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.

111 Responses to “What do Jennifer Margulis and Fox News have in common?”

  1. Luke Jones
    January 7, 2020 at 5:11 pm #

    Margulis presents plenty of research to support her claims. You seem to have made a straw man of her. This is not the way to intelligent argument. Where is the vax vs non-vax controlled safety study? Can you test a hypothesis without a control?

  2. SkepticalScientist
    June 5, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    What a load of crap! Margulis is anything but anti-science.
    Argue with her points instead of the ad hominem attack!

  3. June 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    It takes all kinds!

  4. Marguerita
    May 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    It’s been said already on this thread but – I love this blog and it’s a shame to throw such a divisive topic into the mix here. You could have chosen to compare Margulis to any number of historical examples of propaganda.

  5. Penguin0302
    May 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I blame “reality” shows and the glorification of socially and intellectually disfunctional “celebrities”: they’ve redefined media ratings like nothing ever before… news media included.

  6. JC422
    May 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I am a former journalist. My husband is currently a journalist. I would not consider Jennifer Margulis and Fox News to be true journalism. Just as anyone can say they are a “midwife,” anyone can say they are a “journalist.” Just as CPMs damage the profession of midwifery, people like this damage the profession of journalism.

  7. Ducky
    May 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Good post – time is tough for moderates. LOVE the new logo by the way!

  8. Lisa Miller
    May 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    This is why I am a moderate. We piss everyone off but we believe in logic and freedom of thought over woo woo and fairy tales.

    • Lisa Miller
      May 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      BTW, I used to be a climate change skeptic (not denialist, just unsure) until I had a conversation with folks here who provided me with the studies and information I needed to agree that there was indeed a link to humans an climate change. That is how true rational thinking goes. You are presented with the evidence, and you change your mind if it is compelling. I’m not ashamed to admit it )

    • May 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      I’m an evidence-based liberal. I reject the woo and religion as being equally invalid, but the evidence I’ve seen suggests to me that a strong welfare state back by high marginal progressive income taxes is probably the best way to go. Cooperation in the international arena is more likely to yield desired results than belligerence and bellows of American exceptionalism. Publicly funded education for all students, with a common core curriculum and well-paid teachers treated as professionals, is absolutely necessary for a functioning society.

      Note that strong welfare state does not mean strong state in all regards. Civil liberties are still absolutely crucial; control of one’s body and one’s privacy are important.

      • Lisa Miller
        May 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        I can see that. I really can. Education for sure. Everyone deserves a good education and everyone deserves health. It makes a happy and healthy work force.

      • KarenJJ
        May 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

        Big fan of universal health care here. We’d be stuffed (putting it politely) if I was in the US.

        • May 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

          Me too. I hate knowing that it only takes one bad accident or illness to completely ruin people’s lives here in the US.

        • Sue
          May 31, 2013 at 4:06 am #

          Me too, Karen. I’m a girl of the Left – especially when it comes to social justice. What I don’t like about the Left in Oz at the moment is that it seems to be very ideological and rather anti-intellectual.

          Reassuring, though, that our major parties are bi-partisan on vaccination and safety of birth. New powers just being given in NSW to regulate sCAM health practitioners – AVN in the sights! Quite a nice symmetry – it was a whinge by Meryl Dorey about Amy’s blog that led me here in the first place – now amongst friends!

          • KarenJJ
            May 31, 2013 at 10:30 am #

            “New powers just being given in NSW to regulate sCAM health practitioners – AVN in the sights! ”

            Excellent news! AVN brought it upon themselves.

      • auntbea
        May 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

        Granted, international relations is not my specialty, but I am fairly sure there isn’t any good evidence that cooperation is more effective than belligerence, Doesn’t mean it’s not true, but I am pretty sure that is not something we “know.”

        • May 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

          It’s … complicated. We can’t say we know it with certainty, but we can say that we have certain national interests, other countries have their national interests, and these interests overlap sometimes and conflict sometimes.

