A curious Gulf oil spill coverage angle

I’ve been seeing a proliferation of stories recently about ordinary people coming up with all kinds of different ideas for how to cap BP’s oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

These stories are really puzzling to me, because obviously news organizations are in no way qualified to judge the engineering and scientific merits of any one idea. And yet, they often report on various cute, serious, funny, ‘ingenious’ proposals without any scientific vetting. Often, there’s not even a scientist or engineer interviewed as to the merits of any one particular idea.

This seems irresponsible. Would we report on cancer treatment the same way, for example? I don’t think so. I certainly hope not.

For the people affected by this spill, it’s a very serious story – and should be treated with the utmost respect and airtight scrutiny. Cute stories such as this one on Fox News have no place in this context. They’re akin to giving cancer patients false hope by reporting on cancer treatment ‘breakthroughs.’ It’s irresponsible.

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2 thoughts on “A curious Gulf oil spill coverage angle

  1. Hi Nova,
    Just discovered your website, great work! This post reminds me of an AP story I wrote in Florida about people’s crazy ideas to weaken hurricanes. I just looked at it again (found it online here: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jun/03/news/mn-5845) and I’m relieved that I led with the scientists and didn’t make it seem like the ideas had any credibility. That Fox News clip isn’t newsworthy at all — my favorite part is when the boy yawns. Not even he finds it interesting!

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