DOESN’T ANYONE JUST REPORT THE FACTS ANYMORE?
I posted the other day all about the Volcano Under the North Pole. The story had been out for some time but word started getting spread on June 27. On that same day came the headline “This Summer We May See the First Ice-Free North Pole” from the Associated Press. The story is based on a report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That report came out on June 3, yet the Associated Press waited to report on it until June 27. Makes you say…hmmmmm. The first sentence in the article quotes a leading scientist with his guess that there is a 50-50 chance that the North Pole becomes ice-free this summer. Later, you find that it says slightly less than 50-50 chance. Let’s don’t let a little adverb get in the way of a catchy first sentence. Later, you find a leading scientist who puts the odds at 1 in 4. Why wasn’t he the first guy mentioned? Why was he buried in the story? Why wasn’t that the headline? BTW…the 50-50 stuff isn’t found in the NSIDC report either…only the AP story.
You also won’t find this quote from the real report in the story : “This year, much of the first-year ice is farther north than normal, and those northern areas receive weaker solar radiation. So, northern first-year ice may be less vulnerable to melt than first-year ice in typical locations” Nor will you find in the story that the report says that in May 2008 there was actually more polar ice than May 2007. The report does say that there appears to be a more rapid ice melt going on. What you do find in the AP story though is the paraphrase from a scientist that there is nothing scientifically significant about the North Pole…that the biggest problem appears to be concern about Santa’s home. Huh? If that’s the case, then why is this a story? That sentence deserves more examination and questions, but the writer chose not to, I guess. Maybe he was afraid of the answers. Or maybe he wants to scare the kids.
The story about the Arctic Undersea Volcano was first reported by the National Science Foundation in 2004. I cited several other sources that have come out since then. Yet…you won’t find any mention of the volcano in the AP Story. Guess the reporter didn’t know about it…or maybe he didn’t do his homework. ..or maybe he did know about it and decided to leave it out of the story. It just clutters things up, right? But, to be fair, that the report doesn’t talk about the volcanic activity is perhaps justification. But, a question as to why the report doesn’t mention the vulcanology going on seems vital…that is if you want the whole story. If you read the report that is the supposed underlying source of the story, you will find other things that are just a wee bit different than what the AP writer wrote and other things left out all together.
The trouble with journalism today is that there are not any Joe Fridays out there…people who want just the facts. They jazz things up, leave out adverbs, neglect to report the entire story and put eye-catching headlines.
It’s not the NSIDC report that I have a problem with. I mean, it is what it is…the ice is melting. I would be curious though about their opinion regarding the undersea volcano and how much of a factor that may be. But, it’s the writer’s story that is problematic. In my view, either this person is not very bright or qualified to be reporting this story or he is just plain pushing an agenda instead of reporting the facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts. In this case he thinks that 50-50 is the same as slightly less than 50-50. Which is it? He’ ll probably never tell.
Here is the real report and see if you don’t see a difference between it and the AP story.