What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 5, 2011

With A Little Digging...

From today's Trib:
Uncritical mainstream media, ill-informed about genuine research, too often amplify poorly done "science."

A study published in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggested that consumption of canned food raised levels of supposedly harmful bisphenol A (BPA) in human urine.

But active levels of BPA could not be detected in blood. A top endocrinologist said that effectively made rodent studies showing adverse BPA effects irrelevant for humans, Trevor Butterworth writes for Forbes.
And then:
Partially funding the Harvard study, Mr. Butterworth notes, was "the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which has a truly remarkable track record of funding almost all the scare studies on BPA ... ."
Hey, Scaife's braintrust brought up the issue of funding, I didn't.  I'm just following their lead.

So let's go find out who butters Trevor's bread.  There's this from the Forbes.com article the braintrust cites:
I'm a Brooklyn-based writer, a weekly columnist at The Daily (The Information Society), a contributor to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, and editor-at-large of STATS.org, a super-geeky non-partisan, non-profit project affiliated with George Mason University in Virginia that examines the way statistics and science are used in public policy and the media.
Ah...STATS.org. And what's STATS.org? From their "about" page:
Since its founding in 1994, the non-profit, non-partisan Statistical Assessment Service - STATS - has become a much-valued resource on the use and abuse of science and statistics in the media. Our goals are to correct scientific misinformation in the media and in public policy resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge; and to act as a resource for journalists and policy makers on major scientific issues and controversies.

As a mark of our success, STATS’ work has been featured on NBC’s “Nightly News,” “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and ABC’s “20/20?- and in print by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, US News and World Report, New Scientist, New England Journal of Medicine, and many other publications.

In 2004, we became an affiliate of George Mason University in Virginia.
So it's the Statistical Assessment Service! We've seen that before, haven't we?

Scaife's a big funder of STATS.org.  Big to the tune of $1.15 million over the years.

Now as there was no for way Butterworth to know that his Forbes.com piece would be so dutifully referenced on Scaife's editorial page, he's not the issue here.  Though, unfortunately, his inclusion into this frothy mix discredits whatever worthy points he may have made.

The issue, as always, is Scaife's money and how it quietly funds the right wing noise machine.  Scaife's funds have supported STATS.org (a hundred grand a year for the past few years, it looks like) and a writer for STATS.org writes something for Forbes that Scaife's paper lovingly recommends to you, his faithful reading audience - all without telling you about all his quiet support in the first place.

Without knowing any of this, you'd think that Butterworth's research was sturdy enough to stand on its own - it made it onto the editorial page of a major metropolitan newspaper, right?  But now with his knowledge, you're not quite sure whether it's just being amplified by Scaife's noise machine.

See how that works?  Somedays, these things just write themselves.


EdHeath said...

It's funny how the liberal view of the media's coverage of science versus the conservative view of the media's coverage of science mirrors the liberal view of Obama versus the conservative view of Obama.

Liberals are annoyed because the media insists on equating ideas, like climate change versus science denial. Meanwhile, conservatives think that the "liberal" media has an agenda and is deliberately misleading us. And the general public is confused by the contrast between the simplistic arguments of Republicans and the more frightening ideas of some few Democrats.

Similarly liberals are disappointed that Obama has done so much compromise and a priori reaching out to conservatives, even thought they never compromise in any way shape or form. Meanwhile no matter what Obama does, what actions he takes, conservatives maintain Obama is a socialist.

Republicans are attempting to re-write history, create their own new reality. Apparently the Great Depression cured itself, despite the efforts of FDR and Democrats to create a socialist US.

Winding down said...

Ed is not confused...the public is ...prolly the public shud not have a vote...the polls ...pick you poison...seem to indicate the confused don't have a high opinion of BHO's record..

We can disregard the public's opinion...they are confused...or are being misled by the evil conservatives


EdHeath said...

Whatever, WD, its all the liberals fault and we should all just be shot. Happy?

Winding down said...


No I would not be happy...asinine  comment. Worthy of a preteen.
Paint  me, generally, a conservative in today's parlance. I guess we start from different points. Liberals are willing to put limits on freedom as a price for more equality of material outcomes., economic equity. Here in the US citizens
have  access to education/information to assist them in making their way through life. Everyone gets 24 hours each day. How to use it? Do you defer your want of self-gratification...can you make the effort to acquire skills that sell in the market place?
Or just sit on your ass and whine about the unfairness of it all?

