Popular Science Reporting
- Incentives for promotion/popular promotion for academics and universities with respect to press coverage
- Incentives for science reporters/popular book publishers for what to write stories on, and what to publish
As one might expect, there is a strong filter for overstatement of results, grandstanding, pandering, and controversy.
As might be expected, constant flip-flopping on issues such as diet undermines people’s view of the scientific results as facts. This volatility of reported facts translates into skeptical views on evolution, global warming, vaccines, and similar issues where science is relatively conclusive.
Indeed, even within those fields, dishonest reporting undermines the credibility of science. We see articles disproving older predictions of global warming, where academics sought coverage by overstating results.
This gives a genuine reason to distrust the scientific establishment as an authority.
Consider how we might address issues around science reporting and publicity, both with regards to newspaper reporting, and with regards to book publishing and publicity. Consider both reporters’ incentives and those of scientists.