In a column at the New York Times (or is it an advertorial for Watts up With That?), Virginia Heffernan uses the Pepsi affair to refight the postmodernist Science Wars. It seems that she’s still upset by the Sokal hoax and wants some payback against the scientists.

Heffernan writes (and if you are wondering what this has to do with Derrida, I don’t know either, but this is what she wrote after she donned “the old Derridean cloak”):

I was nonplussed by the high dudgeon of the so-called SciBlings. The bloggers evidently write often enough for ad-free academic journals that they still fume about adjacencies, advertorial and infomercials. Most writers for “legacy” media like newspapers, magazines and TV see brush fires over business-editorial crossings as an occupational hazard. They don’t quit anytime there’s an ad that looks so much like an article it has to be marked “this is an advertisement.”

Except that the first to quit were the folks who write for legacy media like Rebecca Skloot and Pulitzer winner Deborah Blum.

Next, Heffernan goes quote mining:

Recently a blogger called GrrlScientist, on Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted), expressed her disgust at the “flock of hugely protruding bellies and jiggling posteriors everywhere I go.” Gratuitous contempt like this is typical. Mark Hoofnagle on Denialism Blog sideswiped those who question antibiotics, writing, “their particular ideology requires them to believe in the primacy of religion (Christian Science, New Age Nonsense) or in the magical properties of nature.”

And claims that they were jeering at “fat people and churchgoers”.

But GrrlScientist wasn’t jeering at fat people, but pointing out that PepsiCo’s products cause obesity:

It’s taken me a few hours to cool off enough to write coherently and without using (too much) profanity after I learned that ScienceBlogs added a corporate PR “blog” about nutrition written by PepsiCo. I think I’ve learned all I care to know about corporate “food” giants’ definition of what is “nutrition” by being confronted daily by a flock of hugely protruding bellies and jiggling posteriors everywhere I go (yes, even here in Germany)

And Mark Hoofnagle wasn’t jeering at churchgoers, but responding to a claim that “There is no denial of antibiotics”:

This is demonstrably false, as we have encountered denialists who do deny the efficacy of antibiotics and all of Western medicine, as their particular ideology requires them to believe in the primacy of religion (Christian Science, New Age Nonsense) or in the magical properties of nature.

Heffernan may feel that this view of antibiotics is equally valid to that of Western medicine, but Hoofnagle was not jeering at them; rather he was explaining why they reject antibiotics.

Heffernan goes on to complain:

What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers. And science blogging, apparently, is a form of redundant and effortfully incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word “science” and from occasional invocations of “peer-reviewed” thises and thats.

Here’s the thing. Science works. Antibiotics work. And we know they work not because of any “bad-faith moral authority” by scientists but because they collected evidence and conducted experiments and drew conclusions that survived review by their peers.

But what really takes the cake is this:

For science that’s accessible but credible, steer clear of polarizing hatefests like atheist or eco-apocalypse blogs. Instead, check out scientificamerican.com, discovermagazine.com and Anthony Watts’s blog, Watts Up With That?

Heffernan reckons that Whats Up With That presents credible science. This is a blog that argues that Venus is hot, not because of the greenhouse effect, but because of the high pressure in the atmosphere (so hence Jupiter and Saturn are the hottest planets right?) . Look:

If there were no Sun (or other external energy source) atmospheric temperature would approach absolute zero. As a result there would be almost no atmospheric pressure on any planet -> PV = nRT

Only if there was no such thing as gravity. Air pressure is determined by the weight of the column of air above a particular point. If the pressure is insufficient to support that column, then gravity compresses the column, decreasing the volume and increasing the pressure until it is enough to support the column. So if you turned off the Sun and cooled down the atmosphere, the pressure would not change. Actual credible science on this from Chris Colose is here. Again, this isn’t “bad-faith moral authority”, physics tells us what the right answer is, while Watts Up With That consistently gets it wrong. For example, accusing NOAA scientists of fraud, arguing that “up is flat“, hiding the decline in snow cover, and fabricating false temperature trends. And if you want more, Peter Sinclair’s video debunking Watts was so good that Watt’s abused the DMCA to try to have it supressed.

Now to be fair, Heffernan also recommended some good science blogs, like David Dobbs, who promptly wrote an post on why Heffernan was wrong about the Pepsi affair and about scienceblogs (with a response from Heffernan in comments).