          Our goal is, of course, to meet as many of our self-defined national interests as possible while “giving up ground” as little as possible. In negotiations in general, which seems to carry over to complex international negotiations, that means identifying common interests and playing them up, trying to keep relative if not absolute advantage (we both give something up instead of only one gives something up), and knowing when to walk away. Cooperation doesn’t mean not angling for advantage, using our military strength to advantage (though less actual invasions/wars would be nice), or even dominating the conversation because of our economic might. It does mean not expecting to get our way every time, making proclamations of “my way or the highway”, and generally behaving like assholes to the rest of the world. It does mean listening to both our allies and enemies sometimes, and even acknowledging when they have a point.

          • auntbea
            May 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

            Yes, I know it’s complicated. And also hard to study. Which is why I suggested that it is optimistic to not only have a (one-sentence!) conclusion about what diplomatic strategy is most effective, but claim that it is “evidence-based.”

          • May 30, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

            Fair enough. That was my concentration in school, so I did a lot of study on international politics, international negotiations, and negotiations in general. That definitely doesn’t come through in just one sentence, though! The evidence is shaky but suggestive, I think I would call it. The US seems to get better outcomes both for itself and the world in general when it sits down at the table and works with allies instead of alone. As you say, IR is quite difficult to study and/or model effectively, so a lot of our (very incomplete) data is open to interpretation.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      I can not resist. I’m sorry, but you set yourself up for that one. No political ideology is free from the lure of woo.

      • Lisa Miller
        May 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

        Touche’ Nym, Touche’ 😛

      • Eddie
        May 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

        There is hardly a conversation on the internet without at least one xkcd comic that applies. The catch-all bucket is this one: http://xkcd.com/386/

        • Sue
          May 31, 2013 at 4:02 am #

          That’s my favourite too, Eddie – for obvious reasons!

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          May 31, 2013 at 10:00 am #

          But I can’t stop now, they’ll just keep being wrong if I do…

    • Eddie
      May 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      I used to call myself a moderate. Now I call myself a non-partisan. My political views do not neatly fit either primary US political party. I continue to find it surprising that so much of the population is comfortable with their view on gun control controlling their view on entitlements, or their view on international relations controlling their view on labor, or their view on immigration controlling their view on the environment, and so on. I am also deeply disturbed by how comfortable partisans on both sides are with ignoring the deep flaws in their own candidates as they point out identical flaws in their opponents.

      I regularly seek out opposing view points as an opportunity to see if there is something I have failed to take into account. I adjust my thinking in response to new data, after taking into account the historical accuracy of similar data sets.

      For information on Fox News and global warming, see this from the Union of Concerned Scientists: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/media-climate-science-event-0340.html Global warming denialism is primarily a feature of the conservative press. I am not aware of any liberal press that denies global warming. Rejection of global warming requires either willful ignorance or deceit — or belief that all of the world’s climate scientists are in a conspiracy. See #1 above.

      Liberal press has its own anti-science beliefs, such as anti-vax. Yet another reason I am a non-partisan. Both sides have conspiracy theory folks. Both sides contain people whose beliefs are incompatible with science and evidence-based thinking.

      • LibrarianSarah
        May 31, 2013 at 10:11 am #

        Anti-vax is not a “liberal” belief in that it occurs in spades on the other side of the isle as well. There are plenty of anti-vax, anti-government right wingers ala Mike Adams. ORAC has blog extensively on this over at Respectful Insolence.

        The better left-wing anti-science example would be the anti-GMO movement.

        • Eddie
          May 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

          Fascinating. I have never come across right-wing anti-vax. I shouldn’t be surprised.

          • Box of Salt
            May 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

            They are there – they tend to be libertarian types. You will find them arguing the anti-mandate aspect of school immunization laws.

          • Eddie
            May 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

            Hmm, good point. And it is the libertarians who argue against fluoridation.

        • SkepticalScientist
          June 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

          Anti-vax, anti-GMO are just useless labels used by those who are unable to respond to valid concerns about vaccines or GMOs.
          David Gorski, a.k.a. Orac has multi-mullion dollar funding from pharma companies.

          • Box of Salt
            June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

            SkepticalScientist, do you have some documentation that contradicts the fourth paragraph here?

