A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, February 07, 2005

'Michael Crichton ate my polar bear!'.....

Welcome to the tabloid horror movie that is The Independent..... meanwhile, back on Earth, of course, polar bears are thriving.....

Is The Independent striving hard to become the very worst newspaper in Britain? I have rarely read such dire stuff as this: 'Apocalypse now: how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth' (The Independent, February 7). It's a disgrace. How on Earth can serious, critical science survive with crass and uncritical reporting like this? It is not even worthy of a genuine tabloid or red top, where, at least, the headline would have been: 'Michael Crichton ate my polar bear!'

Meanwhile, of course, on the real planet Earth, polar bears are doing quite well, thank you: 'Polar bears defy extinction threat' (The Scotsman, February 7):
"According to new research, the numbers of the giant predator have grown by between 15 and 25 per cent over the last decade.

Some authorities on Arctic wildlife even claim that hunting, and not global warming, has been the real cause of the decrease in polar bear numbers in areas where the species is in decline.

A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: 'We’re seeing an increase in bears that’s really unprecedented, and in places where we’re seeing a decrease in the population it’s from hunting, not from climate change [my italic].'"

We must surely call "time" on the fatuous reporting of climate change in The Independent. British journalism deserves better.

See Crumb Trail for an excellent comment on this blog: 'Incremental dramatization' (Crumb Trail, February 7).

Philip, rarely arroused, but this is unacceptable. Dinner, and a full-gooseberry sauvignon blanc, to calm me down. And you all know what I'll be lighting my fire with this evening..... grate choice!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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