See also: Zen Faulkes, Scott Rosenberg, Jason Goldman, PZ Myers,Coturnix and Neuroanthropology.

Comments

  1. #1 Bernard J.
    July 31, 2010

    What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers.

    No scientist or science blogger claims that blogging is the practice of science – pretenders such as Anthony Watts, Joanne Codling, Stephen McIntyre and a motley caste of others notwithstanding.

    However, in many cases – and ScienceBlogs exemplifies this – science blogging is a reporting of science to a far higher standard than most of today’s so-called journalists are capable of.

    Heffernan, Tom Fuller, Jonathan Leake, David Rose and many other tabloid scribblers might like to consider the atrophy of their profession. They and their ‘investigative’ services are not nearly as sought-after since the advent of the Interweb, and this has seen high journalistic standards plummet in an effort to chase the remaining pennies. The likelihood is that hack-reporting itself will atophy as people turn to instruments such as the open, free and public discussion of science by the professionals themselves on forums such as these, especially as they are refined, and develop recognition for reliability and accuracy.

    In many ways the hacks’ is a zombie journalism: they just don’t know it yet.

  2. #2 frank
    July 31, 2010

    > > For science that’s accessible but credible, steer clear of polarizing hatefests like atheist or eco-apocalypse blogs. Instead, check out scientificamerican.com, discovermagazine.com and Anthony Watts’s blog, Watts Up With That?

    lolwut? She’s seriously suggesting that WUWT isn’t a “polarizing hatefest”?

  3. #3 Wow
    July 31, 2010

    The death of jounralism is one of seppuku, enacted by the journalists themselves.

    The internet blogging removes most of the jounralistic investigation that the mainstream media say that they provide, but in the interests of getting money, the mainstream media themselves have morphed from journalistic news into cheap agitprop.

    For a similar tale of the ones decrying the death of their industry when it is their industry itself that is killing them, see Bill Watterson’s 10 year anniversary book on Calvin and Hobbes, where he goes into how the cartoonists and newspapers have caused the death of newspaper cartoons (and thereby removed one defining uniqueness point of print news, hence killing print news).

  4. #4 Tim Lambert
    July 31, 2010

    Watts [responds, still doesn't get it](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/31/im-honored-i-think/):

    >The point that was being made in that article by Goddard is that with no external energy source (the Sun) Venusian atmospheric gases would contract and eventually freeze at near absolute zero and cling to the surface of the planet, thanks to gravity.

  5. #5 dhogaza
    July 31, 2010

    She does, to her credit, says she regrets listing Watts blog. She also admits to having no training in science, and didn’t recognize Watts’ blog as being “denialist”.

    She hasn’t admitted that maybe her admitted ignorance means she should’ve STFU in the first place.

  6. #6 https://me.yahoo.com/a/6RBjsz4HsZx_jxDjOTAyms_CG8xZDfiNIWWXSg--#b33f0
    July 31, 2010

    Wow #3 – the history of the last 20 years or so of the UK press indicates it isn’t the journalists fault, the roots lie in decisions by the owners to squeeze for maximum profit and popularity, the journalists lacking the ability to stand up to the pressure. Sales of newspapers here were already falling several years before the internet really took off, simply because what was in the papers was so rubbish, and the decisions about what to put in the papers, to cut journalistic staff so they couldn’t do their jobs, were taken by editors and management at the behest of the owners.
    So I’m afraid, despite the example in this post, it isn’t simply the journalists killing themselves.

  7. #7 Boris
    July 31, 2010

    How does Hefferman see Watts as “seemingly not snide”? He wants Jim Hansen to be indicted under the Hatch Act! How many blogs that she complains about are trying to put working scientists in jail?

  8. #8 Wow
    July 31, 2010

    “the journalists lacking the ability to stand up to the pressure”

    More lacking the desire. Or, rather, wanting the access more than they want to be journalists (see the effect of Shrub’s banning of journalists if they don’t play ball, or the “embedded journalists” who do the same: don’t get invited back and you won’t get a scoop, so play ball and stay “relevant”)

    Your assertion is the same as one that the cartoonists used to allow themselves to kill print newspaper cartoons and to demonise Bill’s stand for the art.

    It’s wrong there and wrong here.

    The drive comes from the top, but for evil to triumph, all you need is the acquiescence of the good.

  9. #9 Jeremy C
    July 31, 2010

    The Soakal hoax was a good one and I’ve enjoyed GrrlScientist when I’ve dipped into her blog.

