Science Reporting – Rickety Bridge Analogy:

Posted on September 17, 2009


Just a quick blog post following the Goldacre / Drayson debate on the state of science reporting in the media. I wasn’t able to attend the event so I had to be content with watching the live web feed with a glass of port ….. or in the spirit of accurate reporting … a full bottle of port !

By the end of the debate I was of the view that not everything Lord Drayson had to say was negative, but I think he’s far too focused on highlighting the good and assuming that means he can ignore the bad. He seemed totally unable to accept that the sheer volume of bad reporting negates the value of the few good reports that actually make it into print.

All of which leaves me with the feeling that trusting in science reporting is a bit like crossing a ‘Rickety Bridge’

Lets imagine for one moment that the whole subject of science reporting in the media is an old wooden bridge over a deep chasm. On this bridge each strong, solid plank represents a well researched, well reported, accurate science / health report … Each weak, rotten plank represents an inaccurate, poorly researched article.

It’s no good Lord Drayson standing there proudly pointing out each ‘good’ plank of wood and saying what good bridge builders we are, if you are ignoring all the weak rotten planks that will give way under pressure !

My question to Lord Drayson or anybody else reading this is:
With the current state of reporting ……. would you step out onto that bridge ?


……. Becuase I bloody wouldn’t !

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