Pharyngula

CNN screws the pooch

As part of an ongoing program of reducing their relevance and demolishing their credibility, CNN has just completely shut down their Science, Space and Technology unit. Who needs good science coverage, after all, since nothing important happens in that area…and as the US continues to dumb down its educational system, the number of interested viewers is probably dropping, too.

The media knows where the profits lie, and it’s not in that expensive journalism stuff — it’s in the cheap and popular domain of opinionated airheads shouting at each other. This is symptomatic of a deep intellectual rot in this country.

Comments

  1. #1 John C. Randolph
    December 4, 2008

    CNN had a science, space, and technology unit?

    -jcr

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 4, 2008

    Yeah CNN is just as useless as most of the other news networks. Miles O’Brien was at least interesting to listen too. He knows his stuff about the space program and is generally pretty enthusiastic about it.

    I wonder if Dr. Sanja Gupta is next. He’s mostly good.

  3. #3 Benny the Icepick
    December 4, 2008

    Let’s see, what “news” does Sensationalist CNN see fit to put on its front page?

    “Obama calls rep., she hangs up … twice!”
    Ah, yes, very relevant to the current political atmosphere

    “Home dazzles with 210,000 lights”
    Relevant to my interests? Not so much

    “The most annoying holiday song is …”
    Really? On CNN?

    “Freaky squid kin has elbows, long legs”
    Wait. Wait, squid? Well, maybe they can stay.

  4. #4 Kausik Datta
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think Dr. Sanjay Gupta would have to go… He is a doctor, talking about health issues, and those always sell! Sad about the Science unit, though…

    But then again, seriously, the day I get my science fix from the CNN, Fox and their ilk, would be the day I would leave my profession as a researcher and take up homeopathy!

  5. #5 Kelreth
    December 4, 2008

    Wow guess its just BBC now for anything remotely intelligent

  6. #6 spyderkl
    December 4, 2008

    CNN’s just barely been watchable for at least 2-3 years now, IMO. And now…that mere sliver of watchability (it is too a word, dammit) has gone away.

  7. #7 Alverant
    December 4, 2008

    I still see the Tech and Science sections on their website. I haven’t seen their cable station in ages so I can’t comment about that.

    It was probably a business decision. They’re neglecting their corporate responsibility to inform by focusing on more fluff pieces, even if it’s more popular.

  8. #8 Toddahhhh
    December 4, 2008

    Are there any sponsors willing to pay to send Paris Hilton to college to be a scientist? We’ll beat ‘em at their own game!

  9. #9 Deepsix
    December 4, 2008

    That’s why I refer to cable news networks as “News Entertainment”. Kinda like “Sports Entertainment”- otherwise know as the WWE (WWF).
    Reporting the news isn’t their priority- it’s creating entertainment and hype to increase viewership.

  10. #10 Sarah Trachtenberg
    December 4, 2008

    Are they replacing in with a pseudoscience unit?
    I’m reminded of when Seventeen magazine got rid of their Sex section and replaced it with more astrology. Yeah, that’s much more important.

    Not My God
    http://www.sarahtrachtenberg.com

  11. #11 Paul G. Brown
    December 4, 2008

    PZ!

    Relax. The prospects for the Republic are as bright as ever. I don’t see any evidence of the ‘dumbing down’ you decry, you old codger you. Damn kids! You should be mowing my lawn!

    The nation’s real internal dialogue was never on TV. The quality of thought, the level of debate is today so much better than what it was. We have the web now. And blogs like the ones here. You’re watching the slow, wasting death of an obsolete business model that depended on obsolete technology. Nothing more.

  12. #12 Chris Davis
    December 4, 2008

    I find this a frightening trend – one in full swing over here across the pond too.

    It enrages me when some of the most extraordinary, unprecedented science is being revealed every day, and the news is full of politics, babies, celebs and bloody sport. If yer lucky, there’ll be a ten-second ‘…and finally’ with a bowdlerised version of the facts.

    For many, this is all the science – or even reality – they get.

  13. #13 Carlie
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t know – I’d reserve judgment for the moment. They say that they’re integrating the science coverage in the general. Yes, this could mean science disappears, but it could also mean that science gets covered more as part of the mainstream rather than “and here’s the part for you science geeks, everyone can tune out now”.

  14. #14 Glen Davidson
    December 4, 2008

    On the plus side, they did get rid of Glenn Beck.

    Still, what are they aiming for? A stupid audience, just not one stupid enough to watch Beck?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  15. #15 Sigmund
    December 4, 2008

    At least Larry King is still there.

  16. #16 jsmizzle
    December 4, 2008

    Perhaps this is a sign that people are going more towards specialized outlets for science news (say, a snarky blog with lots on information on cephalopods) over the cumbersome News networks?

  17. #17 Robert
    December 4, 2008

    Mexico is looking better and better.

  18. #18 deadyeti
    December 4, 2008

    Makes me thankful that in the UK the BBC can’t do things like this. Maybe the License fee isn’t such a bad thing

  19. #19 amphiox
    December 4, 2008

    I’m inclined to agree with #11 and #16. CNN and its ilk are simply finding that they can’t compete in this arena, and are taking the coward’s way out.

  20. #20 Teh Merkin
    December 4, 2008

    The nation’s real internal dialogue was never on TV. The quality of thought, the level of debate is today so much better than what it was. We have the web now. And blogs like the ones here. You’re watching the slow, wasting death of an obsolete business model that depended on obsolete technology. Nothing more.

    That is an interesting take on it, one that I had not thought of. Thanks!

  21. #21 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    i agree with Paul @11.

  22. #22 hje
    December 4, 2008

    Re: CNN screws the pooch.

    No, it was when they hired Glenn Beck.

  23. #23 Celtic_Evolution
    December 4, 2008

    BOOOOOOO CNN!

    This hardly surprises me at this point, though, as they most recently took their most credible science reporter and turned him into freakin’ Geraldo with a week-long expose on UFOs…

    Welcome to the new CNN… now also known as “Star magazine TV”.

  24. #24 Nerd of Redhead
    December 4, 2008

    I’ve been getting my science and other news off the internet for quite a while. I haven’t watched a TV news show since election night.

  25. #25 Gregory Mayer
    December 4, 2008

    After seeing Miles O’Brien’s completely credulous, fawning interview of Bud Hopkins on alien abductions recently, this seems to me like a step in the right direction for CNN. Are they getting rid of O’Brien?

  26. #26 designsoda
    December 4, 2008

    I’m with jsmizzle and Nerd of Redhead. CNN probably could not compete with the vastly superior (and often free) sources of science and technology news on the internet.

  27. #27 deadyeti
    December 4, 2008

    The web is all well and good and is an amazing resource, if you no where to look and who to trust – but you only have to look at the creation vs evolution debate too know that there are a lot of sites out there which will force feed the masses lies dressed up as science

  28. #28 Feynmaniac
    December 4, 2008

    You people are such naysayers. Don’t you see that with the Science, Space and Technology unit gone they will now finally have the funds to double their “Follow Around Paris Hilton and Britney Spears” division?

  29. #29 Tim Fuller
    December 4, 2008

    Why am I such a standout contrarian even in a circle filled with them?

    Truly a day to rejoice! You ran the bastards out of the business!! The strong survive, the weak don’t. It’s the natural evolution of the news media.

    Enjoy.

  30. #30 CJ
    December 4, 2008

    Can I say, in all honesty, that I am not even close to surprised? Or heartbroken. The last time I read a science post on an MSM website, I started arguing with my computer because the author wasn’t there to beat over the head.

    Next thing we know, CNN will be sponsoring the removal of science and technology from public schools. Not just the classes. I mean the actual science and technology.

  31. #31 Tezcatlipoca
    December 4, 2008

    unfortunately they still have Lou Dobbs. Last night he was doing a bill-o impression and going on about “the war on Christmas” or something. Then put up a poll about the ACLU and their “agenda”

  32. #32 Jello
    December 4, 2008

    I havn’t watched TV news since 9/11. The insane amount of adnauseum coverage drove me away forever. #11 May be right, the internet may do to TV what TV did to radio.

  33. #33 charles
    December 4, 2008

    i did find it odd that they hit him up with a bunch of UFO investigations (and not the “good kind”) these last few weeks. that’s always a sign of certain demise.

  34. #34 NonyNony
    December 4, 2008

    Reading the article left me feeling dirty. Mostly because of this:

    the unit is being shuttered as the network integrates science, environment and technology reporting into the general editorial structure. “Now that the bulk of our environmental coverage is offered through the Planet in Peril franchise, which is part of the AC360 program, there is no need for a separate unit,” Robinson says.

    Emphasis mine. “Franchise”. That’s how they think of their news coverage – as a franchise targeted at specific demographic chunks. They’re not even hiding the fact that they’re not trying to be informative anymore – they’re flaunting it.

    But actually, the science reporting on CNN has been pretty terrible. I’ve sometimes wondered what it was like on CNNi (which I don’t get). I’ve heard from foreign grad students that CNN International is a great news channel and they’re boggled at how terrible the channel that calls itself CNN in the US is. I assume it’s because the production centers for CNNi aren’t located in Atlanta with the rest of the mediocre CNN behemoth.

  35. #35 strangest brew
    December 4, 2008

    “CNN has just completely shut down their Science, Space and Technology unit”

    How can ya tell? ;-)

  36. #36 Chris Bradley
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think that the CNN closing down it’s science desk is a sign of intellectual rot in the country but at CNN. And it isn’t that the people don’t want good news. We do. But it’s like those reality TV shows. Reality TV shows don’t get as good of ratings as more traditional TV shows that are acted and directed – BUT they cost a tiny fraction of what a real show costs. So while they generate less revenue they cost *so much less* that they’re still a good deal for the *network*.

    Real news is expensive and it gets readers, viewers, etc., and while less newsworthy news gets fewer readers and viewers it also costs much, much less to produce, enough to make up the differential in loss of viewers.

    Which is what happens when you run news as a business – they’re not concerned with the public trust of accurately and concisely reporting intelligent news that citizens need to be good citizens. There used to be some of that, but the consolidation of news services in with “media” companies has generally caused them to be run very strictly with an eye to the bottom line to the grave detriment to the news – not just the science news but the news in all areas. But I don’t think it’s a result of the intellectual rot in America, but a sign of the corruption caused by everything being for sale on the marketplace. Good news often costs more than it’ll ever make – if you measure it just in dollars. But we shouldn’t confuse that with the people not WANTING good news, I think.

  37. #37 Richard Harris
    December 4, 2008

    …You’re watching the slow, wasting death of an obsolete business model that depended on obsolete technology. Nothing more.

