This is why public perception of science is suffering.

Depending on what circles you travel in you may or may not be aware of some major changes at CNN this week.  Miles O’Brien and the rest of the Science Space and Tech Unit have been cut.  The rational from CNN spokesperson Christa Robinson  is that since environmental coverage is primarily through through the “Planet in Peril” segment from Anderson Cooper 360, then there would be no problem with absorbing the departments responsibilities into the rest of the general editorial structure.  The reasoning is weak (as I’ll show shortly) and a bad decision over all.

First the argument that a segment on a single show can replace an entire department at a major news network could also be applied to sports, weather, politics, national, international news.  Why have a sports department when you can just have a single guy read off the results of all the games?  Aren’t they all pretty much the same?  No they clearly are not and that is very apparent to most people.  You wouldn’t ask a figure skater to report on the heavy weight title match.

This brings me to the major contention here.  Science reporting has been suffering for years, we have studios repeatedly reporting on “free-energy” machines, alternative medicine, and various useless gadgets without a single critical question.   This has been a problem on local stations because they don’t have the resources or time or staff familiar enough with the basics in each field to counter what is being said.  With a large news organization there should be enough resources for experts in multiple fields, since the average journalist does not know much science at all.

What I predict happening here is that more pseudoscience will be getting airtime,while important discoveries and stories will be missed entirely.  One could almost think that after benefitting from the loss of that moron Glenn Beck CNN had to make a mandatory step into the stone ages.


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