            Today’s Euro to dollar exchange rate is $1.31, by the way.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            June 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

            Ahh, another anti-vaccine nut.

          • theNormalDistribution
            June 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

            I agree. pro-MoPD (Millions of People Dying – actually billions in the case of GMO’s) is more meaningful and would apply to both.

    • suchende
      May 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      “We piss everyone off but we believe in logic and freedom of thought over woo woo and fairy tales.”

      Didn’t a poll of so-called moderates find that they had strong left or right leanings but just preferred that title? My experience with so-called moderates has been anything but.

      • Lisa Miller
        May 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

        I’d imagine I lean closer to the left.

        • Lisa Miller
          May 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

          And her is why. i tend to lean closer to caring more about things like gay marriage and bodily rights, over my rights to bear arms. Not saying I don’t care about the 2nd amendment, just that I value those other things as a higher priority. I can’t align myself with a party that believes in discrimination.

      • Eddie
        May 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

        Most people I knew who called themselves moderates were people whose beliefs didn’t neatly fit either party’s platform. Most of them really identified with one party (usually liberal among the ones I knew), except for a set of issues where they agreed with the other party. A common example is people who are socially liberal but economically conservative.

        • suchende
          May 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

          I imagine it’s the rare person who thinks one of a measly two parties “neatly” aligns with their own views. That’s what bothers people about self-labeled Independents: they seem to think that people who do join one party or the other are drones. Far from it, they’re often activists within their own party. For example, Republicans pushing for saner immigration policy.

  9. Sarah, CPA
    May 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    For a great read on the topic of bias in the media (on both sides!) and the effects it is having, I would recommend this book called Niche News, by Natalia Jomini Stroud. Here is the amazon link. http://www.amazon.com/Niche-News-The-Politics-Choice/dp/0199755515/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369946786&sr=8-1&keywords=niche+news

  10. The Computer Ate My Nym
    May 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Environmentalists who don’t know anything about the environment and animal rights activists who don’t know anything about animals both make my teeth itch. I consider myself a liberal, but I’m happier with a smart and honest conservative than with either of the above “liberal” groups. And don’t get me started on GMO opposition or we’ll be here all day. (Wanders off grumbling and telling the kids to stay off her lawn.)

  11. anonymous
    May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    As a conservative, I’m also disgusted with the far right of the Republican party. Their beliefs, especially about abortion and homosexuality are not in line with true conservatism. A conservative sees the body as the ultimate manifestation of private property. What someone chooses to do with that body is theirs and theirs alone to decide. What I find so appalling about homebirth is the reckless disregard for fact and the welfare of the child. The argument I’ve heard some home-birthers use of “my body my choice” does not ring true to me at all. You’re going to endanger the life of a fully functional child to prove you can is criminal.

    • Lisa Miller
      May 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      I’m just pissed about the midwives who are frauds, selling services they can’t provide. As a libertarian , that is how I rationalize my anger about home birth midwives.

      • Lisa Miller
        May 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

        There are however, Libertarians who encompass all their crazy with the conspiracies and the anti-science BS. We call them Crazy asses. I am not one of those.

    • Charlotte
      May 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      That’s where I personally get some cognitive dissonance. I don’t see the difference between a woman aborting her healthy term baby and risking its life at a home birth, particularly if the baby dies in utero before the actual birth. The baby is dead either way, and both were decisions the woman made about her own body. If one is wrong and the death of the baby can be declared wrong (and that it can in fact be called a baby) I can’t find a logical reason why the other would be okay. It’s something I struggle with.

      • May 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

        Call them both immoral, keep them both legal and accessible.

        Morally, there’s a lot of sticky issues around aborting a healthy, term baby. Fortunately, that just doesn’t happen without some pretty awful extenuating circumstances (involving lack of access to early abortion, usually). No woman wants a late-term abortion. Homebirth is inherently risky, but shouldn’t be banned. What should be banned are ill-trained “midwives” who claim to be medical personnel. We require abortions to be performed by trained doctors; we should require homebirths to be attended by trained people as well (CNMs with hospital privileges and OB backup). People are furious about the loss of wanted babies by women who didn’t know that was a real risk. Women aborting are pretty sure what’s going to happen is death of a fetus/baby.

