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:
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.