Challenge to the Arizona Daily Star – get the facts

The ever thinning Arizona Daily Star uses wire service stories to fill its pages between advertisements. But some of those stories are very loose with the facts. Earlier this year I asked in a post: Do newspapers have a responsibility to check wire-service stories? Within that post I gave several examples of stories, printed by the Star, that were not factual. The stories mainly dealt with  environmental science or medical research.

Even though I have had email correspondence with the Star since that post, trying to get an answer, the Star seems to be pretending they don’t understand the question.

The Star is also guilty of content bias in my opinion. For instance, on September 20, 2012, the Star printed a story with the headline: “Arctic ice shrinks to all-time low; global warming cited as the cause.” There were some factual problems with that story which I addressed in my post The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw.” The content bias problem is this: so far the Arizona Daily Star has not printed the news that Antarctic sea ice reached the greatest maximum extent (since beginning of the satellite era, the same metric for the claim of Arctic low extent). According to NOAA data, all time Antarctic sea ice extent record was set on September 22, 2012. Why has the Star not printed this story?

They could have found the information by going to Cryosphere Today and looking at this graph:

Antarctic-ice

Both the New York Times and Washington Post reported the story as did Science News, and Forbes, and many other publications.

The nature of science stories printed by the Star emphasize gloom and doom.  This may reflect a political bias at the Star or it may indicate that the Star staff is too scientifically illiterate to recognize a story that should be questioned.   In regards to wire service stories, I suppose the Star will claim that it assumes the stories are accurate and that the Star does not have the resources to check the stories.  That may be true, but that is a cop out; it is a disservice to readers.

So the challenge to the Arizona Daily Star is to answer these questions:

1) What  is your responsibility to your readers to present accurate stories?

2)  Why do you have this apparent content bias?  The Arctic-Antarctic news is an example.

I ask these questions publicly because I could not get an answer when I contacted the Star staff privately.

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3 comments

  1. Essentially the same questions I’ve posed to the PBS NewsHour (and other journalists I’ve run across since, including the Arizona Republic), on the issue of global warming.

    One of the big mistakes Al Gore made when he invented the internet (note for those of you living in Rio Linda, what I just said there was a joke), is that he allowed it to be word-searchable. We, the average TV viewers, radio listeners, and newspaper readers peruse a lot of stories about such issues, but we are not idiots. It is hard to miss stories that contradict each other, and not being content to simply let that slide or make up conjectures about why one side is dead wrong, we go searching into the internet for clarifications. The global warming issue in particular is a virtual ocean of contradictory scientific assessments, but our friends in the mainstream media continue to very demonstratively tell only one side of the story while making comically unsupportable claims that they either have already given too much ‘fair balance’ to skeptic scientists, or that such skeptics are not deserving of consideration. Emphasis on the word “unsupportable” there.

    So, what’s our response? We continue to challenge the MSM to defend and explain their position. For just one of my attempts at this, please see: “Will MSM Look into the Global Warming Abyss and Find Their Character?” http://cdn.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2011/06/07/Will-MSM-Look-into-the-Global-Warming-Abyss-and-Find-Their-Character (some links are broken in that old article, but are repaired and functioning here: http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/thread-1939-post-11632.html#pid11632 )

    But wait for it, the utterly predictable critics will chime in here, telling readers to ignore Jonathan, he’s ignorant, politically biased, a shill of the fossil fuel industry, out of his league, not a climatologist, the debate is settled in science journals not in the media, on and on. Point being, they want readers to trust those assertions and not attempt to look up this information for themselves. Those of us on the skeptic side have long since advised everybody to compare ALL sides and consider everything they can in order to make an informed decision.

    Now, does anybody notice the glaring problem with one of these approaches?

  2. Does anyone actually read the Star anymore? They are good at reporting the massive crime we have here and trailer and cheap apartments we have here. Since Rob O’Dell left to write for the Arizona Republic there isnt much to read in the Star.
    O’Dell for those of you who dont read the paper was the reporter who exposed the criminal acts of stealing the $230,000,000 of the Rio Nuevo funds.
    I would never look to the Star for anything on science.
    Keep on them Jonathan!

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