        This is a little scattered, but I think I hit the main points. I understand struggling with it, but it basically comes down to the desires of the woman. If she doesn’t want to be pregnant, her wishes prevail. If she wishes to have a healthy baby, her wishes should prevail. If she is aware she is risking her baby at homebirth, her wishes should prevail. The problem is how badly misinformed a lot of HB’ers are.

      • Starling
        May 30, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

        But you can’t legally abort a healthy term baby without a life- or health-threatening medical reason. Not in the US. The right to abortion is very much limited after viability. Even not having previous access to abortion isn’t an acceptable reason.

        I don’t support making homebirth illegal, but I do think it’s stupid, and immoral to the extent that the mother realizes the increased risk to the child.

        • JayDee
          June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am #

          Not true. You can abort up until the due date. Where do you get that idea?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            June 4, 2013 at 11:45 am #

            “You can abort up until the due date.”

            Not in the US you can’t. What country are you referring to? Or do you simply live in an alternate reality?

  12. Anon
    May 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Stick with the science.

  13. HolyWowBatman
    May 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    I believe I get the points of self-deception, ardent devotion to a certain bias and inability to engage in critical thinking. Very true, but I would agree with those who have expressed concern that inclusion of political right and left issues detracts from your important message. Your best examples of conveying your message involve the black and white examples of truth, and for too many people, politics are so many shades of gray.

    • Meredith Watson
      May 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Well said. This blog has an important job to do and it does it best as you have stated.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      Conservatives seem to have missed the point of the post. It is not about political philosophies. It is about empirical facts and that’s why I compared Margulis and Fox News. Both make claims that fly in the face of existing evidence.

      Regardless of your politics, there is simply no question that Fox News makes a wide variety of claims that are empirically false, including claims about scientific issues. The Conservative Right’s claims about climate change are empirically false. Their claims about abortion and cancer are simply made up. Their claims about about evolution are an example of desperate wishful thinking.

      We can agree to disagree about the proper role of government. That’s a philosophical issue.We cannot agree to disagree about scientific evidence.

      One thing is for sure, Fox News is not and never was “fair and balanced.” It makes absolutely no difference whether other media outlets exhibit bias. Fox News is fundamentally dishonest: it is not a news organization; it is a propaganda machine.

      • Susan
        May 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

        Well said, one can be biased without being dishonest.

        • auntbea
          May 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

          You can *opinionated* and honest. You can’t be biased and honest. Bias means you are either not seeing or not using the evidence in service of the truth.

          • Susan
            May 30, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

            Yeah I read what I wrote and thought “how stupid” but I still don’t sign in so I can go back and edit. What I get for playing with the big girls.

      • HolyWowBatman
        May 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        I believe I understand your point, and would perhaps rephrase my initial comment to more clearly convey that I believe you made this point previously in more direct ways…I appreciate your lack of hesitancy to call an ace an ace. I value the input of someone who is willing to present their ideas honestly, even if I don’t always agree. Thank you for being that type of person.
        My only exception to your most recent comment is that I am not a conservative, but still do not appreciate when the term is used as almost a bad word. I feel it convolutes conversation.

  14. Florence
    May 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    And as long as the
    freedom of speech exist they will continue to share their side of the coin…and so will you!

    • LibrarianSarah
      May 31, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Nobody is calling for Rupert Murdock to be locked up so the whole “freedom of speech” argument is a moot point. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism.

      You could say the same thing about “Midwifery Today.” They have the freedom of speech to share “their side of the coin” even if what they say is demonstrably false.

  15. guest
    May 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    The whole thing that has intrigued me about this woman and her book is her concept of journalist and journalism, versus the … repugnance, I guess … expressed by the journalists who reviewed her book for The Oregonian and The New York Times. She seems to think that their repugnance is just that they are biased against her point of view. But much of what they wrote revolves around to what kinds of actions are necessary for a person who claims to be practicing journalism.

