Accuracy in Media

Business Insider fearmongers in a new article, targeting children and the young, by telling them that the world is dying and that all rainwater is now unsafe to drink. The whole world, nowhere should you catch a raindrop on your tongue.

This is, of course, nonsense, but that’s what they’ve run with, saying, “Rainwater is no longer safe to drink anywhere on Earth, due to ‘forever chemicals’ linked to cancer, study suggests.”

There are two major problems here, one that Business Insider has misunderstood the science here, the other that it seems to be paying up the problem to scare the heck out of everyone. And as other science shows, scaring the heck out of everyone just isn’t a good idea. Here’s Nature:

“Climate change is causing distress, anger and other negative emotions in children and young people worldwide, a survey of thousands of 16- to 25-year-olds has found. This ‘eco-anxiety’ has a negative impact on respondents’ daily lives, say the researchers who conducted the survey, and is partly caused by the feeling that governments aren’t doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

The truth, of course, is that vast amounts are being done to deal with climate change. It is, instead, the constant harping on in the media that is scaring the children. You know, thanks journalists, for scaring the kids. National Geographic makes much the same point:

“Before marrying in 2017, the couple wrestled for nearly a decade with the ethical quandary of whether to bring another human onto an already crowded planet. Katie argued for raising a climate ally, somebody who would fight for a healthy planet, but Aaron feared for the future their child would face.”

Not just the children, but the parents of the next generation of them. Scaring people out of the purpose of life, that be fruitful and multiply, is not known to be a feature of functioning journalism. But that is what seems to be done here.

We also have that point that they’ve not understood the actual science here. The paper they refer to says that if the new EPA rules on allowable concentrations are true then no rainwater passes the test. But the new EPA standard isn’t in fact a standard. It’s an “interim” which is what they do while waiting for the actual science. All such standards being at least – note, at least – 100 times below the level which is thought to cause any damage. Oh, and the actual standard, when it arrives, “ The new advisories are likely lower than any final EPA drinking water standard will be for the same compounds. “

Our apologies there, we seem to have committed some journalism.

Business Insider ranks No. 18 in news and media publishers for the U.S. It gains some 102 million visits a month from that position. We think it should do better than it is in explaining such stories.

Scaring the children, scaring people out of having children, is not a valid function of journalism. What is is a valid function is checking the claims made in either a paper or a press release. How odd that we’re doing journalism and the 18th largest U.S. media outlet isn’t.




Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.

Comments

Comments are turned off for this article.