Journalists and scientists have more in common than you’d think—at least they should. Scientists seek to understand and explain how the natural world works. They observe, ask questions, and approach new information with skepticism as they work through a careful process to determine what is true.
Journalists, in theory, use the same curiosity and rigor to provide the information we need to make good decisions in our lives. According to the Society of Professional Journalists, a core tenet of journalism is to “seek truth and report it.” In both worlds, negligence begins where skepticism ends, creating dangerous opportunities for peddlers of misinformation.
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list is a perfect marriage of scientific and journalistic negligence. Each year, the EWG, a controversial, agenda-driven organic activist group, purports to rank the top 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. And each year, the media takes the bait without fail, and the coverage reads like sponsored content.
Over the past four years, American news organizations have not merely shredded their own credibility, but have piled those tattered shreds into a heap, poured gasoline onto the pile, and incinerated it. Anyone who still believes what they see on CNN or read in the New York Times is in the throes of a delusion. As much as we might wish to laugh at the plight of the media, now so obviously lost in the helpless hysteria of Trump Derangement Syndrome, we are not better off as a nation as a result of the catastrophe that has befallen American journalism.
In the last four months the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University has repeatedly removed pro-police related items after students and activists cried foul.
In June, the school rescinded a job offer to the new dean of its journalism school, Sonya Forte Duhé, after students accused her of past microaggressions and other insensitive comments. Mostly notably, Duhé had recently tweeted support for “good police officers who keep us safe.”