Joined: May 2002
This comes up often in Ev/Cre debates, basically "where the press got it wrong". I just discovered that there is whole journal devoted to the topic of science & the public:
E.g. here's an interesting article:
Newspaper coverage of maverick science: creating controversy through balancing
James W Dearing
Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, USA
Abstract. How do journalists portray the ideas of maverick scientists to the general public? Are mavericks portrayed as credible scientific sources? Do the stories written by journalists function to merely translate maverick theories for nonscientific audiences, or do they more often transform those maverick theories into the realm of scientific controversies? This study hypothesized answers to these questions by analysing how journalists wrote about three maverick theories: (1) a 1990 earthquake prediction, (2) an alternative theory about the cause of AIDS, and (3) cold fusion. A content analysis of 393 news articles in 26 US newspapers and a mailed survey of the journalists who wrote those stories suggest that scientific theories which are believed to be credible by a minority of scientists may be lent credibility in mass media stories, even though the journalists themselves thought that the maverick scientists lacked credibility. Implications for the communication of risk through the mass media are discussed.