Obsessed: 89% Of Washington Post ‘Science’ March Stories One-Sided

Posted on Thu 04/27/2017 by

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By Aly Nielsen ~

When you love something, you can’t stop talking about it. A quick look at The Washington Post shows it loved the March for Science.

The Post published 18 separate stories mentioning the March for Science since Jan. 24, (when the march website launched) and April 25. Eighty-nine percent of those never quoted anyone questioning the march. Only two stories included the perspectives of people who asked “whether scientists should be marching in the first place.”

The rest of The Post’s coverage gleefully exclaimed the founding fathers “would love the March for Science,” gushed the “March for Science was a moment made for Bill Nye” and raved “this public engagement is unprecedented for the scientific community.”

Several stories also slammed President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts, saying the cuts “seem likely to energize scientists and students,” and “have added some urgency to the March for Science.”

Most of the paper’s science march coverage (13 of 18 stories) happened between April 20 and April 25.

Two days prior to the event, the Post’s editorial board hyperbolically claimed, “The March for Science could save lives.”

“Many of those organizing and participating in the March for Science say it is a statement of belief in the power of empirical discovery, and not an anti-Trump protest,” the editorial board wrote, “It is fine to remain nonpartisan, but that should not mean being blissfully ignorant of the realities of politics.”

The day after the march, Post columnist Matthew Hutson gushed, “To many young people, science seems like a solitary and humorless pursuit dominated by white men. Psychologists say the march could challenge those stereotypes by showing that scientists are a diverse and passionate group of people who sometimes escape the laboratory.”

Even the two stories that quoted questioning scientists, only one came near objectivity — and the dissenting scientists still were buried near the end of the stories.

The Post’s first Science March story, published Feb. 5, cited a New York Times opinion piece by ecologist Robert Young who argued the march would “trivialize and politicize” science.

A later story by Kaplan, published April 23, cited eight different individuals. But only one (a cancer researcher) questioned it.

A third story from Kaplan merely said “Some scientists in recent weeks expressed concern that the march would politicize the broader scientific enterprise and signal an alignment with left-leaning ideologies.” But The Post quickly countered that the march website claimed “silence isn’t an option.”

Methodology: MRC Business searched The Washington Post for the phrase “March for Science” using Nexis. The search (excluding Washington Post blogs) resulted in 21 unique stories. Of those, MRC Business excluded three stories which merely mentioned the march in passing.

Aly Nielsen contributes posts at the NewsBusters site where she is  a staff writer/research analyst for MRC Business.

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