Should science journalists take sides?

From The New Objectivity

Great post yesterday by fellow Discover denizen Ed Yong, asking “Should science journalists take sides?” Honestly, it shouldn’t be a hard question, although the answer depends on how you visualize the sides. If you have in mind

He said vs. She said,

then the job of a journalist is not to take sides. But there’s another possible dichotomy that is much more crucial:

Truth vs. Falsity.

In this case, it’s equally clear that journalists should take sides: they should be in favor of the truth. Not just passively, by trying not to make things up, but actively, by trying to figure out whether something is false before reporting it, even if it’s been said by someone.

This should be a no-brainer, but apparently there are some “science” journalists who will report every story about a scientific dispute as if the sides have equal merit. See also my notes here.

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