John Oliver Talks About Science

The popular press misrepresents 93% of the scientific findings it reports on. This according to a new paper in the journal My Imagination. But seriously, science gets misreported by the media a lot.

I’ve wanted to write something about this for a while now. Fortunately, I don’t have to. John Oliver from Last Week Tonight just did it for me. Thanks, Mr. Oliver!

5 thoughts on “John Oliver Talks About Science

  1. 93%?!? Well, that’s unsettling. To some extent, I depend on scientists on the internet to call out the more egregious nonsense, at least when I can’t recognize it on my own. But 93% makes me wonder if there’s any point to following the science news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the percentage is probably better for news organizations that are dedicated to science, like Scientific American or Popular Science. It’s news outlets like CNN or NBC or Fox that are the worst offenders. Of course that’s just my opinion. Perhaps the journal I cited should do some follow up research.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember during a summer research program back in grad school which inolved the use of ferrate ion as an alternative to chlorine for water purification in water treatment plants. The local paper came by for some quotes and the lead researcher told them that the ferrate could kill bacteria as well as chlorine and that it could also chew up organic chemicals (leaves, etc.) that might otherwise react with chlorine to make cancer causing chemicals. The story that appeared in the paper claimed that ferrate ions killed cancer causing bacteria. WTF?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s ridiculous. I have a little sympathy for journalists who don’t understand the science themselves, but this sounds like a journalist who doesn’t understand journalism. You can’t go do an interview and then completely misrepresent what the interview subject said.

      Like

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