Should the producers be obligated to support the slackers?

Hope and changed has morphed into fairness.... As per BHO ... Plain demogoguery

Where is an individual reponsibility to look after oneself, fit in the life equation...? And passing positive attitudes to succeeding generations.

Ceteris paribus

We are not well-served by our political class...our bad..we elected them.

No original thoughts here...just some rendition of my path.. And my children are 
prospering along the same paths...and likewise extended family, community and beyond ...will always have those who choose other, less fulfilling directions....
And are looking to others to see to their needs...

Off the box...out of the pulpit

Winding down said...

And Happy Holidays to all!!!

EdHeath said...

WD, you vary from somewhat thoughtful to mindlessly repeating conservative talking points. You often are not respectful and frankly your chosen rules of grammar make your expression of your thoughts unclear and hard to follow. So I apologize if I have been insulting, but frankly often your repeating of conservative talking points is insulting to me.

For example, are you seriously saying that a person's effort at work should be measured by how much he is paid? Are you saying a janitor, a day care employee, a nursing home employee or a gardener does not work hard, that they are slackers? And I think that citing our current educational system as a panacea is a major cop out. The poor, urban or rural, do not get access to high quality K-12 education, and that hinders their ability to get higher education to the degree that only a tiny fraction are able to get an educational backstop.

I have a co-worker who is African American who has told me about his experiences in meetings where when he makes a point it is ignored until/unless one of his friends makes the exact same point ("I think what Joe (not his name) is saying is ..."). Saying there is equality of access to America's resources, to jobs, to education is just plain insulting. Now, I am not saying I know a good solution to that problem, I am just saying that the problem exists, that it has not disappeared. And I am saying that conservatives saying the problem does not exist makes it that much worse. Saying to persons of color or to people who come from disadvantaged neighborhoods that if you are not rich it is your own fault is very insulting.

I think the concept of income redistribution is actually reasonably complicated. I don't think money should be taken from the rich and just given to the poor. But I think society as a whole benefits from our having the earned income credit, where working poor families get extra money that they can use to put food on the table and but educational supplies for the kids. I mean, we know that the nominal top tax rate in the fifties was ninety percent (I am sure the effective tax rate was lower; some of the deductions available such as for charity actually benefited society as a whole), and even during 60's and 70's was 70 percent. Again, when the effective rate is so much lower, I have trouble believing people making two hundred grand or more are suffering that much. What is the benefit of living in the US and being wealthy worth to them?

There's more I might say but I have to do other things now.

Winding down said...

No mindless demo talking points in ur response?

Have any first or second hand knowledge of the Pgh Pub Schools? Great opportunities for those who stay the course. Many success stories for the "disadvantaged" but not in the numbers we would all like to see. . No mention of work or comparable pay issues in my post. Just general thoughts on right attitudes that foster success...The opportunities are available in PPS ... My kids were educated there..all have degrees and good paying jobs... Excuses excuses..

EdHeath said...

WD, you want to call what I wrote mindless, you be my guest. I repeated what someone who has first hand experience with racism told me, but you can tell him its all in his head. Why don't you tell him to mind his place while you are at it.

One way to define mindless is to simply reprint someone's entire column, with no meaningful commentary on your part. But again clearly you are smarter and wiser than me, know better, and don't need direct experience - you get it all by reading conservative commentary.

Yes, I have first hand experience with the Pittsburgh public schools, but not Westinghouse or Perry. I am going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that your children are not African American, which would mean they and you do not have any direct experience of anything I am talking about.

You said in your last comment "No mention of work or comparable pay issues in my post." and in your previous comment "Liberals are willing to put limits on freedom as a price for more equality of material outcomes., economic equity." See, this is the language thing I am talking about.

Since you didn't respond to my statements about hard work, I guess you do think janitors, nursing home aides, day care workers or gardeners are slackers. I hope you never lose your job, find yourself forced to take a physical labor job to make ends meet. Of course, since the unemployment rate for people with college educations (the people who could buy a degree) is 4.5%, you shouldn't have too much trouble. Its the people who could afford college, and have to take two jobs just to have a place to live and maybe enough food to survive who can't lose either job. Of course, according to you they should go to college in their (non-existent) spare time to better themselves. They don't need to sleep or help their children with homework.

You casually say "Excuses excuses", I hope you never have occasion to find out what the reality behind your racist condescension is.

Winding down said...
This comment has been removed by the author.