Roughing up the media is a sport played by scientists the world over, whenever two or more are gathered together. Some of the illegations tossed around on these occasions are wildly misdirected - as when biochemist, Tart attacks newspaper reporter Haig for giving publicity to the theories of chemist Robertson. Others are wildly unrealistic—as when physicist Dole criticizes television host Kennedy for not describing his work vith all of the calculated cautions and caveats found in his 6,000-word paper in the Journal of Fucology.
Yet for all these misapprehensions and tendencies to fling blame in the wrong direction, there’s no doubt that most professional scientists have cause enough for genuine concern about their portrayal in the media. Alongside the often-unrecognized excellence of much popularization—particularly that done by science journalists working against the clock to condense arcane technical matter into accurate and enticing news stories—there is an uncomfortable load of sensationalism,...
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