MIT Science Tracker On Coverage of the Pew Science Survey
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Over at MIT's Knight Science Journalism Tracker, the wise Charlie Petit has a great round-up of coverage of yesterday's Pew science survey. On what I described earlier today as a troubling "fall from grace" narrative in some reporting and commentary, Petit points to the obvious difficulties science reporters might have in covering an issue they deeply care about:
One notes that bylines [in coverge] tend to belong to science writers. Science writers can hope to cover science itself with a semblance of objective dispassion. But they have an inbuilt conflict of interest when the topic is the standing and penetration of science as a way to reach conclusions. Imagine the difference in coverage were a survey showing that the public thinks Shakespeare plays are outdated stuffy nonsense were reported by theatre critics, or alternately by hockey writers or stock analysts. One wonders - would the stories on this survey be much different if handed over to the closest science-phobic, ex-English-major political or general assignment reporter?
Which goes to suggest that a great follow up and parallel to this latest Pew survey would be to do a survey of journalists on their perceptions of science and its relationship to society. You might as well throw in Congressional staffers too. Sounds like a worthy grant proposal. ;-)
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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