Friday 9 January 2009

'lazy and deceptive'

On 1 January 2009 the Daily Telegraph published an article headlined 'Greenhouse gases could have caused an ice age, claim scientists'. The article quite inaccurately quoted Professor Ian Fairchild. He has tried to correct this. He wrote to the paper. His letter hasn't been published. So he tried online. The science writer Ben Goldacre reports:

'Prof Fairchild has tried to post comments on the article which flatly misrepresents his own research, twice, but his comments have been rejected by the Telegraph’s online comment moderators, while 23 other comments have appeared.'

One comment, following Goldacre's post, gives the link to the Press Complaints Commission. It's here.*

Another comment, this time on Deltoid adds:

'I tried to post a comment at the 'Telegraph' asking if it's true that Fairchild's comments had been blocked. Nothing has appeared...'

A few months ago, the Telegraph reviewed Goldacre's book Bad Science and praised its 'crusade against lazy and deceptive writing about science'.

*The first three pars in the PCC's code of practice are:

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

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