  10. #10 https://me.yahoo.com/a/6RBjsz4HsZx_jxDjOTAyms_CG8xZDfiNIWWXSg--#b33f0
    July 31, 2010

    Well, no, my assertion is entirely correct for the UK, maybe the USA has always been a hotbed of pathetic journalism. I disagree entirely with your apparently putting most of the blame on the journalists.

  11. #11 James Haughton
    July 31, 2010

    Given that it discusses the Pepsi fiasco, this seems an appropriate point to ask Tim what his longer term plans for Deltoid are, as so many of the best scienceblogs on Sb seem to have left.

  12. #12 rhwombat
    July 31, 2010

    @10 (sorry, your anonynym makes this clumsy):
    I take it that you are a UK journalist. While I sympathise with what it must be like to work for people like my erstwhile compatriot, Mr Deng, the performance of your compatriots in the climategate affair places your comment uncomfortably close to the Nuremberg defence. (Befel ist befel). From Oz, the performance of the Times, the Telegraph, and even the Guardian look only a little less egregious than Faux News. CP Snow seems to have been precient about the two cultures, and ill informed broadsides like Heffernan’s really do look like Rupert’s minions in full throat.
    Slainte

  13. #13 Alex
    July 31, 2010

    Does this mean we can accuse Watts and other denialists of postmodernism and cultural relativism now?

  14. #14 chek
    July 31, 2010

    Alex, you have to be a postmodern cultural relativist to have a barely second school education and consider your opinion at least the equal of that of a conference full of long time professionals with PhDs, about a subject you’ve read a few blogposts on.

    It’s what defines common denialism.

  15. #15 V. infernalis
    July 31, 2010

    Crikey – postmodernists still exist? I thought it was a passing academic fad much like spandex, only less flattering.

  16. #16 Michael
    July 31, 2010

    chek @14,

    They are a parody of post-modernism.

  17. #17 Alex
    July 31, 2010

    The spandex fad didn’t reach my campus.

  18. #18 Molnar
    July 31, 2010

    I don’t see the contradiction between the claims that the owners are at fault versus their employees are at fault. The journalists with integrity have been fired or marginalized by the owners, and those who spout the rubbish the owners want to see, either through self-serving cynicism or innate incompetence, have been retained and promoted. It’s natural selection at work in the newspaper business, if you view the owners as Nature.

  19. #19 Marion Delgado
    August 1, 2010

    rhwombat:

    What you’re saying seems to me partly a confusion caused by the fact that journalists (reporters, producers, etc.) belong to “professional” organizations. In fact, unlike doctors and lawyers and a couple of other actual professions, journalists are mere employees. They don’t determine coverage or placement or headlines. They don’t even determine the final draft of the stories themselves. And those who edit their stories (either print, radio, or video) don’t determine that, either. Also, the professional organizations give awards, but have no normative effect. Your equivalent of medical board or bar association is your boss.

    Most large or even medium-sized journalistic outfits are owned by other companies, and while many are journalistic, many others are not. Journalism as I’ve experienced it is not a path to money or even fame, it’s a matter of holding on, deferring pay raises, being overworked and underpaid. If you don’t want to report for its own sake, I assure you it’s not a sinecure.

    “Journalists” didn’t do this to themselves, is all. The corporation management aren’t acting as journalists. Also, it really is true that whatever issues people had with papers, radio, and TV before the internet hit, it drastically increased the problems for the media, with respect to both audience and advertisers.

    I was part of actually implementing on the ground the delicate balancing act that was accommodating the internet without losing too much non-computer income, and it’s a very frantic process.

  20. #20 Marion Delgado
    August 1, 2010

    Molnar:

    Most papers haven’t corrupted science journalism, they’ve abandoned it. And for most stories (newspaper, and radio is just derived newspaper material), the issue of integrity as it’s being looked at here just doesn’t apply.

    Many of the well-known journalists, especially the more op-ed ones, yeah, sure, they’re the remnant after the people with integrity like Ray Bonner and Robert Parry are fired.

    It really is not the case, though, that reporters or producers became the corrupt, low-integrity remnant. It’s money and staff. Pure and simple.

    What is a “journalist of integrity” supposed to do at a paper where they budget for 10 staff where they used to have 30?

  21. #21 Paul UK
    August 1, 2010

    It’s sort of disturbing that atmospheric pressure is a subject of debate these days!

    Can we instead discuss whether the planet is flat or not?
    Or maybe whether humans landed on the moon?

