Thursday, 31 July 2014

One, Of Many, Problems With Journalism

When in CEGEP (a Quebec version of college) I took a class that dealt with journalism.

It taught you about journalism integrity, and the goal of providing information to the public that was as true, and as free from bias as possible.

We then delved into random newspaper clippings and dissected them and immediately find out that journalism is far from unbiased and, unfortunately, very rarely provides you the truth.

There were a few things I learned from this class, along with other methodology courses in sociology and psychology, that makes it hard for me to read news articles.

I immediately find errors, slight word changes that biases the whole article, and unsubstantiated claims.

As a result i've sought out more credible news sources.  I've subscribed to news feeds on facebook of organizations that value reason and rational thought above all else.

Surely I can get some good articles from these sources right?

Apparently not.

One of my subscriptions posted this article:

It's actually a pretty harmless article but is just one of the more recent ones that lack any value whatsoever.

Briefly, it posits a theory, by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, that those who stay up later and wake up later  (or night owls) are smarter then people on the traditional sleep schedule.  He then sites a study that states children with higher IQ's tend to go to bed later in their adolescence then their earlier bedtime peers.

Now that basic summary leaves me skeptical on a number of reasons that I don't even have to explore.

Because in the last paragraph of the very same article it states that the study was not peer reviewed (basically vetted out by other professional researchers), and the author of the study had a history of bad science!!!


Again I chose this site for news because it was supposed to be based upon good science, reason, and good ol fashioned sense.

Instead it chooses to post these articles because of a fun headline.
Whats the big idea, or problem, with this?

People often simply read the headline of an article.  Get the basic musings of the article.  Move on.  And then spread this information to other people.  They often wont get to the end of this article that basically states the entire article is false.

Now again.  This is a harmless article.  It angers me because I wanted real news from somebody out there, and am once again let down by people whose mission statement is supposed to be in line with my own.

But it is also just one of many articles like this that are untrue.

There are tons of news sites out there that also release erroneous, or misleading, articles that actually have devastating consequences.

A couple of examples of that will be released in another blog that i've been planning on posting but was deleted by the kids :).  But I will be doing that blog eventually.