We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to beat the media in the climate street fight

by Simon L. Lewis from Nature News

This scientist recalls his battle with mainstream media over reports that incorrectly used his statements to support climate change skepticism. He therefore asks... 
So what should scientists do when reporting quality falls off a cliff? Earlier this year, I was seriously misrepresented by a newspaper and thrown into a political storm. Rather than take it lying down, I set the record straight. It has been an odd journey, and I think there are lessons for how we scientists should deal with the media.
He then provides the details of his battle with the media and then offers suggestions to scientists on how to handle media reporters in the future.
Do your research. What is the reporter's track record? Anticipate that every sentence you say or write may be dissected and interpreted in the least charitable manner possible. And if things go wrong, seek advice from public-relations experts, and where necessary, media lawyers.
How many scientists have time to do that? And I don't think in the end one can ever defeat corporate media's role in reporting events that suits the interests of the ruling capitalist class. It seems to me that the only real solution is to boycott those media corporations who violate journalistic standards and report only to those who abide by them.