That was a bit of a stretch to anyone who thought about it. Holes in rocks can look like lots of things.
An NPR blogger tackles the aftermath, and mentions CBS and ABC, but mostly focuses on the Fox News handling of the story because, you know, Republicans don't believe in global warming like progressives (NPR employees and writers and listeners) do so they deserve extra special attention for being fooled.
It would be easy to compare and contrast Fox's inability to see the scientific holes in this story with their editorial penchant for dismissing climate science.Let's see, everyone in media was fooled but Fox was extra fooled? Consider me skeptical about that. Oops, you can't be skeptical and write at NPR.
Adam Frank, the astrophysicist writing the piece in the NPR blog, then says it was a failure of journalism. That I agree on, though his solution is all wrong. He says the media needs more science journalists and that bloggers do not yet fill that need when in fact it was bloggers first to debunk the story.
And science journalists have been drummed out of existence because, as I have discussed before, they stopped being journalists. The public expects journalists to be trusted guides on complex issues so when a mainstream 'journalist' takes the chance to gush "Mr. President" over and over after the election of Pres. Obama, or science journalists spend a decade fawning over scientists instead of asking awkward questions about grey literature listed as data, the public will stop paying attention. And then journalists get fired. No one fires journalists people read.
It's easy to just say there should be an employment mandate for science journalists - NPR does not have to live within its means, it gets $450 million just from the federal government so they have a business model that allows for writers no one reads - but what really needs to happen is for science journalists this decade to do less cheerleading, less advocacy and more journalism.
He calls it 'investigative reporting' but really, the hype machine among astronomers is always going full steam and the 'science journalists' out there still never call them on it in even a casual sense. It doesn't take any investigation to see how many articles get hyped by researchers and their expertise is the reason for mainstream coverage.
Asking the awkward questions science journalists have forgotten how to ask is the most pro-science thing we can do, because that means the public will know trusted guides looking into complex issues still exist.