Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why do we let polys talk science and not scientists

The prominent public issues of the NBN , the Murray darling irrigation , river health and Carbon sequestration are public issues of controversy and concern resolved only by sound science,-- not by more public football by polys.  Whose living in dream land here?  Why are our public discourses about science and technology so often mediated by people who are not scientists . Infact these spokesmen for science are men and women who historically are not known for representing much truth at all . What blinds our so called investigative media that they run this blatant irrationality on our TV screens each week .QANDA and Insights chose their guests and give polys the platform  Why?Why? why? Are the media so poorly educated they don't know how to get answers,  and from whom ?
I know the answer,  but do you ? And more importantly for the clever country , does the scientific community who are increasingly been abused and alienated ( quoting what scientists say instead of quoting the scientists should rightly be seen as a form of  patronising,  especially when these polys tell only one side of the story ).
 By not being treated with the respect that a dominant panel of experts would give ,  the media demean the authority of those who make Science their career . Where will Australian Science be if we let this pathetic hypocrisy continue? Why do the media keep asking the wrong people ? Ellul spelt the reason out like some others as early as the 1920's.
I thought Qanda was typically unbalanced here but last week I saw Jenny Brockie make the same mistake on SBS .( over telecommunication issue )  If you want to avoid the waste of time that was SBS last week , get scientists to talk on the science of copper , airwaves and optic fibre. Only when the media let scientists speak  freely will the medai be worth listening to about the truth  .

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Survey shows ...

The ABC are fond , like many in the media,  of using " surveys" . Tonight was a classic. ABC news kept running a non news,  non science story that " most people wanted someone ......to do something about the Murray Darling"   . Same stupid question and answer as some have been doing for such subjects as "Climate change" or "reducing violence" or " poor teachers in schools"  ( Never the students problem notice  ).
If there was a half decent scientist and supercynic amongst them they would be saying "beware of those who use surveys to say what they want the people to say" . Our often excellent ABC needs to weed out susscience reporters if its going to compete with the BBC and blogs who do respect sound science principles in practice  .
 The only poll that matters long term in science is the one that gets the item into "boring"  - Few science issues need hot air to establish themselves in consensus territory . They just go there naturally if they are more than hype and spin .Scientific American  has just acknowledged there are plenty of scientists who either don't accept AGW or the quickfix response agendas promoted by the wannabes .
Surveys would show that ABCTV  are not presenting science at all well BECAUSE they let polys tell us what science says.  Why do so many ABC media think polys know what they are talking about ( QANDA is a blatantly typical example ) - a mystery and faith of grand proportions -
Maybe journos like people like themselves - good at spin . All the hype in the world won't keep the ABC from slipping behind in the news stakes if it continues to confuse commentary with reporting. How seriously do the media think we take all their talk about someone else's  more competent talking ? .