December 28, 2002

Laspes of journalistic practice…

I’m not sure whether this situation demonstrates a lack of ability to discern what’s news or a lack of understanding of how science works. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the Raelians are crackpots and the claim by their “scientific director” that they have cloned a human baby is pure nonsense. Why is this getting prominent play in American newspapers this morning?

Creating a human clone would certainly be news. But such a feat requires at least two criteria to qualify: 1) reputable scientists, and 2) proof that meets academic standards. So far these criteria do not seem to exist. That’s not to say these criteria can’t exist in this case; rather, I claim the chances are highly unlikely. In any case, I don’t think journalists should report this until such time as the Raelians demonstrate at least these criteria.

What this situation demonstrates is that the press will fall for any nonsense on a slow news week when someone is willing to hold a press conference. So add “lazy” to the list of journalistic transgressions.

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