May 16, 2014 9:29 pm

This Sunday Night, a Bit of Honest Journalism… for a Change

Miles O'Brien and Walter Cronkite. Image Credit:

Walter Cronkite and Miles O’Brien covering STS-95 on October 29, 1998. Image Credit:

Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Do journalists care about accuracy?”

Miles O’Brien: “Such a quaint notion. I remember the time when we actually had facts and checked them…”

That’s how Part 2 of Reporting on Science starts.

By the time it’s over, we’ve gotten even more frank, honest discussion about what’s wrong with journalism than there was in Part 1.

Here’s something else veteran science reporter Miles tells Neil: “The goals of true journalism will be anathema, dare I say mutually exclusive, to the goals of corporate America. There will always be a conflict there.”

From reading many of your comments about Part 1, there is clearly anger and frustration about how the mainstream media avoids and ignores science. And that’s from our roles as outsiders, as “audience.”

When you listen to Neil and Miles, it becomes quite clear that it’s even more frustrating from the inside. Like when Miles describes trying to report years ago at CNN that there was no longer any debate about climate change, and CNN told him his report was a journalistic aberration, that it didn’t include the other side.

It gets even worse, when he describes how CNN “pink-slipped” their entire science and technology unit because “after all, what do we know about the Kardashians.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, however.

Miles talks about the hopeful trend of the rise of boutique journalism, especially when it comes to science reporting. About how technology has empowered reporters and in some cases set them free from the need to be governed by money and corporate pressure. And about how there is still journalistic integrity, in the family run newspapers and the non-profits like PBS and ProPublica.

But the real tragedy of it all is that we are in the midst of an explosion of scientific discovery, where “breaking news” is happening throughout the universe, from the furthest distances the Hubble can see to the most infinitesimal particles our instruments can detect… and the mainstream media is too busy to spare three minutes to cover it.

Reporting on Science (Part 2) with Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-host Chuck Nice and Miles O’Brien concludes on our website and on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and TuneIn this Sunday night, May 18, at 7:00 PM ET.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons


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