    But isn’t it still indoctrinating (the) hoi polloi?

  38. #38 pixelfish
    December 4, 2008

    I use CNN less and less to get my news. Sometimes I rethink my decision to get my news only from the internet, because one thing hardcopy newspapers seemed to have going for them, was their news placement. They had things clearly divided up into news (local, national, international) in the front section with the most important stories (on whichever scale was making the most impact currently) on the front page. You had human interest stories in a section somewhere in the middle, usually close to the lifestyle stories. CNN’s website only makes the most cursory stab at this, and sometimes bypasses huge national stories in favour of the weird, inane, and completely useless. On the day that thousands and thousands of gay people and their allies protested Prop 8, you had to go looking for the story by scrolling down to the US news sections. Granted, the California wildfires story was very big that day too, but there were a fair number of stories that were there only for their shock-value or their pop-culture buzz.

    CNN hasn’t really lived up to the promise of news on the internet either. One of the things I thought would be great about reading the news online is that you could get MORE, not being limited to inches of type on a page. But CNN will annoyingly waste headline linkage on a teaser paragraph or two. Their habit of not providing transcripts or summary articles for things they cover only in video is irksome.

    All in all, I find it hard to find USEFUL news on CNN, but since they are a world name in news and many people associate them with that, it would be nice if they would actually treat their journalistic forays as journalism instead of franchise opportunities.

  39. #39 SEF
    December 4, 2008

    guess its just BBC now for anything remotely intelligent

    Only very remotely.

  40. #40 dean
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think I ever saw any real attempt by CNN (or any of the outlets) to advertise the presence of a science division – perhaps they think it makes them “too elitist?”

    Minor note to RH (although your parenthetical ‘the’ seems to imply you know):
    “the” is not needed with “hoi polloi” (even though many dictionaries state “commonly preceded by ‘the’”)

  41. #41 Jello
    December 4, 2008

    @Chris Bradley

    Amen to you sir. It is precisely this idea that explains why NPR and other public news sources tower over commercial news in the quality department. They do not answer to profit hungry boards and investors so they can direct funds toward real news and in depth coverage. Additionally, it is this quality that gains them the contribution they need to run. There business model relies on selling quality news and information, not entertainment so they have to perform or people will stop donating.

  42. #42 Boomer
    December 4, 2008

    This is the last straw. I’m turning to MSNBC now for my mainstream US news coverage. I noticed that in recent months CNN’s science coverage was slipping. It’s a shame they let go of Miles O’Brien as a consequence, but I’m confident he’ll move on to bigger and better things.

  43. #43 Ronald
    December 4, 2008

    PZ Myers thank you for bringing this subject under my attention. So Miles O’Brien can forget about his job there I asume and all the other pretty informed science focused people at CNN. Really sad and maybe it’s because most powerful people are generally not interested in the Laws of Nature…they prefer to invent Laws for the People…because they know…they say.
    Again the President elect is not a science guy, but his background is law. All those years on earth that there Lawyers around, did this fact helped humanity a lot?

  44. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 4, 2008

    All those years on earth that there Lawyers around, did this fact helped humanity a lot?

    I love the anti-lawyer people. They rank up there with the Libertari….

    Oh shit. I almost said it.

  45. #45 watercat
    December 4, 2008

    CNN–that’s some TV show, right?

  46. #46 CaptainKendrick
    December 4, 2008

    No need to despair…for we will always have the HISTORY CHANNEL for fine educational programming….

    snicker. snicker.

  47. #47 oldtree
    December 4, 2008

    Not sure if it is rot or compost by now? That may be kind as well, perhaps, dust?
    Look at what CNN talks about in general. Count the advertising minutes compared to any actual news. You don’t get a good feeling when your news is 80% useless drivel. And this is on a day when they are just running a feed of what is happening.
    On a normal day, is there 2% news on any of these networks? The history channel is a good example too. One hour show about science, what, 9 or 10 minutes of new information repeated ad naseum? Children lose their train of thought soon enough to put TV learning in question. How about us oldsters?

  48. #48 Mike P
    December 4, 2008

    Frankly, CNN wasn’t doing a good job reporting science. It wasn’t willing to invest in good science reporters and wasn’t willing to spend TV hours devoted to science because they’re often less profitable. And many of you have rightly pointed out that the science-interested folks have largely turned to specialty publications, like blogs and science news websites, for their science info. All that’s fine.

    I think the shame is that people who aren’t specifically interested in science will now see even less of it. We bemoan the lack of science literacy in the country, and I think a large part of that is that unless we actively seek out science, we don’t see it.

    People in the journalism business often refer to the golden age of journalism, when editors and producers (purportedly) took seriously the mantle of gatekeeper, telling people the things they needed to know to make informed decisions in the world. I’m less inclined to think that that was a golden age and more just an accidental happy circumstance, but now that news is little more than glorified entertainment, the gatekeeper role has disappeared. If people* aren’t interested in science, the news stations aren’t going to show science, and that is a horrible, horrible shame. I’m glad the Internet is slowly strangling traditional media, and with it its hideous profit-driven model. But I do wish there was some way to retain the gatekeeper, even if it’s no longer the role of the media. Teachers, maybe.

    *the masses

  49. #49 Sam Iam
    December 4, 2008

    Thank’s for heads up. Just deleted them from my bookmarks.

  50. #50 frog
    December 4, 2008

    Paul Brown: The nation’s real internal dialogue was never on TV. The quality of thought, the level of debate is today so much better than what it was. We have the web now. And blogs like the ones here. You’re watching the slow, wasting death of an obsolete business model that depended on obsolete technology. Nothing more.

    Wow — how disconnected. Yeah, the blogs etc fulfill a function for a specialized group. But the “bottom line” has always been the mass-media. Like the public schools, they never dug too deep — but they guaranteed a minimum exposure for everyone.

    The top is as smart, or smarter, than it ever was. But the hoi-polloi are being reduced to serfs. The elite universities have amazing training, while the lower tiers are less and less impressive, all the way through Ph.D. programs that produced techs. The top high-school students come out with years of college under their belt, while the rest rot in ignorance and buy a degree from The University of Phoenix.

    You’re watching the US become a third-world country, nothing less. The top 5% are the cream of the crop; the rest wallow in ignorance. Just like in any third-world country, where the elite are Harvard and Michigan educated (even Haiti’s Baby Doc!), while the masses are ignorant and have no choice but to be servile.

    Paul in short: “Let them eat cake!”

  51. #51 Jello
    December 4, 2008

    Yeah, the History channel has been sliding down hill for a long time. Every once in a while they produce a new program but half the time its just a rehash of old info amd the other half its some retched crap about Armageddon or Nostradomus or aliens. The rest of the time its just WWII over and over again.

  52. #52 Tom Woolf
    December 4, 2008

    Keep in mind that this is the same network that give Nancy Grace and hour or two each night to ask “Where’s Caylee”? EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FOR WEEKS (months?) ON END.

  53. #53 Darth Wader
    December 4, 2008

    No need to despair…for we will always have the HISTORY CHANNEL for fine educational programming….

    snicker. snicker.

    Tonight at 5pm UFO files, followed by UFO hunters, then MonsterQuest and then our weekly Nostradamus special.

    I wrote the History Chanel to complain. They sent me a form letter politely telling me where I could shove it.

  54. #54 chiral
    December 4, 2008

    I haven’t taken CNN seriously since I was a child.

    Honestly though, is there any place where you can go in the mass media that has any decent science writing? I don’t tend to even bother because it’s so shallow and often misrepresents what science it’s trying to review. I’m not convinced that CNN ever had any decent science reporting, so I’m not sure anything is being lost. However, I do think that the proper thing would have been to improve the science not cut it out. America is definitely declining, not because of outside influences, but because we’ve let ourselves be screwed over by anti-intellectuals.

  55. #55 DGKnipfer
    December 4, 2008

    Maybe we should all write the History Chanel. Lets get NatGO on the hit list as well as Discovery Chanel while we’re at it. They’re all on the slide lately.

  56. #56 Sam
    December 4, 2008

    #11, I think that’s a fair assessment for those of us who have been fortunate enough to value critical thought.

    When television, radio, or newspapers ran thoughtful, accurate, and concise news items, everyone listened, and everyone benefited from it.

    Now that these mass medias blast ignorance, while we can turn to the internet for thoughtful discussion, most of the people in the United States will certainly not take the effort to find it. Because we live in a democracy this will, unfortunately, erode our own standards of living along with everyone else.

  57. #57 Marc Abian
    December 4, 2008

    Slightly tangental but I find a lot of news suffers from a severe lack of investigation. It’s a repeat of the story the other paper had with different paragraphs.
    I asssume most people here already see the repeated fallacies and mistakes in science reporting in the mainstream media. Another one I’m well familiar with is the lie that Scientology is the fastest gorwing religion, when census figures suggest it actually has roughly 1/20th of the followers it claims to have.

  58. #58 Conor H.
    December 4, 2008

    On a tenuously related note, I was reading about Lysenkoism on Wikipedia the other day and I told my dad that I could see something like that happening in this country in the near future; a load of crackpot pseudoscience taking over for legitimate science. No one else seems to care though.

  59. #59 James
    December 4, 2008

    @15 http://www.theonion.com/content/video/nasa_simulator_prepares

    At least SOMEONE still covers science. ;)

    James

  60. #60 Badjuggler
    December 4, 2008

    CNN was relevant in the 20th Century.

  61. #61 Sarah Trachtenberg
    December 4, 2008

    Is CNN replacing it with a pseudoscience unit?
    I’m reminded of when Seventeen magazine got rid of their Sex section and replaced it with more astrology. Yeah, that’s much more important.

    Not My God
    http://www.sarahtrachtenberg.com

  62. #62 amphiox
    December 4, 2008

    #58:

    If the consequences are anything like what happened with Lysenkoism in the USSR, they will care. Eventually. Of course it will be too late then.

  63. #63 Orac
    December 4, 2008

    I wonder if Dr. Sanja Gupta is next. He’s mostly good.

    Nahhh. People are always interested in health and medicine because it affects every one of us. Unfortunately, these days the only medical stories people seem interested in are the fearmongering stories that hype up a health threat, feel-good stories about a person overcoming a horrible disease, or stories about alternative medicine. Health divisions at news stations are unlikely to disappear, but instead they’ll be dumbed down like the rest of the news.