    I’ve been turning this over in my head. Having and promoting an opinion doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not a journalist. Journalists don’t have to be neutral. As an example, I give you this recent article by Kathryn Joyce, who recently published some excellent work on adoption practices: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/christian-evangelical-adoption-liberia . (This article is an excerpt from her book, which I have not read.)

    I notice that Joyce interviews the adult adoptees but she also takes the difficult step of contacting the adopters and agencies who have been accused and giving their version, their explanations, if they are willing, and tracking down other documents and interviews for context. That seems critical to me, no matter what the accusation is about. It’s not just a sense of being fair and conveying everyone’s side, which is is, but it’s also a straight up matter of truth. Not only is what this person told me true and full and complete. But also if you are reporting about an issue that is bigger than this person’s own story, you have to figure out if her story really represents a larger truth.

    There’s a lot more to it than that. But basically if what you’re doing is journalism, you’ve got to maintain enough independence to keep your allegiance to the truth, rather than the people or institutions you are reporting on. Otherwise, there are so many words for the other things you can be – an essayist, a polemicist, a pundit, an editorialist, a publicist. Those are all fine things to be.

  16. Lisa from NY
    May 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    You wrote: …those fail to recognize the incongruity of extolling “Nature” while simultaneously living in huge homes with … Wi-Fi … communicating their “message” using the Internet, video, photography and smart phones.

    Do they know that electrical wires, radiation and smartphones cause random mutations in fruit flies (let alone human enbryos)?

  17. LibrarianSarah
    May 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Say what you want about Current TV but their program Vanguard is probably the last vestiges of investigative journalism left. Their corespondents actually go into places, interview people there and report on whats happening. The whole show is shot in a documentary format and most of the ones that I have seen are politically neutral.

  18. LibrarianSarah
    May 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    This doesn’t really need to be said but woo doesn’t have a political designation. Just as many anti-vaxers and “health freedom” proponents are also right wing “government can’t tell me what to do” libertarians as left wing “corporations secretly control everything” liberal. Granted liberals are more likely to partake in the “nature is perfect and wonderful” fantasy but woo is prevalent on both sides.

    • Meredith Watson
      May 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Yes, and those who love evidenced-based medicine don’t have a particular political designation either, which is all the more reason to not insult your readership.

      • LibrarianSarah
        May 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

        I don’t think post insulted anybody. She didn’t call republicans stupid or anything. She pointed out that both fox news and woo lovers like Jennifer Margulis engage in faulty thinking. I think you are searching for a way to be insulted just like you searched for a way to express your butthurt in my comment.

        • Meredith Watson
          May 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

          What is “butthurt?”

          It’s not my place to tell Dr. Amy how to write, but I feel like this blog has an important message and delving into this kind of thing to prove her point not only isn’t necessary but it has the potential to alienate readers.

          • LibrarianSarah
            May 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm #


          • Sue
            May 31, 2013 at 4:13 am #

            Funny – I was thinking the opposite. I thought the point of comparing/contrasting Margolis and Fox was that poor journalism and closed mindedness can come from all sides of politics – we can all be equally offended, or not, no?

        • JayDee
          June 4, 2013 at 10:12 am #

          I would have liked to actually see an example of Fox News ideology instead of a vague rant.

  19. Elle
    May 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    I agree with you on a lot of things, but this has to be one of my least favorite posts you’ve ever written. You are more than capable of making intelligent points without attacking others’ political views. We ALL have our biases, no matter how much we love science, and if any particular network or journalist is going to be singled out, there should be specific examples of their bias given, rather than sweeping, one-sided generalizations.

    “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.”

    Aren’t you displaying the same kind of “persecution” that you’re claiming to be against? That more people used to believe the same kinds of things you do and now not as many do, and it’s all Fox News’s fault?

    • LukesCook
      May 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      What “persecution”? That’s the whole point, NOBODY in this set of examples is being persecuted!

      • Elle
        May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

        Right in that quote… the whole idea that people don’t believe in evolution anymore because of entities like Fox News. And apparently they’re out to attack “reproductive rights” too.

