paying a physicist to check facts. Here are a few examples:







We have willfully illiterate journalism, but that's not new. It's just something to keep in mind when reading headlines. In this example highlighted below by thunderf00t, journalists got a tip that there's a nuclear sub that's leaking radiation. So they "investigated" and got some facts. Then, instead of doing any kind of interpretation of the facts they got, they just parroted it back to their readers.

The "800,000 higher than normal" headline is misleading because it's really only twice the average background, whereas the average airplane flight gives you 40 times background.

If news organizations can't put this kind of thing in perspective, what other facts do they blow out of proportion?

In a nutshell, it's as if these news organizations reported that if you ate one banana in the Norwegian Sea, you'd be getting 15,000 times normal dose of radiation.

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Scientifically illiterate journalism is indeed a huge issue nowadays, because...

if it's on the internet, then it must be true.

As a result, the world is being taught the "truth" by news readers and TV series. Research? Ain't nobody got time for that!!

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Yeah, the news is often willfully ignorant of science and technology. I don't think it would be that hard to consult someone to verify articles...but they don't. It regularly annoys me.

I've considered whether or not news organizations should be fined for things like this, because they are causing misinformation, panic, etc, depending on the story. Of course, if such a law were passed, it would have to be written very carefully, and my country's lawmakers aren't exactly known for passing intelligent legislation in recent times.

In regards to the specific story, I'm not a physicist or anything, just I instantly knew that there was something sketchy about it, because they didn't reference what the number was or anything. So the question becomes "800,000" times what? If it was 800,000 times background, that would be scary...but still needs reference to other numbers, like a normal X-ray, which is common, or how much you get during a flight. They clearly intentionally made a misleading article to get clicks.

@inertia

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 2 years ago 

Huh?

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 2 years ago 

I am being very thoughtful.

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 2 years ago 

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 2 years ago 

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@inertia, In my opinion, the whole world is attracted towards the Commercial aspects and in this process Truth and Facts are pushed behind.

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I wonder what were the real reason for it's finding and if there might be some other political reasons behind. It was the interesting but I still feel there is so much missing around that new. In fact I really find it hard to read serious and informative news and many times those are not getting into the news feed from Google lol I guess for economical reasons

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 2 years ago 

Maybe so, but that's not reason to skip the context, right?

People love using nuclear stuff to fear monger. Did you know that if you jump into the midst of a volcano, that is also dangerous?

 2 years ago 

Yeah, but you can see a volcano. People are weirded out by radiation because it's invisible. But once you understand the dangers, and why, it's not as scary.

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 2 years ago Reveal Comment