  64. #64 Tony Lloyd
    December 4, 2008

    Not just the BBC, Kelreth. This:

    http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/C/catastrophe/index.html

    is great. Tony Robinson (aka Baldrick in Blackadder) narrating a documentary on catastrophic events. The first program featured a CGI reconstruction of the moon’s formation from Theia smashing into the earth. Very cool. Next up that mass extinction of bacteria and then “snowball earth”. Loads of CGI, loads of facts and all showing how pseudo-science is just so boring and tame in comparison to the real thing.

    I hope you guys in the states get a chance to see it.

  65. #65 ndt
    December 4, 2008

    …and nothing of value was lost.

  66. #66 Tony Lloyd
    December 4, 2008

    Not just the BBC, Kelreth. This:

    http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/C/catastrophe/index.html

    is great. Tony Robinson (aka Baldrick in Blackadder) narrating a documentary on catastrophic events. The first program featured a CGI reconstruction of the moon’s formation from Theia smashing into the earth. Very cool. Next up that mass extinction of bacteria and then “snowball earth”. Loads of CGI, loads of facts and all showing how pseudo-science is just so boring and tame in comparison to the real thing.

    I hope you guys in the states get a chance to see it.

  67. #67 Kevpod
    December 4, 2008

    What the heck do we need science education for, since Earth is only 6,000 years old?!?

  68. #68 moother
    December 4, 2008

    why am i not surprised to be reading this shit?

  69. #69 rufustfirefly
    December 4, 2008

    Nah, we don’t don’t science education or science news coverage because Jesus will be coming back soon.

  70. #70 Lee Picton
    December 4, 2008

    Every Sunday morning, I get a digest of science news in my email, and I linger over it for most of the morning. Everything from fossils to DNA or the latest studies in epidemiology or, well just about anything you can think of. It’s free, too. This sort of thing would never be in the daily papers, because most of the articles require something called an attention span. Cerainly I get far more hard news over the internet than on the TV. I actually remember when CNN was THE place to go for news. Not any more. But there’s some decent stuff on MSNBC; I am particularly taken these days by Rachel Maddow, the best instant synthesizer since Christianne Amanpour.

  71. #71 Travis
    December 4, 2008

    Tony Lloyd: Thanks for the heads up. I really am looking forward to that. I enjoyed his series The Worst Jobs In History. However I did not know he had worked on other series like Time Team and his current Crime and Punishment series. I’ll have to look into both of those. thanks for mentioning him, I would not have looked him up and found out about those other series without you.

  72. #72 Jonathon
    December 4, 2008

    What makes this worse is the fact that CNN is going to launch a wire service to compete with AP. I heard a story on NPR yesterday talking about several newspapers that were going to switch to CNN because AP is much more expensive.

    So, less science reporting. Wow. And here we live in the 21st Century. And we have to compete with other nations who take science and math education very seriously. Just. Damn.

  73. #73 Die Anyway
    December 4, 2008

    Rev. BDC, I usually enjoy your commentary but in re: “I love the anti-lawyer people. They rank up there with the Libertari….”

    You know I get a lot of crap for being an atheist, an iconoclast and a general contrarian. It’s really annoying to come to a blog that I otherwise enjoy and get trashed here too. I can take a good joke and light-hearted humor but the anti-libertarian bigotry shown by a few of the pharyngulitic hord is … well… bigotry of the Bill O’ variety. Rather unbecoming if I do say so myself.

  74. #74 Feynmaniac
    December 4, 2008

    While we’re trashing tv channels, what’s the deal with TLC? TLC officially stands for The Learning Channel, but I don’t see how anyone can be learning anything from it.

    My brother and I were having debating about this once. To demonstrate my point I turned on the TV and switched it there. We saw midgets playing soccer. The conversation was over after that.

    The most entertaining thing though I ever saw on TLC was some dude lighting a piano on fire and then launching it from a catapault.

    Now, I’m not saying TV shouldn’t be showing midgets playing soccer or flying pianos on fire. I’m just saying don’t do it under the name of The Learning Channel.

  75. #75 Lurkbot
    December 4, 2008

    It doesn’t matter.

    Occasionally every news outlet–newspapers, magazines, TV channels–will brag about the number of “science” stories they run, If you do the math, it’s a pitifully small percentage, but it’s worse than that–if you check them out, 99% aren’t about science at all, but medicine. They don’t know the difference, the public doesn’t know the difference, and CNN is just like the rest of them.

    If by some insane chance I do happen to see a TV news story about some real scientific matter, I’m pulling my hair out by the roots over the sheer imbecility of it; and I’m only an interested amateur. I don’t know how some of you real scientists keep from having an aneurysm!

  76. #76 rickflick
    December 4, 2008

    What’s CNN going to do when we revisit the moon? Well, they could let the sports department handle it.

  77. #77 Travis
    December 4, 2008

    TLC is one of my beefs as well. I remember it used to occasionally have some interesting programs on it but that was a very long time ago. I first encountered the work of James Burke on there when they played the wonderful The Day The Universe Changed, and all of the Connections series. But I cannot see them doing that now. All I ever see if I do flip past the channel are shows about weddings, big families, and other fluffy shows. Certainly not learning. Perhaps it should be rebranded.

  78. #78 Lurkbot
    December 4, 2008

    What’s CNN going to do when we revisit the moon? Well, they could let the sports department handle it.

    That’s CCTV’s job, anyway. The Chinese are going to beat us there; assuming we don’t give up entirely, which we will.

  79. #79 Randomfactor
    December 4, 2008

    Betcha CNN still has a fully-staffed “religion” bureau…

  80. #80 Tim Fuller
    December 4, 2008

    BREAKING STORY….(honest to…GOD!!)

    Christmas Elves vrs. Angry Parents!!

    Get Your Christmas War ON! Details:

    http://thetimchannel.com/?p=284

    Enjoy.

  81. #81 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    Reporting on Sciences should be about engaging people to think and developing critical reasoning.

    TV News reporting is essentially about manufacturing consent.

    Major mismatch.

  82. #82 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    We all know that “education programming” is quickly hurrying to the point where they would be on equal footing with Dora the Explorer and “baby einstiens”; it seems like we are trying to quicly get the populous to that 5th grade level of reading then stop them from going any further (“the hurry-up-and-lose” approach to critical thinking/reading &education). I hate to say “conspiracy”, but our whole system seems to be based on as many people as possible being as stupid as can be functionally allowed.

    That being said- what about the Science Channel?

  83. #83 frog
    December 4, 2008

    DieAnyway: I can take a good joke and light-hearted humor but the anti-libertarian bigotry shown by a few of the pharyngulitic hord is … well… bigotry of the Bill O’ variety. Rather unbecoming if I do say so myself.

    Really? Thinking an ideology is ignorant, stupid, and dangerous is “bigotry”? I guess you’re not “bigoted” against Stalinism or Maoism? This is the same kind of whining you get from Christians — “It’s prejudice”.

    No, it’s not prejudice. It’s plain old judgment, right or wrong. It’s not bias or bigotry — it’s a serious disagreement about how the world works.

    Whining is much more unbecoming.

  84. #84 John C. Randolph
    December 4, 2008

    I get science news almost entirely from the web, and two of my favorite sources are:

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php

    and

    http://www.technologyreview.com/

    -jcr

  85. #85 mayhempix
    December 4, 2008

    Oh come on people!

    Science is just an opinion and no one opinion is better than anyone else’s.
    Unless it’s a relgious opinion of course… those are worth killing over.

  86. #86 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    Posted by: Lurkbot | December 4, 2008 4:55 PM

    “What’s CNN going to do when we revisit the moon? Well, they could let the sports department handle it.
    –That’s CCTV’s job, anyway. The Chinese are going to beat us there; assuming we don’t give up entirely, which we will.”

    If that’s the case, we can kiss our economic asses goodbye:
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/helium3_000630.html

    Thankfully this also leads back to this post!
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/11/lets_see_nasa_change.php

  87. #87 Mike P
    December 4, 2008

    @JCR #85,

    Eurekalert is great for finding out about new stuff, but from an information perspective… well, I just prefer not to get most of my news from press releases.

  88. #88 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    Not all libertarians are stupid: Bill Maher, confessed libertarian. Though essentially i think it is the “Liberty” part of liberrtarian he cares about. He Always rails against big business and frequently employs us to look at Europe as a model of comparison. I don’t see him as a person who advocates the “free invisible hand of the market.” He hated that kind of crap coming from McCain! (Wow, it took me a long time to even remember his name- the signal it’s time to move on, eh?)

  89. #89 Ouchimoo
    December 4, 2008

    Hm. I always viewed CNN as a slightly less worse version of Fox. But don’t worry CNN, you’re almost there!

    RUN CNN, RUN!!

    In true Gump style.

  90. #90 Brownian, OM
    December 4, 2008

    I can take a good joke and light-hearted humor but the anti-libertarian bigotry shown by a few of the pharyngulitic hord is … well… bigotry of the Bill O’ variety.

    Libertarians could always stop being wrong.

  91. #91 Lago
    December 4, 2008

    “Freaky squid kin has elbows, long legs”
    Wait. Wait, squid? Well, maybe they can stay.”

    Actually, they called it, “a relative of the squid.” Think about that for a moment…

    They also called the lateral fins on the squid, “Its ears.” No, they didn’t say those things that look like ears, but actually referred to them as its ears..

  92. #92 MH
    December 4, 2008

    But how can the BBC be better than the CNN? The later is an application of the free market, and the former is socialist!!!

  93. #93 mayhempix
    December 4, 2008

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM | December 4, 2008 3:09 PM
    “I love the anti-lawyer people. They rank up there with the Libertari….
    Oh shit. I almost said it.”

    I could not agree more. And you didn’t even have to finish saying it and up they popped.

  94. #94 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    frog,

    I wish to add that I don’t think it’s possble to be a libertarian and not believe in an interventionist God.

    I challenge any libertaran to explain how we solve the imminent and most important problems of the 21 st century, glowal warming and peak “whatever resource we’ve consumed so far” without Government interventionism and stricter regulations from international to national.

    The only way a libertarian gets out of this is to either deny the problem or invoke the invsible hand that will take care of it.

    And how would the invisble hand take care of it then ? Why would pursuing all our self-interest end up being beneficial for the community as a whole ? And even more difficult, for the community of our descendants as a whole ?

    Which is exactly what a creationist does : deny the science, or assume that anyway we should trust God and if we fuck up, he will always send his son last minute to show us how to transform a fish into millions and save the planet.

    So those who claim to be libertarians and atheists, I’d be very interested to hear how that is supposed to work without an interventionist God who looks after us ?

    Never heard one convincing answer.

    Never.