    I would feel much more comfortable.

  22. #22 Mark
    August 1, 2010

    “”Journalists” didn’t do this to themselves, is all. The corporation management aren’t acting as journalists.”

    And the same “I have no power” is how (to Godwin this thread early) Nazis managed to perpetrate the atrocities they did with impunity.

    Journalists DID do it to themselves. They could have reported the deterioration while it was starting. Just like the “good cops” do it to themselves by standing in defence of their fellows, the “bad cops”. Yes, they had to have someone actually DO it to them, but they acquiesced and that was their doing.

    And without that stickler for integrity, there’s no longer any difference between a journalist and a blogger, except the paycheck.

    It’s how US workers have been made to work 60 hour weeks for less pay and less security. It’s how cable TV was paid for instead of having adverts has now morphed into TV with more adverts and still paid for.

    They’ve done it to themselves.

    Just like journalists.

  23. #23 rhwombat
    August 1, 2010

    Marion @19. My apologies for generalising too hurtfully. I am aware of some of the exceptions to my sneer, and of the extreme stress placed on those journalists who live up to the spirit of Menkin, Twain and Pilger. Being from the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of Orstraya (Ltd.) I have the security of the ABC (and the Drum…er, sometimes) to forstall some of the the toxic effects of of Rupert the Hun’s local print assylum for right wing hacks (red in tooth, claw and masthead logo), so the concept of Corporate indomitability is less pressing. I’m a member of one of the Professions you cited, and we do actually examine (literally, I’m an examiner) and normalise fairly rigorously as well as handing out the odd onanistic accolade. That being said (and sympathising with your distress about science journalism expressed in your response to Molnar (…any relation to the elegant cartoonist?)) (wasn’t there a punctuation nazi hanging about these threads recently?) (..but I digress), Heffernan & the Yahoonym don’t exactly help the case for the defence of responsible journalism. Slainte (and cubic droppings)

  24. #24 Kooiti Masuda
    August 1, 2010

    Excuse me for nitpicking. The version of the US copyright act which is controversial from the viewpoint of freedom of information is not DCMA, but DMCA = Digital Millenium Copyright Act. (The book “Public Domain” by James Boyle contained an episode that someone sang “D-M-C-A!” on the tune of the song of “YMCA”, so I do not forget.)

    *[Thanks, fixed.]*

  25. #25 Lotharsson
    August 1, 2010

    > (wasn’t there a punctuation nazi hanging about these threads recently?) (..but I digress)

    If there is, then the truncated ellipsis is sure to flush them out ;-)

  26. #26 Paul UK
    August 1, 2010

    Ahh, just noticed the Hefferman bit about GrrlScientist and Pepsi etc.

    Actually this is a typical corporate campaign regarding environmentalism. In order to protect the current economic model and large corporations. It is a requirement to appeal to the ‘poor’ and question how they could possibly survive without cheap Pepsi et al.

    So fat people, poor people etc. will be the victims of environmentalists and anyone that wants change.

  27. #27 Jeremy C
    August 1, 2010

    I think the science and engineering communities have to take some of the blame for the state of science journalism. We have to be more accessible by the media, not tolerate them e.g. lunch em so that they know as a relaible and approachable source who can, and this is the important bit, explain things simply with our ears tuned to a journalist’s deadlines. Yeah some of them are a waste of space and some of them are in it for the ‘glamour’ but there are quite a few who are curious.

  28. #28 Seth Finkelstein
    August 1, 2010

    > The book “Public Domain” by James Boyle contained an episode that someone sang “D-M-C-A!” on the tune of the song of “YMCA”, so I do not forget.
    D-M-C-A lyrics:

    Yup – here’s the lyrics

    http://www.freesklyarov.org/local/dmca-song.html

  29. #29 Marion Delgado
    August 1, 2010

    Mark:

    Journalists did report right away, and all along. No law forces anyone to print them or pay them. In fact, that’s obvious, because they’ve been fired in droves. And it wasn’t at all a calculated plan to get rid of journalists with integrity. It was the usual CAPITALIST paradigm, okay?

    This is very annoying. How in hell are journalists responsible for this? Someone show me the memo where we had control of our companies and workplaces, again.

    Mark do you go around to people in EVERY industry where they’ve been massively laid off – autos, electronics, all manufacturing, tech support, call services, etc. etc. etc. and tell THEM they did it to themselves?

