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The Sciences

Truth and the Oped Pages

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 25, 2011 6:44 PM

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I've got a new post up at DeSmogBlog, airing some of my outrage over thisexchange in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It's between a climate denier and John Abraham, and while Abraham gets the better of things factually and intellectually (of course) I don't think oped pages ought to be printing columns that, essentially, misinform:

A few posts back I highlighted new research suggesting that “on the one hand, on the other hand” coverage of fact-based political divides leaves citizens in a postmodern funk, uncertain what the truth is and whether they are capable of discerning it. It’s yet another reason why journalists have a responsibility to serve as arbiters of factual disputes—rather than thinking their job is done if they let one side say the sky is pink, but then provide a counter-quote from an expert saying that in fact it’s blue. What goes for journalists ought to go for op-ed pages. While it might be more difficult to design a study to test the effect on readers of an exchange like that in the Star Tribune, I would guess it is the same—making them feel helpless about discerning where the truth lies.

You can read the full DeSmogBlog post here.

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