  95. #95 mayhempix
    December 4, 2008

    Posted by: RickrOll | December 4, 2008 5:32 PM
    “Not all libertarians are stupid: Bill Maher, confessed libertarian.”

    Maher means that when comes to social issues ie drugs, sex, etc. the government should stay out of it. He’s a social libertarian with a small “l”. He’s not an economic Libertarian with a big “L”.

  96. #96 MH
    December 4, 2008

    {sigh} negentropyeater, you’ve got to have faith… in the great god of the Free Market (bless His soul). He will solve all our problems. If He doesn’t, then it’s because we don’t have enough faith in Him, or it’s because of all those socialists with their bad mojo, or it is ‘His will’. As long as His worshipers have plety of cash, what’s the problem?

  97. #97 Jeff
    December 4, 2008

    If Deepak Chopra is their idea of a scientist, I say good riddance.

  98. #98 kamaka
    December 4, 2008

    “Seed media epitomizes this sort of profit driven pandering to deeply intellectually rotted Americans by publishing opinionated airheads….like you.”

    This is a BLOG, not a news channel…opining allowed, twit.

    The value of NPR over the net, is NPR tells me about things I would have never thought to look up. The near zero advertising is nice, too. The membership drives get tedious, though

  99. #99 Bachalon
    December 4, 2008

    Prof. Myers, I doubt you’ll see this, but I’d love for you to post a list of the sites you visit daily along with a call for the rest of the regulars to contribute. I visit a few myself, but I’m always looking for more.

    I think that would be a good electronic counterpart to your book list.

  100. #100 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    aha, i said that!
    Though essentially i think it is the “Liberty” part of l[small l]iberrtarian he cares about. Even in your quote it says Maher is a l[sm]ibertarian. But it’s good to llok at the silver lining once in a while, just for the sheer spite of it.
    Oy Christos, my typing is atrocious. Reverend, forgive me for my sins against me and this thread.

  101. #101 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    “I think that would be a good electronic counterpart to your book list.”

    Seconded

  102. #102 KRiS
    December 4, 2008

    Look, TLC started out as an educational channel which was meant to be taken literally, and that’s what they still are. All those shows that don’t appear to be educational are just taken out of context and twisted by you people who don’t truly understand TLC and so want to tear it down. Do your homework…actually watch TLC and then you can have an opinion about it. Until then there is no evidence that you can present that will convince me that TLC is anything but educational. And if you disagree with me, that just proves to me that you haven’t actually watched it, so your opinion still doesn’t count.

  103. #103 gypsytag
    December 4, 2008

    For years now a good portion of news was just infomercials.
    When i read stories I always ask, how much did they get paid to do this story? Its like the movies, how much did Marlboro pay to have that character smoke?
    Its not surprizing that CNN would go to an infomercial format more and more. That’s where they make their money. Its not about the news anymore, if it ever was.

  104. #104 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    The thing is it could maybe make sense to be a Libertarian in the 19th century, it could barely make sense to be a Libertarian in the 20th century when we weren’t really conscient about global warming and resource depletion, but in the 21st century it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever anymore.

    It’s a bit like with other religions, it’s passed its expiry date.

    Not only did economic externalities increase over time with technological progress, but we got more to understand their effects.

  105. #105 MH
    December 4, 2008

    Bachalon #100,

    Click on the Blogroll tab at the top of the page.

  106. #106 John C. Randolph
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think it’s possble to be a libertarian and not believe in an interventionist God.

    Speaking as a counterexample to your assertion, I reject your package-dealing.

    As it happens, most of the Libertarians I know are atheists, myself included.

    -jcr

  107. #107 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    jcr,

    I know that. That’s why I wrote that post, and I’d be very interested to hear your answer to the question I asked.

    I phrased it in a provocatve manner, and let’s see if you can prove me wrong.

  108. #108 Kel
    December 4, 2008

    Aside from Walton on here, most libertarians I’ve encountered have been atheist. Though that could simply be a matter of sample bias, it’s like living in a rich neighbourhood and concluding that there are no poor people.

  109. #109 Lurkbot
    December 4, 2008

    The Libertarian “brand” is even more fractured than the GOP’s.

    A lot of them are 19th century “Liberals” i.e. unregenerate Raygunauts and Thatcherites who grimace and accept the social libertarianism they hate in order to get the laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog, let-’em-eat-cake, robber-baron-capitalist economic “theory” they embrace on the ticket.

    Others are religious nutjobs who embrace libertarian personal freedom in order to be allowed to practice their own staggeringly antilibertarian lifestyles, e.g. beating their kids to death to drive the devils out.

    Finally, there are the “Mad Max” libertarians who reject organized society and imagine in their fever dreams that they will have the biggest penises guns in the compound.

    A pox on them all, I say! We’re trying to have a society here. If you want to live in a hollow tree and eat bark, go to it, but common effort is what built civilization, and you’re trying to destroy it.

  110. #110 'Tis Himself
    December 4, 2008

    MSM never has done a good job with science. Most science reporting is superficial and often gets the facts and even the basic science wrong. CNN is finally admitting this and rather than do a job poorly, isn’t doing it at all.

  111. #111 Neil deGrasse Tyson
    December 4, 2008

    At least we still have PBS.

    Let’s be honest here. CNN and others are a business. They are out to make money. They make money on their reputation as journalists, not on which topics they cover. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. It’s just unfortunate.

    However, we do have public broadcasting that is a not-for-profit company. They are on our side (for the most part). Personally, I find that the McNeil/Lehrer news program knocks the socks of all the big guys. Do yourself and all of us a favor and send in money to your local PBS station during their pledge drives. When you give money you also get to vote for your favorite shows. The local broadcasts are based on what people are pledging money for. Send in a pledge and make sure they know that you want more science reporting and science programs.

  112. #112 WRMartin
    December 4, 2008

    Isn’t Somalia supposed to be a Libertarian ideal?

    If so, they appear to be having a wonderful time with it. ;)

  113. #113 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    Kel,

    I know that many Libertarians claim to be atheists. But are they really ?

    But what is a God if not something that doesn’t exist, for which there’s no evidence, and that the more people believe in, the more will be saved ?

    It seems to me that Libertarians who claim to be atheists have simply replaced a skydaddy in the sky with an invsible hand, but they do essentally the same things, apart from creating the universe.

  114. #114 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 4, 2008

    I wish that really was Neil. I have a nerd man crush on him.

  115. #115 'Tis Himself
    December 4, 2008

    Aside from Walton on here, most libertarians I’ve encountered have been atheist.

    Most libertarians I’ve met have been evangelical Christians. A few are atheists but they are a minority.

    The first libertarian I had any real contact with was BL Muller at the old NPR Your Turn website. Muller was a real crank who would rather you think he was a liar than he was possibly wrong in the slightest detail*. I’ve met other libertarians who claim, with a straight face, that they should be allowed to discriminate just because they don’t like a person or a group. As a group, I’ve discovered that the vast majority of libertarians are economic illiterates** who know nothing about history.

    There may be a few intelligent, knowledgeable libertarians, but they’re extremely rare.

    *Muller once said, in passing, that NATO Headquarters was in Oslo. When it was pointed out that it’s actually in Brussels, he refused to admit to his error. He said that everyone else, including NATO, was wrong and he was right. He was best known at the NPR website for the “Marines in Stalingrad” fiasco. He claimed that U.S. Marines parachuted into the Battle of Stalingrad, thereby saving the Soviets from defeat. He called the Assistant Director of the Marine Corps Historical Division a liar when the AD said that not only no Marines fought on the Eastern Front, but no Western Allied units fought there either.

    **There’s a libertarian at this website who believes he understands economic policy because he read a 50 year old book by a fringe economist. This libertarian is one of the two people I have killfiled here.

  116. #116 Owlmirror
    December 4, 2008

    But what is a God if not something that doesn’t exist, for which there’s no evidence, and that the more people believe in, the more will be saved ?

    It seems to me that Libertarians who claim to be atheists have simply replaced a skydaddy in the sky with an invsible hand, but they do essentally the same things, apart from creating the universe.

    Ah, a Deistic god who benevolently maintains, but does not interfere. Or something like that.

    I wish that really was Neil.

    I don’t think there’s anything that would prevent an astrophysicist from reading, and commenting on, a biology weblog…

  117. #117 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    Lurkbot @110: So…which one is Maher? I guess it’s one of those “none of the above” things.

    Too bad we’re arguing libertarian idealism again, when we ought to be dealing with the economy. Can’t we ignore these guys, at least until there is a lull in the conversation or something? There is No point in letting these deluded “not-god” worshippers control the discussion.

    China is a much bigger problem, and since they are going to become a supergiant economy (if they already aren’t) then we ought to worry about what will happen to our place in science as well. Are we relagated to just a long string of college campus towns across the continent?

  118. #118 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think there’s anything that would prevent an astrophysicist from reading, and commenting on, a biology weblog…

    true

    Neil. Is that you?

  119. #119 Emmet Caulfield
    December 4, 2008

    I don’t think there’s anything that would prevent an astrophysicist from reading, and commenting on, a biology weblog…

    Yeah, but what are the odds?

    That said, the real Richard Dawkins does comment here occasionally.

  120. #120 Kel
    December 4, 2008

    To me it seems in general that libertarians have replaced God with The Free Market. Though much the same way as communists replaced God with The State. They are still atheists though, there’s no supernatural intervention.

  121. #121 Lee Picton
    December 4, 2008

    Wow! Is that THE Neil De Grasse Tyson? I see you frequently on PBS. You rock!

  122. #122 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    “That said, the real Richard Dawkins does comment here occasionally.”

    Well the fake one is made up, isn’t he? ;)
    Any posts where this glorious noodly occurance…well..occured?

  123. #123 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    Kel,

    Libertarians believe that “Free Markets” always work, that Government intervention and regulation is never needed. How is that supposed to work for example in the case of environemental issues (AGW, resource depletion) without supernatural intervention ?

    They claim that it doesn’t require a supernatural intervention, but then, they must have an explanation of how it’s spposed to work.

    Otherwise, a phenomena you believe exists, for which you have no evidence, and no explanation, that’s pretty much “supernatural”, isn’t it ?

  124. #124 frog
    December 4, 2008

    ne: The only way a libertarian gets out of this is to either deny the problem or invoke the invsible hand that will take care of it.

    The ones I’ve known go further. They take that Austrian analysis that quantitative economics is bullocks, then claim that the only way to decide how to structure economics is via philosophical introspection. They don’t understand that:

    a) even if mainstream economics is BS (I agree), that doesn’t make it impossible to develop a quantitative economics (unless you worship a 1930′s economist whose mathematical education stopped somewhere around 1820)

    b) philosophy is at best a starting point to define the ground of empirical exploration. It produces no information in and of itself. If that’s all that economics could ever be, it’s a non-field that should be abandoned, or made a specialization of the Arts (as in, just pretty to look at).

