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The Clone Hoax and the Media

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Weeks later, as it becomes clear that the alien cult cloning story was a <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,57095,00.html">ridiculous hoax</a>, media watchdogs are asking why the story warranted wall-to-wall saturation coverage in the first place.

    Given that the Raelians presented absolutely no proof of their claim -- no photos, no DNA, no names, no places, no medical records, no details at all -- many question whether the story should have passed even the lowest thresholds of newsworthiness.

    -- says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.

    The story shows some of the media's weaknesses in story selection. The Raelians timed their announcement for the post-Christmas slow news period, and held their press conferences in sunny Florida, where many journalists would like to be.

    But the story also says much about the media's ineptness in covering science, particularly when hot-button issues are at stake. While many outlets mixed significant skepticism into their initial reporting -- the New York Post's headline was 'CLONE KOOKS CLAIM SUCCESS -- most newspapers made the story front-page news based solely on the many-colored Brigitte Boisselier's word.

    This suggests many in the media continue to apply the same reporting they use for political or entertainment stories -- where they simply report the opinions of all 'sides' objectively -- to science, where objectivity requires waiting and reporting for proper evidence and proof.
  2. eakes

    eakes Registered User

    The media does not have a history of reporting 'facts'. Why should we expect them to validate a story before putting it to print or on the air.
  3. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    There ya go.
    Boy, would I like to find a media outlet that would simply report the FACTS, without some slant or opinion.

    Give me the FACTS. Only the FACTS.
    I'll make up my own opinion, thank you.
    As this type of reporting is so rare, it should make everyone wonder, eh?

    It's very OBVIOUS that they're promoting their own opinion/slant on everything they report.
    The POWER of the press.
    They can influence the masses on just about any issue you can think of.

  4. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Pish tosh! Do you folks not recognize the vast entertainment value of this sorry episode of pseudo-science? Every newspaper has an entertainment section. They just moved part of it to the front pages, for a little while. ;)

    The answer to your question, ethics is summarized in a single, two-word phrase: market share.
  5. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Individual news outlets could not fail to report a story of this magnitude. If they had waited for verification they would have no story. The way broadcast news outlets are rating themselves is by being first out with a story. Hard to wait for verification when that requires DNA.

    All reports I read expressed doubt and included quotes from skeptics. My take was that anybody who believed it was either naive, a reader of headlines only, or should now reconsider their news sources. When we all consider one of the pluses of TV to be knowing more about the world we should not complain when the occasional hoax is passed on. The perception is that we place more value on speed than accuracy. Hard to argue with that perception. When you hear a rumor of a big news story are you not searching channels for more information?
  6. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    Pish tosh!(?)
    I'll have to run that one by my wife.
    She'll accept comments like Balderdash, etc.....and very lately, maybe, Pishaugh.
    But Pish tosh?
    I dunno. ;)
    I'll let you know.

  7. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    As my old journalism professor would say: "You need to sell papers... you need human tragedy, tits and ass, or freaks!"

    Like to guess where the Raelians come in?
  8. mike

    mike mesmerized

    human tragedy, ass(es), freaks-they seem to fit in each one. They seemed to have done this only for publicity-who says there was even a baby born at all??

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