Anti-science beliefs among the public? Check.
Scientists willing to call them out? Check.
Scientists and science media noting the common political affiliation of anti-science offenders? Not check.
The anti-GMO movement has far more representation on the left than the anti-hESC contingent ever had on the right. Ditto for evolution. Only global warming comes even close.
Yet during the last decade virtually no discussion of anti-science beliefs failed to mention that Republicans were doing more of it on those issues. Only a few percentage points separate Republicans and Democrats when it comes to evolution acceptance but evolution denial was considered a Republican position. And science media is so resistant to mentioning politics unless it is Republicans that they blame Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana for a law passed by a Democratic legislature, that opens the door for teaching creationism in schools. Yet when a Democratic Governor in Kentucky used taxpayer money to help a Creationist theme park/museum in that state, it was dismissed by science media as not being anti-science, but 'about jobs.'
Pick virtually any position and the same science media that would call it anti-science were it a belief held by the right fails to notice the political demographic when it is on the left. Senator Barbara Boxer and political allies have now repeatedly tried to get warning labels on GMOs - and are doing it yet again - but who mentions that it is Democrats leading the charge, both the elites and among the public? The only time I saw the political affiliation of an anti-vaccination member of Congress was in 2012 during a CDC testimony - because a Republican said it. All of the Democrats claiming vaccines caused autism during that same hearing got no notice, nor had they ever. However, Michele Bachmann is repeatedly brought up as a Republican who thinks a vaccine caused mental retardation - the same thing 'evidence by anecdote' Democrats repeatedly use regarding 'Frankenfood'. Who was behind the effort to kill the NIH open access policy numerous times? A Democrat, though all scientists say they support open access no one (well, besides here) in science media called Democrats out for that.
What do anti-vaccination, anti-GMO and anti-energy people all share in common? In America, they all vote for the same political party. Not that you would know it, we are told instead that those beliefs are 'anti-corporation' rather than anti-science, and that they are bipartisan, even though in the anti-GMO effort only 2 Republicans are present. When 53 Democrats get 2 Republicans to tag along it is 'both parties' but if 49% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats dispute evolution, it is just Republicans that hate science.
The fix is in, and has been for a while. Scientists in academia don't know it, because they all know people who are somewhat right-wing, so they assume that is the case in science media as well.
But it isn't. Here is a challenge: Find 5 people in science media that are not proudly on the left.
Writing at Real Clear Science, Dr. Alex Berezow wonders if it will ever change. The public doesn't trust journalists, but there are still a lot of them employed. However, the public really does not trust science journalists and that lack of public engagement in corporate media is why those jobs have evaporated.
If American science media ever wants to be trusted guides for the public - the whole public - again, like they were a generation ago, it is time to 'ask the awkward questions' even when it is about Democrats.
- Anti-Science Republicans Versus Anti-Science Democrats: The Comparison
- Left, Right? Science Shouldn't Be Worried Either Way
- No One Is Really Shocked That Ben & Jerry's Is Anti-Science: It's A Surprise Unilever Is
- Acceptance Of Evolution Is Far Higher Than Acceptance Of Other Biology
- What Democrats In Congress Can Learn From Anti-GMO Activist Mark Lynas About Science