    So, the most self-aware and intellectually competent Libertarians basically claim to be theologians, with all the value of that field. You don’t need a Sky-Daddy to really FAIL in a theological sense — the error is deeper than a particular fiction (any will do, its a product of the method).

    I’ve also noticed that those folks are usually extremely tolerant of theocrats, while having an insane intolerance of anyone who is even center-right. Ye shall know them by the company they keep…

  125. #125 Toddahhhh
    December 4, 2008

    That is probably one of the best things about being a skeptic, all the folks I look up to, are totally accessible and present. I love seeing posts from heroes of mine on the boards, and it seems to happen quite frequently. Ivory tower, my ass. :)

  126. #126 Matt A
    December 4, 2008

    As someone who lives in a completely different country, where a monocle-wearing xylophone player with a lisp hosts a long-running astronomy programme, and a pink-and-yellow-lycra-clad cyclist with a wild enthusiasm for nearly everything hosted live coverage of Cassini-Huygens, and Richard Dawkins appeared on Doctor Who – you let Cheif O’Brien host a science segment? I mean, he’s a lovable fellow, certainly, but isn’t he Engineering (gold uniform) rather than Sciences (blue)?

    Not bragging; seriously. You have Bill Nye The Science Guy and Mythbusters, which in two fell strokes cause me to remember in shame that our nation has also produced “Britain’s Psychic Challenge” and “The Baby Mind Reader”. I retire from the field in ignominy.

  127. #127 Emmet Caulfield
    December 4, 2008

    Any posts where this glorious noodly occurance…well..occured?

    See: http://tinyurl.com/5abesj

    Most of them are genuinely Richard Dawkins. He has a distinctive writing style.

  128. #128 frog
    December 4, 2008

    Kel: They are still atheists though, there’s no supernatural intervention.

    The Libertarian Free Market (as opposed to the real, actual one) is supernatural like the Working Class is for some Communists. It obeys no natural laws, it creates natural laws. It’s beyond scientific study — it defines what is correct in science. It’s not an object of observation, but the subject itself — it defines the world view as an a priori construct. No evidence can deny it — because all evidence must be analyzed in light of it and through it.

    That’s a supernatural construct — it’s a miracle that creates the world, like the Elohim speaking the world into existence.

    I have had Ls actually call climate science “Socialist science” (at least they didn’t call it Jewish science). That’s faith!

    It’s like the Foucault v Chomsky debates, where Foucault claims that you can’t judge “the revolution of the proletariat”, it’s goals or it’s methods because it transforms the meanings of ethics. And Chomsky basically say “fuck you, I’ll judge what the hell I want — I reserve my right to reason in light of observations”. The former is a supernaturalist, the latter a scientist.

  129. #129 Kel
    December 4, 2008

    Libertarians believe that “Free Markets” always work, that Government intervention and regulation is never needed. How is that supposed to work for example in the case of environemental issues (AGW, resource depletion) without supernatural intervention ?

    It doesn’t require supernatural intervention to believe in it, if you run out of a resource, it means that a new technology will take it’s place. Personally I find this view naive and not representative of the way technology comes onto the market and resource depletion is a huge concern.

    I also find it funny that there is a correlation between who is libertarian and AGW denial.

  130. #130 bernard quatermass
    December 4, 2008

    The last time I looked at CNN was election night, and then not by choice. I’d gone to do laundry to sort of get away from election stuff on the ‘Net — and lo, there in the laundromat was a TV. Sigh.

    Anyhoo, the TV was tuned to CNN Headline News, and for most of the time I was there — ON ELECTION NIGHT! — the screen was filled with the mephitic, emetic Nancy Grace, babbling about some celebrity murder or other. Because that’s, you know, more important than the presidential election.

  131. #131 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    What’s a bit strange is that in the UK, with a population of 60 million, the national public broadcaster the BBC has an anual budget of $8 billion, whereas in the USA, with a population of 300 million, PBS has a budget of $2.5 billion (of which 60% private donations).

    That’s another one of the disastrous effects of the dominance of the “Free-Market” dogma in the USA.

    Oh, but on another hand the tax payer is gladly going to pay the bill for the Citibank shareholders and bond holders, that’ll only cost a few centuries worth of public broadcasting funding.

  132. #132 FrodoSaves
    December 4, 2008

    Good! More coverage for Britney Spears’ imminent comeback!

  133. #133 frog
    December 4, 2008

    Kel: It doesn’t require supernatural intervention to believe in it, if you run out of a resource, it means that a new technology will take it’s place. Personally I find this view naive and not representative of the way technology comes onto the market and resource depletion is a huge concern.

    Come off it! That’s not “naivete”, that’s either blind stupidity or willful delusion. The latter is exactly supernatural belief — a belief in things that fly in the face of nature, preferring “ideological truths”. That requires miracles on the order of angels and devils — if you don’t see ‘em, it’s ’cause they’re hiding from you! If you don’t see the technological marvels of the future, it’s ’cause you just don’t have faith!

    You say it yourself: I also find it funny that there is a correlation between who is libertarian and AGW denial. If they were just naive, that would be miraculous!

  134. #134 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    It doesn’t require supernatural intervention to believe in it, if you run out of a resource, it means that a new technology will take it’s place.

    And is this written on some sort of stone tablet, or maybe a golden plaque ?

    There’s no wonder Libertarianism goes so well with Exceptionalism.

  135. #135 Nerd of Redhead
    December 4, 2008

    When I lived in the UP, I regularly donated to the local PBS station. Since it was affiliated with a state university, we also got a tax credit on our state income tax. Even more important, the station appreciated the smaller donations we could afford. Here in the Chiwaukee megametro area, they wanted relatively large donations (larger than we could afford) or nothing. So I stopped donating to the local PBS station and sent my money elsewhere.

  136. #136 Kel
    December 4, 2008

    Our government broadcaster is really underfunded too, though I guess that is relative compared to the US broadcaster. I really enjoy the PBS Nova series, that one on evolution was fantastic (except that last episode where they had that ass-clown Ken Ham on there). There’s a VHS copy sitting in our house because it’s not out on DVD here.

  137. #137 Conor H.
    December 4, 2008

    Mayhempix at 96 that’s the kind of libertarian I am, I guess, and I don’t really have any problem reading Pharyngula. Seems to me you won’t make a very good libertarian if you can’t take a little criticism on the interwebs…

  138. #138 Terrell
    December 4, 2008

    Hmmm … opinionated airheads shouting at each other is indicative of deep intellectual rot.

    Insightful.

  139. #139 Bachalon
    December 4, 2008

    MH, thank you.

  140. #140 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2008

    Owlmirror,

    Ah, a Deistic god who benevolently maintains, but does not interfere. Or something like that.

    Definitely theist, with interference. He saves us, remember.

    How else do you explain that when we run out of a basic resource, we automatically find a new one just on time, or via a new technology, which will save us from extinction or misery ?

    If you’re a Libertarian, you believe we can consume as much as we want of that resource, just follow our own self-interest, in the end , there will always be a happy ending, it will all work out best for the community as a whole.

  141. #141 leftystrat
    December 4, 2008

    Now who will report on stories about the search for President Stupid’s brain or the effort to keep the departed Larry King alive?

  142. #142 mayhempix
    December 4, 2008

    Posted by: Conor H. | December 4, 2008 8:44 PM
    “Mayhempix at 96 that’s the kind of libertarian I am, I guess, and I don’t really have any problem reading Pharyngula. Seems to me you won’t make a very good libertarian if you can’t take a little criticism on the interwebs…”

    WTF are you talking about?

    Nobody criticized me (at least on this thread).
    I think Libertarians are fundies who worship the Free Market God.
    What I was saying was that Maher is not a Libertarian.

    Learn to comprehend what you read.

  143. #143 Blue-eyed Vidiot
    December 4, 2008

    ” This is symptomatic of a deep intellectual rot in this country.”

    Hear, hear!

  144. #144 clinteas
    December 4, 2008

    Another thread taken over by this stupid libertarian debate. *sigh*

    To CNN,i think it had its role in the 90′s,but even then it was lots of advertising and idle chatter.

    After 9/11 it went downhill fast,to the point that it is almost unviewable now.

    And Im saying that as an Australian,who is not going anywhere near the local news,because they are the worst example of sloppy and tabloid journalism anywhere.

    CNN is of course,a business,and as such obviously doesnt see science as one of its priorities anymore.

  145. #145 JPS, FCD
    December 4, 2008

    @ Leftystrat # 142:

    Garry Trudeau!

  146. #146 Glen Davidson
    December 4, 2008

    When you give money you also get to vote for your favorite shows. The local broadcasts are based on what people are pledging money for. Send in a pledge and make sure they know that you want more science reporting and science programs.

    That’s what’s wrong with PBS, and it would be difficult to outcompete the monied interests supporting pap like Deepak Chopra, and the good, but over-represented, money shows.

    Not to say that your advice isn’t sound, of course, and we should support good shows (including those by that Tyson dude). It’s just that PBS is pretty good, but it should be significantly better.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  147. #147 Bubba Sixpack
    December 4, 2008

    I’m sure CNN is on the right track having their anchors, like Dobbs, imitate the Faux loons, what with their new and improved War on Christmas shtick. I’m sure they’ll make lots of money that way…

  148. #148 Shaun
    December 4, 2008

    Just feeling the need to contribute the the whole liberterian thing, specifically the claim about liberterians not being atheists.

    I’d like to cite the example of Penn and Teller. While I myself am not liberterian, they both claim to be, and I don’t think you get that much more atheist then having your license plates customized so they read, “Atheist” and “Godless”, not to mention dedicating an episode of their Bullshit series to taking the piss out of the Bible.

    Their arguement, as far as I can see, is that most people are essentially good, so left to our own devices they will do good. If the government doesn’t take care of the homeless and sick then well meaning rich people will. As I said, I’m not liberterian, and I’m not sure I believe it myself, but I’d hardly equate belief that people are essentially good to belief in the supernatural.

  149. #149 RickrOll
    December 4, 2008

    “Most of them are genuinely Richard Dawkins. He has a distinctive writing style.”– *’Bark’ laughter*
    I’ll bet he Does.

    (at least they didn’t call it Jewish science)- frog; aren’t a high percentage of Nobel laureate Jews? I mean, if that’s the case, it couldn’t be a Bad thing. But i have my own rascist way of loking at things. I’ll admit it lol ( http://ealbr.ytmnd.com/ ).

