What do Jennifer Margulis and Fox News have in common?


One of the most depressing aspects of our depressingly dysfunctional political landscape is the corruption of journalism.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, journalism is supposed to encompass:

Test[ing] the accuracy of information from all sources and exercis[ing] care to avoid inadvertent error.

Today it means: staking out an ideological position and ignoring anything that controverts it.

Hence self-proclaimed “journalists” of the anti-science Left like anti-vaccionationist Jennifer Margulis and self-proclaimed “journalists” on the Right like those at Fox News have a lot more in common than either would be pleased to acknowledge.

  • Both start with the ideologically preferred conclusion and work backward.
  • Both make no attempt to avoid journalistic bias.
  • Both rely heavily on the claims of “experts” vetted for ideological purity.
  • Both refuse to mention, let alone address, inconvenient facts that undermine preferred conclusions.

Surprisingly, both rely on similar claims.

1. It’s a conspiracy!

The folks at Fox News are always sure that there is some conspiracy behind most everything they report. It’s a conspiracy to take away our rights! It’s a conspiracy to encourage socialism! It’s a conspiracy to institute One World Government!

Margulis and her buddies on the anti-science Left are equally convinced of conspiracies. It’s conspiracy on the part of drug companies! It’s a conspiracy on the part of infant formula manufacturers! It’s a conspiracy in which government is concluding with Big Medicine!

2. It’s the government!

According to the Right, the government is trying to deprive people of their weapons in preparation for a total takeover. The government is trying to promote “secular humanism.” Heck, the government is engaged in a war on Christmas.

According to the Left, the government is trying to dupe people into buying, eating and injecting themselves with “chemicals” because they are in cahoots with industry.

3. Don’t criticize my God!

The God of the Right is the god of traditional religion. Anything that does not comport with the perfection, wisdom and infallibility of that god must be denied.

The God of the Left is Nature. Not nature as it really exists, but a gentle, benevolent and perfect “Nature” as imagined by those fail to recognize the incongruity of extolling “Nature” while simultaneously living in huge homes with central heating and airconditioning, Wi-Fi, and professional grade espresso makers, communicating their “message” using the Internet, video, photography and smart phones.

4. I’m being persecuted!

The Right is sure that they are being persecuted. Even when government was in the control of a Republican President, Republican Congress, and conservative Supreme Court, the Right was still bleating about persecution.

The anti-science Left is also constantly claiming persecution, but that is often in an attempt to inflate their own importance. No one is persecuting homebirth advocates, AIDS denialists and vaccine rejectionists. Most people don’t even know they exist.

The end result of this “journalism” is a country where the majority of people don’t believe in evolution, the Congress legislates against reproductive rights, and vaccine preventable diseases are once again claiming the lives of the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.