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Bad news reporting (Bad SF in journalism!)

 Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote:
 > In article <prKPrbAZ$>
 >   "Lisanne" writes:
 > >
 > > Now this research was quoted in one of our national papers a few days
 > > ago! Tell me this isn't in the realms of the paranormal!
 > >
 > Which of our national newspapers? Even the broadsheets are pretty bad
 > at the reporting of science.
 > Anecdotal evidence: a few years ago a basal simian fossil (that is
 > something close to the ancestry of apes and old-world monkeys) was
 > found in North Africa. It was described in one of the broadsheets as
 > having a prehensile tail. This struck me at strange at the time, as,
 > AFAIK, prehensile tails are a derived trait of new-world monkeys. A
 > few weeks later the relevant issue of Nature circulated into my local
 > library, and I discovered that what had been found was a partial skull.
 My personal favourite piece of appalling research in news reports was last year's "FLESH 
 EATING VIRUS!!!" headlines, when a "new strain" of "virus" was "eating the flesh" of 
 "hundreds" of unfortunate Britons.
 It was, in fact, (i) a bacterium rather than a virus (ii) not new at all - it has been 
 known almost as long as bacteriology has been a science (iii) only caused tissue 
 necrosis in rare cases (ii) affected a little over five people in England. The story ran 
 for several days, without correction, in many news services, including supposedly 
 reputable services like the ABC (in Australia, not the US company) and the BBC. Why do 
 research when it'll only spoil a good headline?
 > Stewart Robert Hinsley             Managers are the servants of their staff
  Chris Lawson