    Posted by: Conor H:
    “Mayhempix at 96 that’s the kind of libertarian I am, I guess, and I don’t really have any problem reading Pharyngula. Seems to me you won’t make a very good libertarian if you can’t take a little criticism on the interwebs…”
    *applause* Lord (read FSM) knows i deserve it as well.

  150. #150 Kel
    December 4, 2008

    Just feeling the need to contribute the the whole liberterian thing, specifically the claim about liberterians not being atheists.

    I’d like to cite the example of Penn and Teller.

    I think you missed the point of what those above were trying to say. It was that atheists who are libertarians tree the free market as God, though I personally disagree with this and don’t see atheism and libertarianism being incompatible. I see libertarianism as being an non-viable extreme, but that’s another matter.

  151. #151 Shaun
    December 4, 2008

    I think you missed the point of what those above were trying to say. It was that atheists who are libertarians tree the free market as God

    I thought I kind of covered that whith my last paragraph. In the free market some people will get rich, and those rich people are kind of expected to help out the poor, not because there’s a law saying they have to, but because they’re people so they have traits like empathy. Again, while I don’t agree with it, I wouldn’t equate it with belief in god. It may be a bit optemistic, but it’s not quite up there with believing in the all powerful eye in the sky.

  152. #152 ekzept
    December 4, 2008

    What’s scarier is when people like Warren Buffet join the anti-intellectual/anti-scholar bandwagon with his oft’ repeated “Beware of geeks bearing formulas”. (I heard him do it on Charlie Rose, but bet he’s said it elsewhere.) Now, surely, there are folks with mathematical erudition and greed at fault someplace in the Great Tremendous Mess we find ourselves in. There are people who, for instance, place their greed above presenting the limitations, uncertainties, and error analyses that (should) accompany their models. But sophisticated students of the problem like Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, not to mention the Peter Schiff Professor PJ recently featured in YouTube edits have said the Tremendous Mess is due to greater causes than than of geeks. So Buffet is cozying up to the Great Uneducated Masses, lest they consider him and his empire somehow contaminated with Wall Street Filth. That he sees it as an important thing to do is an indicator of How Far Gone we are.

    That the Great Uneducated Masses seek scapegoats rather than blaming themselves for being Taleb’s turkeys demonstrates the problem.

  153. #153 Mez
    December 4, 2008

    clinteas @145, even our Aussie ABC – whether radio or TV – has had almost exactly zero coverage of the current Canadian constitutional crisis. Let alone commercial meeja (SBS is, naturally, rather better).

    You’d think there’d be some interest in comparing it to ours back in 1975 (especially since Frank Crean has just died), and perhaps comparing their GG to ours (sigh of relief we’ve finally got a female, even if she’s a white lawyer).

    Came here to whinge about an MP who’s just got into the news. I’ve been defending his taking the photos he’s been criticised for (Telegraph editor defends MP in photo ), even if it meant agreeing with a Murdoch editor, but my support is considerably less enthusiastic since this recent article – Financial crisis an act of God: Bidgood – saw a clip from the talk on the news. Depressingly more common here in free & secular Oz.

  154. #154 Monado
    December 4, 2008

    I hope that Mr. O’Brien finds a nice job at the Discovery Channel and ramps up their science content. Canada has had a daily science news program for years; it’s on at 7:00 p.m. and again at 11:00 on weeknights. So you can watch it instead of the ambulance-chasing, hand-wringing, or to-hell-in-a-handbasket varieties.

  155. #155 RamblinDude
    December 5, 2008

    Hmmm, that certainly sounded like the real Neil deGrasse Tyson. . . .

    This is symptomatic of a deep intellectual rot in this country.”

    I don’t know if Obama is going to be a good president or not, but it’s nice to imagine that having a smart and thoughtful president, who speaks in complete and eloquent sentences, will help to bring a respect for expertise and intellect back into vogue.

    Imagine, smart, elite people in charge of things instead of shallow faith-heads and racketeers. And the raucous blusterers at Faux News and such going out of favor. And children wanting to be scientists and educators. And watching “The Science Channel” without homeopathy commercials. . . .

  156. #156 Conor H.
    December 5, 2008

    Mayhem, I was just agreeing with you, and ribbing RickRoll a little bit, which seems to have been received as it was intended.

  157. #157 Liberal Atheist
    December 5, 2008

    It’s going downhill everywhere. Two of the largest evening rags here in Sweden are basically tabloids with news. Sometimes the news aren’t that well-reported either. Especially when it comes to the EU or science. Then they add stuff like horoscope, gossip about the participants or ex-participants of some stupid “reality” show, and round it up with the latest escapades of Britney and Lindsay and other celebrities who, apparently, deserve to be celebrities.

    Science is considered something they should report about only if they can twist it into something weird, or if they want to try to see how many scientific errors they can fit in one tiny “article”.

  158. #158 Craig
    December 5, 2008

    I find myself wringing my hands less over infotainment “news” programming ever since I dropped my satellite subscription, thereby also saving about $60/month.

    I still have a digital antenna for PBS and occasional entertainment programming (Heroes, House, Pushing Daisies). Otherwise, I get all my news online, and it’s been years since I’ve watched CNN at home, despite having had satellite and cable before that.

  159. #159 anhsirt
    December 5, 2008

    This is a sad development. I already thought their content was too heavy on entertainment and not real news. I read Media Bistro’s post on dismantling the science unit and integrating it into general news. Like many of you stated, this probably has to do with money and consolidating the news room. Unfortunately, a good number of viewers probably like to soak in the easy to understand and mind numbing stories, rather than something they have to ponder.

  160. #160 RickrOll
    December 5, 2008

    Conner H was ribbing me? I thought I was ribbing Me; who was he ribbing? Was he eating ribs? Oh wow, pork ribs are awesome

    /random

    And isn’t Strict Libertarian an oxymoron?

    Posted by: Richard Dawkins | November 12, 2007 4:03 PM
    “Mrs Garrison is Hot”

    That is more than a little scary; it’s more than a lot creepy. I’m calling poe. I Don’t CARE if it has his damn Fingerprints on it, that…. is just unacceptable

    /wrists

  161. #161 G. Tingey
    December 5, 2008

    There ARE internationally respected Broadcasters who DO show good science on their screens and web-pages.

    Try strating at the Link(s) above

  162. #162 Ron Brown
    December 5, 2008

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WITH A MINIMALLY REGULATED FREE MARKET DRIVEN MEDIA INDUSTRY!

    America has ceased to be the America of the Constitution – quite a long time ago, too. Why? Well, a few reasons. But a huge one is the government-corporate-media complex. The media has been demonstrated to routinely decide in favour of ratings over relevance and importance. They will protect the interests of major advertisers and major industry lobby groups because to do otherwise would be economically retarded for the companies. They would sink their ships. And the execs would be quickly out of the job.

    The science thing is not even remotely close to the biggest issue, though. When was the last time we saw a major media presentation of real social political philosophy considerations that were not constrained by the interests of the elite? When was the last time we saw a TV show featuring activists and intellectuals openly discussing the pros and cons of American capitalism, anarchism, and so on? Where is the much deserved coverage of the state of TNC sweatshops?

    Cutting science coverage is surely a concerning symptom of the greater problem discussed above. But it is by no means the most serious.

  163. #163 Tualha
    December 5, 2008

    This is symptomatic of a deep intellectual rot in this country.

    Megadittos!

  164. #164 Tualha
    December 5, 2008

    Stupid thing showed my [irony] tag in preview but dropped it in the post :p

  165. #165 csrster
    December 5, 2008

    My cable company is replacing BBC World News with CNN in January. Sigh.

  166. #166 Amy
    December 5, 2008

    Oh dear. But then I stopped checking CNN when they called that poor woman in Austria “Incest Dungeon Girl”. Bleh. Sadly BBC likes to sensationalize science & tech news as well.If I see one more archaeology news being linked to religion …

  167. #167 DaveH
    December 5, 2008

    “There are no libertarians in shitholes”

  168. #168 Kitty
    December 5, 2008

    Slightly OT but very exciting news.
    Just announced the British government is putting Ł250 million into science research, mostly to finance young people who want to do research.
    Let’s hope Obama will give you some of the same.

  169. #169 Robert Byers
    December 5, 2008

    From Canada
    Myers is right that science should have a place on these networks and indeed these loudmouths knocked off. However CNN is left wing and they need to compete with fox.
    Talking heads bring watching heads. Not science shows.

    CNN has problems with ratings because it is dominated by diversity agendas. Only Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Women, colours etc need apply. in short it does not hire talent based on talent. In shorter it does not hire Republicans. Or what people in Canada call Americans.
    CNN is dull because its unintelligent.
    Fox news figured out that they would put ethnics in charge of presentation but let the talent free. So the talkers are all big mouth Irishman.
    CNN has Lou Dodds but hes a mistake they can’t dispatch.

    The same thing about science in america. America will never care as she should and could about the achievments of science until the ethnic problems in higher education are fixed. Until the Yankees and Southerners, old ethni Catholic groups, are allowed back into higher education they will not germinate throughout the land a greater passion for the great calling of science.
    Whether from interference from over represented Jews, Asians Indians, foreigner, or from affirmative action for Women, blacks, Hispanics, others it all contributes to interfing with the people who have true innate interests in science for pure reasons and not prestige ones. Every white protestant or Catholic denied entry by these groups is a loss to the better people who would advance things and interest to show Americas true superior abilities to achieve.
    It is about identity. it is the great interference in the normal, natural results of the common man’s achievments in education.
    The demise of science is a predictable conclusion when only minorities, living in minority areas get to go to the top.
    Higher education should look like the American people in the nimbers relative to the percentages in the population. Save the lowest ethnics who should not be pampered.

    Its the liberals and Democratic party, and establishment republicans who have ignored the war against white Protestants and Catholics, to use these titles, in undercuting their oppurtunities in higher education.
    its the foreigners and foreigners at heart that have dumbed down science passions in the land. If you don’t know anybody doing it you won’t become interested.

    Perhaps Obama will fix it.
    Or by expanding it allow more republican serious and well received criticism.
    A better america can be made by smarter republicans. not the neo conservative and Bush/Mccain clowns.
    put things back straight.

  170. #170 negentropyeater
    December 5, 2008

    Byers,

    Only Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Women, colours etc need apply. in short it does not hire talent based on talent. In shorter it does not hire Republicans. Or what people in Canada call Americans.

    You are one sick f*ck !