        • LukesCook
          May 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

          “Persecution” is not a synonym for “bad stuff”.

        • Eddie
          May 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

          Criticism is not a synonym for persecution.

        • JayDee
          June 4, 2013 at 10:14 am #

          “the whole idea that people don’t believe in evolution anymore because of entities like Fox News.”

          • Elle
            June 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

            If anything needs a citation it is this post, that claims all these things are the direct result of this kind of journalism.

    • mimi
      May 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Do you even watch FOX News? The false-outrage-o-meter is always pinged at “10”

    • Susan
      May 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

      I didn’t see it as insulting. It’s pretty hard to argue Fox and MSNBC don’t have a political agenda. I’ve always found it fascinating that homebirthers, anti-vaxx and homeschooling have followers that mostly are from the extremes of the political spectrum and both believe in conspiracy theories. The thinking, the “we have the secret knowledge” attitude, the “sheeple” idea- they think the same yet they vote so differently! It’s fascinating! I once pointed this out to a homebirth believing Dad who happened to be liberal, since his involvement was perhaps a little more peripheral he was completely suprised that there would be homebirthers in the conservative Christian right. In his world view they couldn’t possibly “think” the way he does– to me this is one of the most fascinating aspects of the alternative birth and parenting world.

      • fiftyfifty1
        May 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

        Yes, I find it fascinating too. Reminds me of how Christian fundamentalists and radical feminists found themselves to be bedfellows over the porn issue in the 1980s-1990s.

    • auntbea
      May 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Well, these are actually empirical questions, right? Do people who watch Fox News or read Jennifer Margulis disproportionately hold opinions contrary to fact? And did the media *cause* their opinions? Or did they already hold these opinions and seek out media that confirmed it?

      I don’t think anyone has studied the effect of Jennifer Margulis, but there is a lot of research on Fox News, because it was the first of its type and it rolled out (mostly) randomly in some markets, which makes a nice natural experiment. And, yes, Fox News viewers are far more likely than the rest of the population believe falsehoods, at least on certain questions. Fox News viewers, for example, are more likely to be wrong about global warming. And, while people certainly do select into watching Fox News based on pre-existing views, the best evidence suggests that it also *causes* viewers to become more conservative and more likely to vote Republican.

      So, yes, to the extent that Fox News presents anti-science viewpoints, it is reasonable to hypothesize that there are now more people who believe these things, as a result of Fox News coverage.

      • JayDee
        June 4, 2013 at 10:13 am #

        Correlation does not equal causation.

  20. Courtney84
    May 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I assume you picked these examples because there are no poor journalists that vote democrat? Journalism in general is a sham these days.

    • Eddie
      May 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      There is idiocy and bad journalism on the right and on the left. Dr Amy gave an example of each. The example on the right was a media network and the example on the left was a so-called journalist, and you apparently took this to mean that the whole media on the right is corrupt and the whole media on the left is fine. Dr Amy said nothing of the sort. She was comparing one right-wing media organization against one group on the left.

      I agree that journalism in general is a sham, and the reasons are many.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      See what I mean about Fox News and persecution? You’re doing it, too.

      And for the record, I consider the the “liberal media” to be basically a boogieman fabricated by the Right to feed their delusion of persection.

      • Elle
        May 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

        Pointing out that there are poor and biased journalists on BOTH sides has nothing to do with persecution. If you can’t see the bias on the side you align with (left, right, libertarian, whatever), maybe you need to take a step back.

        • suchende
          May 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

          Are we reading the same post? What on earth are you blathering on about?

          • Sue
            May 31, 2013 at 4:17 am #

            Over in Oz I am totally confused….what are ALL of you talking about?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          May 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

          Ahh, the false equivalence argument.

          I don’t deny that there is bias on both sides, BUT there is nothing equivalent to Fox News, which is simply a wing of the Republican Party masquerading as a news outlet.

          The intent of this post was not to bash the Republican Party, but I have no problem bashing the Right, independent of the post. The present right wing of the Republican Party is a bunch of self-absorbed nihilists, who are willing to destroy the country in order to keep themselves in power. They are nuts and they pander to nuts and the sooner they are consigned to the dustbin of history, the better for us all.