    We very much did @$#$ing NOT. We had no control. And talking about us “just following orders” is brain-dead insulting NONSENSE.

    YOU missed the part where we never had the legal right to control any part of this. Apparently. Journalists are WORKERS. EMPLOYEES. If you don’t write what they want, they don’t shoot your family or toss you out of the Nazi Party, they just don’t print it, and they fire you, and they don’t pay you. But even if you hold out, you’re still fired. That’s the point.

    In fact, some papers HAVE had total walkouts over integrity isues. In every case, they were all fired, and replaced. And that’s how CAPITALISM works. In case you’re still in the 1st grade, I mean.

  30. #30 Marion Delgado
    August 1, 2010

    rhwombat:

    What’s really being discussed here is mostly the upper 10% of journalists. And virtually none of them are science journalists, because that’s very close to a vanished profession. It is tricky to relate to them, and many are kind of bad in terms of how they report, or how, at least, the final stories come out (which is also editors and publishers).

    Molly Ivins told me in person that she hadn’t experienced pressure not to report with integrity, not just for her (a famous person) but for her friends and colleagues, but that she’d seen constant pressure on the PAPERS she associated with to cut costs, cut more costs, oh, and can you cut some more costs?

    A chain would think nothing of firing 20% of staff at 30 papers one year, then next year say, okay, firing 20% of the staff was so profitable last year that let’s do it again! And again.

  31. #31 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    “Mark do you go around to people in EVERY industry where they’ve been massively laid off – autos, electronics, all manufacturing, tech support, call services, etc. etc. etc. and tell THEM they did it to themselves?”

    1) This isn’t a thread about them.

    But yes, I do.

    People were complaining about the Royal Mail going on strike for a 2% rise. So many people complaining that in this difficult time, they were lucky to have a job and that they themselves had taken a pay cut.

    My response: why should the Royal Mail get a shitty deal just because YOU accepted one?

    So yes.

  32. #32 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    “We very much did @$#$ing NOT. We had no control.”

    The S&M submissive group have the same mantra.

    The guards at Treblinka had the same mantra.

    The mantra is one to make someone else to blame and make your conscience clean when it isn’t.

    Not choosing is just a much a choice as any other.

    If you choose not to do anything about it, then that’s your choice, but you have to live with it.

  33. #33 Marion Delgado
    August 2, 2010

    Tim:

    What percentage of scienceblogs is, in fact, scientists? I’d say the vast majority, but is that data out there? I don’t want to spot Virginia Heffernan that it’s not scientists. I also want to question her term “doing science.” Unless all one knows of science is watching TV, one should realize that disseminating information, including from peer-reviewed research, is, in fact, doing science.

  34. #34 Marion Delgado
    August 2, 2010

    Also, I demand clarification, Tim. Is this an atheist blog, or an eco-apocalypse blog?

  35. #35 https://me.yahoo.com/a/6RBjsz4HsZx_jxDjOTAyms_CG8xZDfiNIWWXSg--#b33f0
    August 2, 2010

    So according to Mark, unless we revolt and establish a workers paradise we’re in the wrong?
    I appreciate that to a die hard revolutionary that is indeed the case, but it would be helpful if Mark actually told us where he was coming from, because us normal people don’t see things the way he does.

  36. #36 Paul K2
    August 2, 2010

    Tim, you are missing the larger picture here because you are too close to the debate. Take a breath, collect and observe the data, and propose several hypotheses that we can test. For example, address this relatively important question:

    =>Why DID Heffernan recommend WUWT?

    Possible hypotheses:

    1. She still is rankled by the Sokal episode, decided to put out an argument against purist groupthink in the scientific community, and needed some (any) examples to illustrate her point, and seized on WUWT without really understanding the site.

    2. She has some previous beef with science bloggers and decided to use the Pepsi issue to make her point, and again needed a counterexample, so selected WUWT, a choice that blew up in her face and negated her argument.

    3. She liked the pretty pictures on WUWT.

    Data Collection:
    Heffernan comment on Dobbs’ blog (linked in your post) with emphasis added by me:

    “One regret: the Watts blog. Virtually everyone who emailed me pointed out that it’s as axe-grinding as anything out there. I linked to it because has a lively voice; it’s detail-oriented and seemingly not snide; and, above all, it has some beautiful images I’d never seen before. I’m a stranger to the debates on science blogs, so I frankly didn’t recognize the weatherspeak on the blog as “denialist”; I didn’t even know about denialism. I’m don’t endorse the views on the Watts blog, and I’m extremely sorry the recommendation seemed ideological.”

