Reporters Under the Microscope

| May-June 2008

For those of us who’ve been blinded by science—or blindsided by lousy reporting on technological and environmental issues—a new online tool helps identify the most spot-on sources. At the Observatory (, launched in January by the intrepid media watchdogs at the Columbia Journalism Review, writers cast a skeptical glance at science journalism, scrutinizing everything from climate-change coverage to the heralding of pseudoscientific “trends.” In February, the site called out major media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, for scientifically unsound reports on neuroimaging technology that could supposedly predict voters’ preferences. Don’t buy into this “neuropunditry,” the Observatory warned, using a term coined by Slate’s Daniel Engber, and beware of other election-season “techno infatuation.”