  171. #171 Nick Gotts
    December 5, 2008

    Save the lowest ethnics who should not be pampered. – Robert Byers

    You’re a disgusting, lying, racist and sexist bigot as well as a delusional crank, Byers.

  172. #172 Nerd of Redhead
    December 5, 2008

    Byers doesn’t fall into poor delusional Pete’s “well meaning fool”, as I don’t think he means well. We need to develop a nice nickname for Byers for him to see exactly what we think of his posts.

  173. #173 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 5, 2008

    Byers

    Only Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Women, colours etc need apply. in short it does not hire talent based on talent. In shorter it does not hire Republicans. Or what people in Canada call Americans.

    Byers, you are a gigantic bore. You come by threads and spout of some of the most disgustingly racist and uninformed options and then you never stick around to defend yourself.

    So besides the idiotic things you say you are also missing the one thing that makes trolls worthwhile. You aren’t entertaining. I don’t call for the banhammer often but I wouldn’t be upset if you got it.

    If you’d just once stay through a thread to defend to dumbfuckery you display then maybe you would have some value. As of now I see none.

    who have ignored the war against white Protestants and Catholics

    You’re an idiot. And I mean that is the most damaging way.

  174. #174 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 5, 2008

    to = the

    KoT

  175. #175 negentropyeater
    December 5, 2008

    I don’t call for the banhammer often but I wouldn’t be upset if you got it.

    I agree, it’s time Byers visits the dungeon.
    I think we’ve got a very clear case of insipdity, stupidity and trolling.

  176. #176 JustJoeP
    December 5, 2008

    CNN wants to become the “E!” of quasi news.

  177. #177 mayhempix
    December 5, 2008

    It is quite possible Byers is one of those twentysomething trolls who erroneously think they are too smart for everyone else by playing these racist roles on various blogs. There used to be a bunch of them on Huffington Post who believed they were protecting free speech from the liberal hordes who want to suppress racist banter.

    But just in case Byers is a real idiot racist…

    @Byers
    “Its the liberals and Democratic party, and establishment republicans who have ignored the war against white Protestants and Catholics, to use these titles, in undercuting their oppurtunities in higher education.
    its the foreigners and foreigners at heart that have dumbed down science passions in the land. If you don’t know anybody doing it you won’t become interested.”

    I laughed when I read this. If you don’t understand that the majority of anti-science idiots in the US are far right white Evangelical Protestants, then you clearly are the one who has undercut your own lower education… not to mention you are a white supremacist bigot.

    How’s your buddy David Duke doing?

  178. #178 PeterGriffin
    December 5, 2008

    Nancy Grace is the most despicable person on television or radio in the United States. Somehow she KNOWS whether person X is guilty or not, despite any substantiating evidence.

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”.

  179. #179 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 5, 2008

    Nancy Grace is the most despicable person on television or radio in the United States. Somehow she KNOWS whether person X is guilty or not, despite any substantiating evidence.

    Yeah I can not stand her. Between her and Glenn Beck (who thankfully is bye bye) CNN really makes it hard to not only watch, but to even drive by on the channels.

  180. #180 tsg
    December 5, 2008

    [Late to the party so I'll apologize if this has been covered, but I couldn't let it slide]

    It was probably a business decision. They’re neglecting their corporate responsibility to inform

    No they aren’t. They never had one. Corporations have but one responsibility: make money. Period. Stop looking at corporate news media to be anything more than infotainment because that’s all it will ever be.

  181. #181 red rabbit
    December 5, 2008

    You could call the Fox/CNN/infotainment for the masses a symptom of more than just intellectual rot. I would say more of a divergent evolution, with science, rationality, and intellectualism on one side becoming more and more specialised and complex while the religious right deepens its own blinkeredness and dependence on a single tome, and forgets how to think.

    And with all the like-propagating-like, their grandchildren’s intellectual abilities may become entirely vestigial. Indeed, it’s already the case for some. Eg. Byers?

  182. #182 Dyzo Bandit
    December 5, 2008

    #34:

    I assume it’s because the production centers for CNNi aren’t located in Atlanta

    Actually, CNNi is based in Atlanta. Regular CNN is about 60% based in Atlanta, 40% in NYC.

  183. #183 Nerd of Redhead
    December 5, 2008

    I would also vote to plonk Byers. His biggest sin is that he isn’t funny, just stupid. Couple that with his hit and run tactics, he just disrupts things. Not like some other trolls who are good mocking material.

  184. #184 frog
    December 5, 2008

    Rickroll: (at least they didn’t call it Jewish science)- frog; aren’t a high percentage of Nobel laureate Jews? I mean, if that’s the case, it couldn’t be a Bad thing. But i have my own rascist way of loking at things. I’ll admit it lol

    I guess I have to be explicit — I was implying that many Libertarians are harboring fascist sympathies, that their doublespeak about freedom is the freedom to, in practice, enslave their fellows.

    I guess you don’t know that the Nazis dismissed modern physics as “Jewish Physics”, which explains why the lost WWII. Or their counterparts, the Stalinists, who dismissed Darwinism as “Bourgeois science”.

    When you have a faith, the easy way to dismiss countervailing science is to label it as “X Science”, where X is some kind of fantasy of conspiracy and culture, as if there was no thing as reality, but just power struggles; which is why post-modernism is so dangerous.

  185. #185 Owlmirror
    December 5, 2008

    When you have a faith, the easy way to dismiss countervailing science is to label it as “X Science”, where X is some kind of fantasy of conspiracy and culture, as if there was no thing as reality, but just power struggles; which is why post-modernism is so dangerous.

    An interesting summary, which I think can be applied directly to creationists, who speak as if there were a “Darwinist/evolutionist/atheist” science (and use the terms Darwinist/evolutionist to apply to astrophysics and cosmology).

    Many of the defenders of the creation museum certainly seemed to think that the current scientific consensus was just a “point of view”, too.

  186. #186 Ouchimoo
    December 5, 2008

    Travis @ #77

    Yeah well I have the TLC officially branded as The “Lady’s Channel”. That used to be my all time favorite channel until trading spaces came along.

  187. #187 islandchris
    December 5, 2008

    Even the websites tell a story:

    On the BBC news website the have
    Science & Environment
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/default.stm

    and a separate section for Technology
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/default.stm

    By contrast CNN has just Tech (huh?)
    http://www.cnn.com/TECH/

    and when you get to the respective sites, in terms of the number of stories covered it isn’t remotely close. Notice that 2 out of 8 stories on the CNN site are links to other sites’ stories. It is truly pathetic.

  188. #188 negentropyeater
    December 5, 2008

    frog,

    I was implying that many Libertarians are harboring fascist sympathies, that their doublespeak about freedom is the freedom to, in practice, enslave their fellows.

    I don’t think it’ necessary that evil. More simple than that, like any religion which is based on a saviour God its association with ignorance tends to turn people into pathological optimists.

    Look at this crisis, the Libertarian answer per excellence is do nothing, let the bubble burst and history take its toll, it will necessarily turn out better than if governments try to provide a cushion and dampen its disastrous effects.

    They are pathological optimists because they believe in an interventionist God that will save us.

  189. #189 Julie Stahlhut
    December 5, 2008

    I think we’re really seeing the kind of divergence Red Rabbit suggested. Increasing numbers of us don’t bother with TV for news at all — we go to online sources, and to non-profit traditional media like NPR. (Unfortunately, the people who most need to broaden their sources of information by escaping the TV hole are probably the ones with the least experience at recognizing crap when they see it. But at least that skill can be learned.)

    The only time I encounter CNN and its ilk is while I’m on the elliptical machine at the gym and the TV is on above me (it’s silent unless you’re using an FM headset, but it is captioned.) As far as I can tell from cable news, the most important people in the country are Casey Anthony, Plaxico Burress, and Britney Spears. When science and scientists can’t compete for public attention with people who allegedly kill their children, shoot themselves while playing with guns, or forget their underwear, why should we bother with “sources” like cable news at all?

  190. #190 Carlie
    December 5, 2008

    The other problem is that even with divergence as a given, places that are supposed to be about science often aren’t. Take this example from Science Daily. Entirely shoddy study, terrible result analysis, and best of all, a fab woman/fat-phobic illustration.
    Although not a science blog, the study is properly ripped to shreds and digested by scientists in the comments here.

    When this passes for a story on a purported science web site, we’re really in trouble.

  191. #191 mayhempix
    December 5, 2008

    Posted by: negentropyeater | December 5, 2008 11:34 AM
    “They (Libertarians) are pathological optimists because they believe in an interventionist God that will save us.”

    Exactly. They pray to the Free Market God who can do no wrong and will fix everything in the end.

  192. #192 Leila
    December 5, 2008

    John Holliman must be rolling in his grave. Sad.

  193. #193 mayhempix
    December 5, 2008

    Speaking of CNN, this just in…

    Atheist sign disappears from Washington state Capitol

    NEW: Placard to be replaced with temporary sign, note saying, “Thou shalt not steal”

    (CNN) — An atheist sign criticizing Christianity that was erected alongside a Nativity scene at the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, has disappeared, the co-founder of the organization sponsoring it said Friday.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/12/05/atheists.christmas/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

  194. #194 frog
    December 5, 2008

    negentropyeater: I don’t think it’ necessary that evil. More simple than that, like any religion which is based on a saviour God its association with ignorance tends to turn people into pathological optimists.

    Well, I’m not such an optimist — I’ve found that when they get drunk or stressed, they have a tendency to start talking in terms of “strong man” theory: if just the “strong” were released from their bondage by the weak (see Byers and his racist rant), all would be well.

    That’s the Feuhrerprinzip! And of course it’s upside down — since the strong aren’t in “bondage”, but at most are limiting taking their full dominance as a compromise in everyone’s long term interest. It’s not really their intellectual structure — but their emotional structure, which then drives the building of an intellectual structure to defend it. Clever fascists rationalize with Libertarianism, just as clever totalitarians justify and cloak that emotional tendency with pretty talk about “true democracy of the masses”.

    It’s the underlying feeling that count in orientation; the justifications are just rationalization — what’s called in theology apologia.

  195. #195 Mark
    December 5, 2008

    You people still watching TV?

    Commercials raise my blood pressure too much. I had to stop.

  196. #196 Feynmaniac
    December 6, 2008

    KRiS,

    All those shows that don’t appear to be educational are just taken out of context and twisted by you people who don’t truly understand TLC and so want to tear it down. Do your homework…

    TLC Lineup
    Friday Dec. 6, 2008

    6:00 pm What Not to Wear
    7:00 pm Real Simple. Real Life.
    8:00 pm What Not To Wear
    9:00 pm What Not To Wear
    10:00 pm Say Yes to the Dress
    10:30 pm Say Yes to the Dress
    11:00 pm What Not To Wear

    actually watch TLC and then you can have an opinion about it.