    Hmm, this is interesting. She liked the pretty pictures on WUWT. And so she recommended the site in the NY Times as a good science blog!

    Suggestions for further work:

    1. How does WUWT assemble the smorgasbord of pretty imagery shown on their site? Are they getting information prepared by other organizations to present as their own work?

    2. Who is funding this effort?

    3. Serious science blogs don’t have such a LIFE magazine approach to presenting their subject. Are they missing a chance to gain market share?

    4. Perhaps there is an opportunity to get a “science for the people” or to use the name of a magazine, “Popular Science” site up to counteract the pretty propaganda presented on WUWT.

    My conclusion on this very discouraging affair: Few people, even paid columnists, have sufficient time to analyze the content of discourse on scientific issues like AGW. The ability of deniers like Monckton and Watts to seize this ground by preparing attractive propaganda (with resources and support coming from where?) is daunting. As we have repeatedly seen, even professional journalists have been repeatedly fooled by this propaganda.

  37. #37 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    “So according to Mark, unless we revolt and establish a workers paradise we’re in the wrong?”

    No, I’m saying that if you acquiesce to your slavery, then you have enabled it.

    I’m saying if you haven’t tried to oppose the problem, you’re part of the problem.

    I’m saying that “It’s not my fault” is the infant’s answer to their woes. You’re supposed to be adults.

    The Royal Mail were being lambasted for striving to get a good deal. Why? Because others didn’t try and got stuffed. Instead of whinging about their own inadequate efforts, they whinge that someone else is TRYING.

    I’m not saying it’s only the journalists fault because the owners were the instigators.

    But, unless all the journalists were sacked at the same time and therefore couldn’t react, they kept quiet and accepted their fate, enable the destruction. Well you were part of the problem, accept your part in it and stop whinging.

    If you tried, and failed, you at least tried.

    But I see NO EVIDENCE journalists tried to stop the rot. Not even tried.

    And the defense of “If I didn’t do it, someone else would have taken the job and done it instead” is EXACTLY what one SS guard at a concentration camp said when they explained why they did it.

  38. #38 https://me.yahoo.com/a/6RBjsz4HsZx_jxDjOTAyms_CG8xZDfiNIWWXSg--#b33f0
    August 2, 2010

    Well, I disagree with Marks fundamentalist stance on it, and I vaguely recall that many journalists did try and do things about it all, but they lost. Now we have a new generation of journalists who don’t know any better.

  39. #39 luminous beauty
    August 2, 2010

    >But I see NO EVIDENCE journalists tried to stop the rot. Not even tried.

    Mark, look harder:

    Vance Packard

    John Pilger

    Bill Moyers

    Ben Bagdikian

    Molly Ivins

    Amy Goodman

    Juan Gonzalez

    Eric Alterman

    Chomsky and Herman

    Kurt Vonnegut

    Al Giordano

    Gary Webb (a cautionary tale)

    I could go on…

  40. #40 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    Links to the escapades that disprove this?

    PS how many journalists are there?

  41. #41 luminous beauty
    August 2, 2010

    Mark,

    [It Can't Happen Here](http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301001h.html)

    [It's Been A Long Time Coming](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQU4torUz-Q)

  42. #42 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    OK, thanks for the Sam Cooke.

    Not sure what’s going to change with it, but there we go.

    And isn’t that book basically going on about how the press are behind the neonazi?

    Neither, of course, actually are what I asked for.

    PS just noticed that some of those names are not Journalists.

    PPS It’s not just science. How many papers have bruited out Obama’s expansion of the National Security Letters, or his office’s refusal to investigate PROVEN political interference in judges who wouldn’t make up fake evidence against political opponents.

    Or see how many papers mention 95% of Iraqi Oil is missing (and how many of them that do mention that it was originally stated that the oil WOULD NOT be taken to rebuild Iraq, making the people pay for their own invasion).

    Not just science.

  43. #43 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    Funny how the yahoo goes on about

    “Marks fundamentalist stance on it,”

    Yet their own blatherings:

    “So according to Mark, unless we revolt and establish a workers paradise we’re in the wrong? ”

    Is far more a fundie talking point he brought up.

    And an example, too, of the ways the Journalists operate now.