          • guest
            May 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

            Oddly enough, Bob Dole was just saying the same thing. On Fox!! See “The Wisdom of Bob Dole” in the May 28 NYT Op Ed.

          • Susan
            May 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

            Have you watched MSNBC? I did quite a bit during the last presidential race just because I found it entertaining. I like to watch Chris Matthews too. But I never once thought I was there to find a balanced presentation. I think it’s pretty equivalent except that the left seems a bit more able to make fun of itself. Obama made some pretty funny jokes about Chris Matthews. Making those jokes just doesn’t fit with the idea that MSNBC is anything but a liberal outlet.

          • Susan
            May 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm #



          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            May 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

            Then again, MSNBC doesn’t pretend to be anything but a liberal outlet.

            The fact that people compare FoxNews and MSNBC just proves the whole point, and is an admission that FoxNews is a rightwing mouthpiece. OTOH, they deny it. Remember the whole “Fair and Balanced” and “We Report, You Decide” nonsense? You don’t hear that from MSNBC, and you never have.

            MSNBC may be left-leaning (although they have far more legitimate contributions from right-wingers than Fox ever dreamed of having from the left), but the difference between MSNBC and FoxNews is that MSNBC never pretended to be anything else.

          • Susan
            May 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

            I agree with you. That is a difference though I can’t stand to listen to Fox long enough to know if they ever make fun of their own biases. It isn’t a perfect mirror image of Fox to be sure.

          • Eddie
            May 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

            The Simpsons makes fun … but they’re on Fox Network, not on Fox News, so maybe that doesn’t count.

          • JayDee
            June 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

            A quote where MSNBC claims to be leftwing?

          • Zan
            May 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

            So, do you wear your tin foil hat indoors or only when you are outside???

          • Anon
            May 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

            Pew study finds msnbc far worse than fox…CNN and Fox at about the same level as far as ‘opinion as news’ goes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/03/18/pew-study-finds-msnbc-the-most-opinionated-cable-news-channel-by-far/

            Posts like this concern me, if you can be this misguided about something as trivial as cable news, taking you on our word in regards to the meat of this site is harder to do. I try to make excuses…well, she’s a doctor not a political scientist…etc, but it is still disheartening. Shouting that all the dumb conservatives just don’t understand what you are trying to say as opposed to engaging in conversation or acknowledging that the people disagreeing with the comparison, that maybe Margulis vs fox news is actually false equivalency, could be anything but persecution complex nutballs doesn’t really help.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            May 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

            There’s nothing wrong with being opinionated. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The problem occurs when a news organization presents “facts” that aren’t true.

          • JayDee
            June 4, 2013 at 10:15 am #
          • Kerlyssa
            May 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

            Time spent on opinion pieces is NOT the same as presenting opinion as fact. Shifting the goalposts here.

      • yentavegan
        May 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

        There is no reliable source for real news anymore. Our media on both ends of the political spectrum would rather divert our attention with sensationalism than letting us know what is really going on in the world. I can no longer watch Fox or local news because of the bias spewing. I often check wikipedia to see what news stories are happening around the world and use that as a launching point.

        • suchende
          May 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

          NPR and Christian Science Monitor.

          • May 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

            The Daily Show is surprisingly accurate much of the time, too. I often use it as a starting point (interesting thing happened on X subject) and then find out more facts about it from other sources.

    • suchende
      May 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      WHAT are you talking about. Jennifer only doesn’t vote Democrat to the extent that she’s even farther left than that.

    • JC422
      May 31, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Move to a country without a free press and let me know how that works out of you.

    • JayDee
      June 4, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      There’s no actual example in the Fox News comparison.

  21. Eddie
    May 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Another point of comparison: Both are big business. There is a lot of money in telling your target group that they are persecuted. When they fall for it, you now have a captive audience to market to. There will always be an “anti-xxxx” underground, pick your target. But it’s big money that motivates these groups.

  22. Susan
    May 30, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Excellent Dr. Amy!

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