    Actually, my sister is a huge fan of TLC and as a result I’ve watched several hours of the network.

    Until then there is no evidence that you can present that will convince me that TLC is anything but educational. And if you disagree with me, that just proves to me that you haven’t actually watched it, so your opinion still doesn’t count.

    How fucking closed minded is this? The only way someone can disagree with you is if they haven’t seen the same thing as you? I showed you the line up for last night and 4 out 6 hours of that was ‘What Not to Wear’. The other two shows hardly seemed educational either. For Thursday there was 4 hours of ‘American Chopper’ in that same time period.

    Again, if they want to ‘What Not to Wear’, ‘Trading Spaces’, and all those other shows that’s their choice. It’s almost definitely more profitable than actual educational material. However, they should get rid of guise of being ‘The Learning Channel’. Just change TLC to mean Tender Loving Channel, or something like that, and my beef with them is gone.

  197. #197 Bill_S
    December 6, 2008

    TV News? Does anyone with half a brain really even watch it?

    It’s always sensationalist, never goes indepth and caters to the lowest common denominator.

    Why bother? Might as well get your information from “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”

  198. #198 Doug the Primate
    December 6, 2008

    So much for CNN, then. No big loss. Actually, as McLuhan argued, radio is the hot medium, and TV the cool, since TV engages a passive audience, while radio requires an actively engaged one. So much for the view that TV has displaced radio; while that may be the case in the US, it is certainly not so in Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), available digitally on Satellite Sirius channel 137, features a number of radio shows on science, the foremost of which is Quirks and Quarks. Now in its fourth decade, it is a must listen for anyone remotely interested in any facet of science, from the unwashed laity to experts such as PZ and most of the gang here. The reason is that the show presents in depth but concise views into the subject matter, and scientific method, of areas of inquiry far removed from those of most other working scientists, from astronomy and cosmology to evolutionary biology to cognitive science. That is, it provides an educational experience for everryone.

    The same is true of the show Ideas, now in its fifth decade, although the focus is broader, on the arts and sciences generally. There are also ocassional series such as “White Coat, Black Art”, being an insder’s look at the practice of medicine, the “Age of Persuasion”, presented by a practitioner of the craft of advertising, and another, the title of which I forget on philosophy of language.

    Only the BBC as the voice of civilization? Hardly. In addition to the CBC, see also the ABC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    And all on radio!

  199. #199 Robert Byers
    December 8, 2008

    REVBIGDUMBCHIMP 123 From canada
    i don’t like being called out. I make a comment, usually the best one, and this is not a place for back and forth. Why do you say so?

    What I said about CNN is right. its a typical liberal entity more interested in identity politics in on air/behind scenes then the threat of a inferior product.
    Fox suffers too from identity issues but figured out to let the audience -creation talent be free and the dime a dozen newstalkers be under segregation.
    So they beat cnn. In fact conservatives on CNN like Dodd, Grace are unwelcome. Crossfire and caputal gang were dumped because of giving air to conservatism despite steady ratings.
    CNN is reaping what they sowed. Jews, blacks, hispanics, Britist-ish types, women were only welcome and the better Men, Yankess and southerners and older Ethnic catholics discriminated against.
    At this rate fOX will triple CNN’s rating or so and they hear bell tow. so they want more talking heads. It won’t work. Liberals are truly less intelligent and less interesting to middle/young aged men and women.
    Jeff Greenfields, Cooper, Blitzer are ruining CNN.

    By the way what is it with liberals and making accusations against the motives,and character of the good guys???
    I made accusations first. ME FIRST. Prove my important accusations are wrong before you can claim credibility to accuse me.
    You won’t persuade unless you show good form.

  200. #200 John Morales
    December 8, 2008

    Robert Byers @199:

    By the way what is it with liberals and making accusations against the motives,and character of the good guys???
    I made accusations first. ME FIRST. Prove my important accusations are wrong before you can claim credibility to accuse me.

    Priceless.

  201. #201 Feynmaniac
    December 8, 2008

    Mr. Byers,

    Please seek professional psychiatric help.

  202. #202 Die Anyway
    December 8, 2008

    frog@83 : It’s not bias or bigotry — it’s a serious disagreement about how the world works.

    Yes, it is that, but Rev. BDC is nasty about it in a way that is unnecessary (which pushes it into the bigotry range in my opinion). Within the context of this particular PZ post and the responses up to that time, there was absolutely no reason for BDC to make a disparaging remark about libertarians, yet he did. Out of the blue, a bit of uncalled for nastiness. Why? As far as I can tell, all of the libertarian posters here support science, oppose religion, support evolution, oppose ID/creationism, and yet we catch a lot of flack from a few of the other regulars for our political philosophy. A philosophy, I might add, which would not restrict anyone’s liberal leanings.

    Brownian@90 : Libertarians could always stop being wrong.
    Fail.

    negentropyeater@94 : The only way a libertarian gets out of this is to either deny the problem or invoke the invsible hand that will take care of it.

    negentropyeater and kel both show a total lack of understanding of libertarian mechanisms, much the way we normally claim that creationists misunderstand evolution. The both make good arguments against what they claim is libertarianism but the problem is that they have created a straw man. If libertarianism really was as they depict it, I would oppose it too. So much the way we suggest that creationists go read some science books, I have to suggest that you two go read up on libertarianism. Then maybe you won’t make such ignorant statements about it.

    P.S. The Libertarian Party sucks as an example of libertarianism so please don’t take this year’s candidate Bob Barr as a good example. Damn neo-con interloper.

  203. #203 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 8, 2008

    Rev. BDC, I usually enjoy your commentary but in re: “I love the anti-lawyer people. They rank up there with the Libertari….”

    You know I get a lot of crap for being an atheist, an iconoclast and a general contrarian. It’s really annoying to come to a blog that I otherwise enjoy and get trashed here too. I can take a good joke and light-hearted humor but the anti-libertarian bigotry shown by a few of the pharyngulitic hord is … well… bigotry of the Bill O’ variety. Rather unbecoming if I do say so myself.

    Ok so I went back to see what I said that was so nasty.

    I compared those who are anti-lawyer to those who are libertarians who are anti-government (for the most part). I see some parallel between the two. Mostly my comment was in a bit of a jesting manner considering how some of the frequently commenting libertarians here act and how often they take over threads that usually have very little to do with libertarianism.

    And comparing the those who disagree with Libertarians as being similar to Bill O’Reilly is reaching and is being a bit of a Drama queenism (kingism).

    Honestly I mostly try and stay out of the libertarian discussions as there are those here much better informed on the subject than myself.

    So take this as an apology for being “nasty” (however you are choosing to define it).

  204. #204 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 8, 2008

    oh course there were going to be typos in that.

  205. #205 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 8, 2008

    REVBIGDUMBCHIMP 123 From canada
    i don’t like being called out. I make a comment, usually the best one, and this is not a place for back and forth. Why do you say so?

    You make comments, usually the dumbest ones filled with racist rhetoric and plenty of idiocy. I called you out because of these facts. It is a place for back and forth. Maybe you should figure out what comment sections on blogs of this nature are like before walking in and shitting on the floor.

    What I said about CNN is right. its a typical liberal entity more interested in identity politics in on air/behind scenes then the threat of a inferior product.

    Yes exactly like Faux news. it’s not a liberal thing it’s an entertainment thing you dolt.

    Fox suffers too from identity issues but figured out to let the audience -creation talent be free and the dime a dozen newstalkers be under segregation. So they beat cnn.

    English is obviously not your first language so I’m going to let you rephrase those sentences. I have no idea what they mean.

    In fact conservatives on CNN like Dodd, Grace are unwelcome.

    Grace as in Nancy Grace? You’ve got to be kidding me. She’s a hack concerned only with sensationalism.

    Crossfire and caputal gang were dumped because of giving air to conservatism despite steady ratings.

    And this has what exactly to do with the science and tech unit?

    CNN is reaping what they sowed. Jews, blacks, hispanics, Britist-ish types, women were only welcome and the better Men, Yankess and southerners and older Ethnic catholics discriminated against.

    And there’s that misogynistic racist dumbfuckery we expect from you.

    At this rate fOX will triple CNN’s rating or so and they hear bell tow.

    Was that a conservative gangsta rap?

    so they want more talking heads. It won’t work. Liberals are truly less intelligent and less interesting to middle/young aged men and women.

    Yeah that whole Obama thing was a fluke. Care to back up the liberals are less intelligent accusation Bobby?

    Jeff Greenfields, Cooper, Blitzer are ruining CNN.

    Listen I think CNN sucks, but you just want to blame it on the invisible demons poised for a good lynching that are in your head. The real reason CNN sucks is because it’s more focused on entertainment than News. Entertainment sells.

    By the way what is it with liberals and making accusations against the motives,and character of the good guys???

    Who are the good guys?

    I made accusations first. ME FIRST.

    My 3 year old niece says that a lot too, and I don’t have a clue what she wants most of the time either.

    Prove my important accusations are wrong before you can claim credibility to accuse me.
    You won’t persuade unless you show good form.

    You made the claims, it is your burden of proof to support them.

    I could care less about persuading you. You are a racist ignoramus with delusions of importance.

  206. #206 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 8, 2008

    ugh, please ignore the horrible sentences in 203

  207. #207 Die Anyway
    December 9, 2008

    Rev.BDC@203: ” Mostly my comment was in a bit of a jesting manner considering how some of the frequently commenting libertarians here act and how often they take over threads that usually have very little to do with libertarianism.”

    But you knew it would be controversial when you wrote it, why else the elipsis? Still, I may possibly have inapporpriately lumped you in with the more narrow-minded group like kel and negentropyeater. I have tried to read all of the replies to all of PZ’s posts but I have a life to lead outside of Pharyngula (and a job that requires a bit of attention) so I have missed some entries and I haven’t completely memorized everyone’s persona. But for the replies that I have read, there are a few who completely mischaracterize the libertarian philosophy then throw darts at it. I’m not sure why they would do that and at the same time claim some sort of moral or intellectual highground. Libertarians are not your enemy. We support gay rights, women’s rights, pro-choice, freedom of speech, freedom of/from religion, freedom of laboratories to research whatever they want, … where is the problem such that we (I) receive so much derision?
    Or is it just a few hotheads on this blog that I should ignore the way I try to ignore the unnecessarily vulgar ones.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It even works for us as atheists.