  44. #44 MarkB
    August 2, 2010

    “What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers. And science blogging, apparently, is a form of redundant and effortfully incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word “science” and from occasional invocations of “peer-reviewed” thises and thats.”

    She’s describing WUWT pretty well here, although I’d change “occasional” to “rare” regarding peer-reviewed stuff, and when peer-reviewed material is quoted, it’s often misrepresented.

  45. #45 luminous beauty
    August 2, 2010

    >PS just noticed that some of those names are not Journalists.

    Whom, exactly?

  46. #46 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky

    For example.

    But you may have meant someone else.

    The first Herman that turns up is Melville, a novelist. And this is not AFAICT a journalist, but another novelist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut

    And those are the only names I have ever heard of, but not as journalists.

  47. #47 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    “Few people, even paid columnists, have sufficient time to analyze the content of discourse on scientific issues like AGW. ”

    Paul, if I’m asked to do more work than I can manage and the work I could do would be half-arsed, I would not do it.

    It’s called “professional ethics”.

    So why is a columnist going a definitely half-arsed way about it? Because if it’s just they have no time, then they already know that and they already know there’s 98% of science on the side of the IPCC.

    Constructing a counter to that would require CONSIDERABLE work in investigation in whether it’s cutting edge and groundbreaking.

    Work they KNOW they don’t have time for.

    Wither their professional ethics?

    It’s not as if sacking them would get the work done, is it, if everyone is overworked.

  48. #48 Mark
    August 2, 2010

    “Now we have a new generation of journalists who don’t know any better.”

    So you don’t need training or education or to know what journalism is before you can become a journalist?

    Or is it that there’s no training for journalists ANY MORE?

    I’m afraid I’m not getting why the current crop of journalists don’t know any better.

    And for those who were sacked, well, there’s plenty of blog space and, as opposed to the normal wingnut on the internet, having been important and well respected journalists, they’ll have

    a) cachet
    b) connections
    c) credentials

    Should be a shoe-in.

    And if they get noticed enough, they’ll get picked up. Because they have cachet, connections and credentials and, now, a following.

  49. #49 luminous beauty
    August 2, 2010

    Mark,

    If you had bothered to google ‘Chomsky and Herman’ you’d have discovered Herman is Edward S. Herman, who is a (news)media analyst and professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-author with Noam Chomsky of “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media”, which is one of the most famous and most studiously ignored critiques of the journalism biz. They have both widely published in both popular and academic (news)__journals__. Besides his many satirical novels and short stories, Kurt Vonnegut has also published numerous topical and critical essays in news magazines.

    So, yes, they are Journalists.

  50. #50 Bernard J.
    August 2, 2010

    PS just noticed that some of those names are not Journalists.

    So, are you [saying](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/07/post-modernism_rides_again_at.php#comment-2698480) that non-journalists are doing journalists’ work for them? What then would this say about those journalists who are not doing such work themselves?

  51. #51 Mark
    August 3, 2010

    “So, are you saying that non-journalists are doing journalists’ work for them? ”

    I don’t know, Bernard. Luminous put those names up in a discussion about journalists who did something about it.

    “If you had bothered to google ‘Chomsky and Herman’ you’d have discovered Herman is Edward S. Herman,”

    Ah, and I would have known this was a double act how, exactly?

    Never heard of him.

    News media analyst. Doesn’t sound like he’s a journalist, mind. More that he’s employed to talk about media.

    And even though Steve McIntyre has written papers for JOURNALS, this doesn’t make him a JOURNALIST.

    “Kurt Vonnegut has also published numerous topical and critical essays in news magazines.”

    Aye, not a journalist.

    Again.

  52. #52 Marion Delgado
    August 3, 2010

    The reason this is an absurd discussion is, it’s like saying all science is michio kaku, carl sagan, jane goodall, etc.

  53. #53 Mark
    August 3, 2010

    Or, indeed, that “We very much did @$#$ing NOT. We had no control.” Marion.

    You did have control. You just decided not to exercise it.

  54. #54 Rob
    August 3, 2010

    The oddest thing about Heffernan’s response:

    I’m a stranger to the debates on science blogs, so I frankly didn’t recognize the weatherspeak on the blog as “denialist”; I didn’t even know about denialism.

    My emphasis. But in her original article she mentions “Mark Hoofnagle on Denialism Blog”. She’d read the Denialism blog, but didn’t know about denialism? She mustn’t have read very carefully.

