James Delingpole’s relationship with what is commonly understood by the term “journalism” is not readily apparent.
1. PLOS One publishes a peer-reviewed paper by some of the world’s leading marine biologists with an interest in the effects of underwater noise pollution. The paper tests the idea that naval sonar could have an impact on whale behavior. It makes no mention of wind farms.
2. The Telegraph publishes a story, “Wind farms blamed for stranding of whales” citing the paper, which has the conveniently precise title of “Beaked Whales Respond to Simulated and Actual Navy Sonar.”
4. Delingpole runs with the link, writing that wind farms “KILL WHALES.” A photo of a beach sperm whale adorns his post.
5. One of the paper’s co-authors denies, vigorously, that his research made any link whatsoever between wind farms and whales.
6. The Telegraph removes the story from its website and publishes a correction/retraction.
7. Delingpole adds an update to his post and writes that he is “delighted to put this straight.”
Really? Delighted? Is it perhaps time for the Telegraph to rethink allowing him to write about science? It brings to mind his quote:
“It is not my job to sit down and read peer-reviewed papers, because I simply don’t have the time, I don’t have the scientific expertise. […] I am an interpreter of interpretations.”
[And yes, I know it’s all about readership and traffic, not about getting the story correct. But what can I say? I’m a dreamer.]