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Crossposted from Failbook...

There is this pervasive belief in news media that all stories, no matter what the topic, have two viewpoints--no more, no less.

This is fallacious, because the world is NOT a black and white place. You have as many viewpoints as you have people and you know what they say, opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one. So if we have a topic like, say, global warming, there is going to be a wide spectrum of viewpoints on this issue. Cutting it down to two is hardly fair and balanced.

But to stay on the example of global warming, not every opinion is worthwhile. When you have a topic that is purely scientific, it's not worthwhile to drag out some moron who feels that global warming is a myth, because he felt that this winter was "pretty cold." A scientist has facts, studies and data. The idiot on the "other side" has anecdotes and little else.

Personal anecdotes are not admissible in court or in peer-reviewed science journals. Why should they be admissible in news media, which is supposed to be bringing us factual information? Ratings are more important than integrity.

To go on about my distaste of the mainstream media, I read an article detailing the results of a long-term, 20-year study following the lives of a number of lesbian parents and their offspring. The objective was to determine if having two same-sex parents are detrimental to the development of children. The children were interviewed at regular intervals, and the kids were shown to be happier than the kids in the control group. It was hypothesized that because lesbian parents are incapable of accidental pregnancy, tend to be older when they conceive, and have to put forth so much effort to have kids, that they are more attentive and smarter parents than average. These are reasonable conclusions derived from solid data, obtained in line with the Scientific Method.

The article would have been lovely, except then they started quoting some extremist nutjob, doing her best to discredit the study, by attacking the funding and citing the Naturalistic Fallacy. Her arguments were completely anecdotal and based on nothing but her own outdated wordview and prejudices. But, CNN obviously thought their article would appear too one-sided if they didn't "give a voice to the other side." Sometimes the "other side" shouldn't have a voice. We don't give the point of view of the local KKK whenever an African American person is in the news, so why should we have an undereducated non-scientist involved in an article on a scientific study? Why not bring in two scientists? I guess the scientists would probably agree with each other, and it wouldn't result in the screaming match that brings in the ratings.

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sleepykelvina

July 2011

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