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Letter: The News should not publish those who push false science

The News should not publish those who push false science

I want to echo the appeals made by Margaret Sullivan of the New York Times and this week, Katrina Vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post to eliminate false balance in the media. Giving crazy notions the same credibility as established knowledge hurts us all. The media should stop giving space to those few outliers who deny established science. They might believe that the world is flat but stop giving them equal editorial space to spread their nonsense.

There is no climate “debate.” Ninety-eight percent of climate scientists agree that climate changes are happening and are caused by man. Giving the 1 or 2 percent outliers equal space in the newspaper is not balance; it perpetuates false information. Ergo: it’s false balance.

In the 1950s the tobacco industry hired scientists to produce bogus “scientific” reports casting doubt that cigarettes caused cancer. The media swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. Those false stories created doubt that delayed the regulation of cigarettes for a generation. Countless Americans died because of that bogus science “debate.”

Recently the BBC made an editorial decision not to publicize the views of those outliers who deny established science. The Los Angeles Times recently decided not to publish the letters of science deniers. The Buffalo News should do the same. We need to give credibility and respect to science.

We’ve dumbed-down quite enough. Spreading rumors, myths and falsehoods helps no one. Let’s stop perpetuating ignorance and stick with the truth.

Bob Catalano