Uncritical mainstream media, ill-informed about genuine research, too often amplify poorly done "science."And then:
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.
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.So it's the Statistical Assessment Service! We've seen that before, haven't we?
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.
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.