Our Blog

Anti-GMO researchers used science publication to manipulate the press

Very little of the public gets their information directly from scientists or the publications they write. Instead, most of us rely on accounts in the media, which means reporters play a key role in highlighting and filtering science for the public. And—through embargoed material, press releases, and personal appeals—journals and institutions vie for press attention as a route to capturing the public’s imagination.

This system doesn’t always work smoothly. Just this year, we’ve seen a university promote a crazed theory of everything and researchers and journals combine to rewrite the history of science in order to promote their new results. But these unfortunate events are relatively minor compared to a completely cynical manipulation of the press that happened last week.

In this case, the offenders appear to be the scientists themselves. After getting a study published that raised questions about the safety of genetically modified food (GMOs), the researchers provided advanced copies to the press only if they signed an agreement that meant they could not consult outside experts. A live press conference and the first wave of press appeared before outside experts could weigh in—and many of them found the study to be seriously flawed.

Click here to read more from this September 24, 2012 ars technica article by John Timmer.

Tags: , , ,

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!