And Monsanto is not easy to like. But politics, as with likability, is subjective. And when politics and science mix - as they often do in the modern period where government wants to control basic research - things can get messy for political reporters who are used to equivalent sides that are engaged in spin.
Keith Kloor at Discover takes CNN's Jake Tapper to task for doing what a lot of journalists do - even science journalists - and accepting numbers about causes as fact while trying to be balanced in lots of ways. So if anti-science groups say they had 2 million people in protests, well, just go with it. Maybe put a little disclaimer at the end. Yet what really bugged Kloor was that Tapper didn't even do any basic fact-finding, instead using a paper by Gilles-Eric Seralini claiming that GMOs caused cancer in rats to promote a science basis for controversy. A paper which, to-date, showed no data. 15 seconds of searching on Google would have caused most journalists to scratch a paragraph using Seralini as opposing science.
In science, there often aren't two sides to a story. We don't write about a fossil discovery here by also noting that a fringe religious group disputes fossils exist at all, or that they were planted a few thousand years ago as a test of faith. Why wouldn't Tapper use the same critical approach to science that he used about the Obama administration scandals when most of American media still had too many thrills running up their legs to see facts?
Politics is easy. Science is hard. But he's a good journalist, he'll get better.
FrankenJournalism By Keith Kloor, Discover
How did Tapper respond to the criticism? He said Kloor was making a subjective assertion, which was a bit of irony since the paper he linked to for false balance was nothing but subjective assertions - by a known crackpot.