  55. #55 Billy Bob Hall
    August 3, 2010

    Oh no Tim. The NYT has it right. They can ‘smell a rat’ too when it come to all this ‘climate homeopathy’ nonsense.
    CO2 is just a trace gas it always has been and always will be.
    Where is Barton Fink now ? He can tell us all about it ! ;-)

  56. #56 Marion Delgado
    August 4, 2010

    Mark, in all seriousness, I pretty much doubt your grip on sanity by this point, so I’m no longer addressing your concerns, however fantastically you’ve configured them.

  57. #57 Marion Delgado
    August 4, 2010

    For the normal folks:

    The reason it’s absurd to discuss what happened to journalism, including science journalism, from the angle of the behavior of the most successful and well-known journalists, many of whom are strictly or mostly op-ed vs. factual reporting, is that it would be equally absurd to say that science has faltered and discuss only Michio Kaku, Jacques Cousteau, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Steven Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and perhaps Bill Nye.

    It’s the TV version of journalism (or science). Just as most scientists are pretty much unsung, and what they’re doing is not glamorous or compelling or necessarily vital, the same is true for journalism. Most journalists do their jobs ethically and reasonably well – like scientists and teachers, one of their key problems is a lack of money. The ones still working can only do so much, and they are going to focus on local news and things like sports and entertainment.

    A real handful of newspapers and the AP do all the national news, which means more than 90% of journalists never do any national news at all. That’s leaving out the question of national controversial news. or national, controversial science news.

    Science impinges on the world journalists present when it has political implications, there’s a catastrophe or disaster, or something novel and interesting is developed.

    Even national reporters are not given very much time to do stories. If you can’t do something in a couple of days, it’s usually not considered worth doing. Any criticisms you have that would have involved the reporter or media outlet (print, radio, TV, internet, even) committing more paid time or money is a criticism that will be ignored.

    And frankly, considering how much market fundamentalism is out there on the internet, and how it DOMINATES the skeptic community, there has to be considerable completely hypocritical overlap with people excoriating “journalism” for “not doing its job” while praising the “free market” for how it allocates money to fields like journalism.

    People can’t work for free and live on air and function like perfect machines, however badly people that haven’t ever grown up want that to be the case.

  58. #58 MarkS
    August 4, 2010

    “The reason it’s absurd to discuss what happened to journalism, including science journalism, from the angle of the behavior of the most successful and well-known journalists,”

    For the normal people, I didn’t.

    Luminous Beauty may have done, but me? I’m talking about the rank-and-file.

    “It’s the TV version of journalism (or science). ”

    Then where IS the non-TV version? ‘cos I’m only seeing it on blogs where people make he effort.

    And for this, they get slammed with “they’re bringing down journalism”, which is a bit like telling kids playing in the Parthenon off for bringing down the house…

    “there has to be considerable completely hypocritical overlap with people excoriating “journalism” for “not doing its job” while praising the “free market””

    “Has to be”?

    Maybe, but I don’t see it. I don’t even see a causation to make that link.

    But there DOES seem to be a link between people who say “It’s not journalism’s fault!” and being a self-proclaimed journalist.

    And, in this specific case, you won’t find me lauding the free market.

    I hope you’re better at guessing angles in an interview than you’re doing here…

    “People can’t work for free and live on air and function like perfect machines”

    I don’t know where you’re getting all this hay from.

    Who is saying that?

    I’m not.

    But maybe this conversation is easier if you make up what I’m saying and then argue against that.

    People who don’t act to preserve the meaning of their job do NOT get to whinge about how they had no power and it’s not their fault and go around blaming others (especially those who are not, by the lights of the likes of you, a journalist, BUT take the time and effort to ACT like a proper journalist) for your part in your own downfall.

    You have to take responsibility for your (in)actions, no matter how much some infantile people who never left kindergarden wish they didn’t have to.

  59. #59 MarkS
    August 4, 2010

    “Mark, in all seriousness, I pretty much doubt your grip on sanity by this point,”

    Says the nutter who is reading words in her head and things like this:

    “We very much did @$#$ing NOT. We had no control.”

    Adults take responsibility for their actions.

    Children blame others.

  60. #60 Dave Andrews
    August 4, 2010

    luminous beauty,

    Didn’t Chomsky deny that the murderous Pol Pot regime was taking part in the ‘killing fields’ and that around 2 million Cambodians perished under this hideous regime?

    To him it was still ‘all the fault of the US’.How can you continue to have any faith in such a person?