July 21, 2021

SUFB 1186: Is the media driving a wedge between science and the ocean?

SUFB 1186: Is the media driving a wedge between science and the ocean?

This episode is a bit of a rant that I have been thinking about for a while. Over the past few months, I've noticed that media companies (video, audio, and written forms) have been putting out content that either ignores science or drives a wedge...


This episode is a bit of a rant that I have been thinking about for a while. Over the past few months, I've noticed that media companies (video, audio, and written forms) have been putting out content that either ignores science or drives a wedge between science and the public. 

The film Seaspiracy told the audience and non-profit organizations that worked to conserve the ocean were actually working to support overfishing. Obviously a false statement; however, much of the audience still quote the movie four months later. 

The New York Times published an article, where the author conducted their own "study" to determine whether Subway (the sandwich company) used real tuna in their tuna sandwiches. The study was not scientific and the results were inconclusive (stated in the article); however, the headline read "Subway does not use real tuna in their sandwiches." 

Discovery is releasing a new program during Shark Week this summer (2021): a reality show that is searching for the next shark expert. An expert can be defined in many ways, but this "expert" search is not based on the scientific knowledge each contestant has. It is based on whether or not they can swim with sharks without getting bitten. Now, there are shark diving experts who are amazing and advocate for sharks, but many of them are thought to be scientists who conduct experiments, which can lead to misinformation. 

Finally, during the 2021 Shark Week, there was an episode that aired with the people for the Jackass franchise. During the show, one of the members were doing a stunt into a body of water where sharks had aggregated. The man fell and got bitten. The rest of the episode was about how traumatized the man was for being bitten; even though, the stunt was not necessary and led to him being bitten. 

Many media companies are sacrificing science for clicks and views while misleading their audience. I am very concerned as to where Science Communication is directed on large platforms. 

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