Media

15 Credibility Street #23: The sound and the fury

This episode, Sharon and Torkel discuss several recent news events and how they reflect on social views of science and credible sources. First, an eclipse recap: Nothing bad happened and we were not overwhelmed by alien or occult forces. The Hopkinsville aliens did not reappear. New Age spiritualism at a Mt. Shasta festival The media…

15 Credibility Street #22: We’re not saying they made this stuff up but…

There are a whole lot of shenanigans to call out on this episode. We have a special commentary by Jeb Card about the spooky stuff in association with Hopkinsville, Kentucky and the upcoming eclipse. Listen to get a primer for what might be popular in the media from now until then. Torkel and I discuss…

15 Credibility Street #18: Crystal clear consideration of claims

News items: Crystal healing at Edith Cowan Uni in Australia. Kudos to the Australian Skeptics to making their views crystal clear on these bogus claims about healing properties of rocks. Electrosensitivity UK makes doubtful claims. Electrosensitivity UK is a nonprofit organization that placed advertisements in public places around London claiming “More and more research is starting…

United we fall: Dr. Dao and unsubstantiated “facts”

Here’s the thing. The Internet is a gigantic flood of information with outlets and individuals vying for your attention to click on their sites over others. Those “interesting” stories, true or not, get shared, propagating some real wing-ding falsehoods. Wednesday (yesterday), when social media outrage over the United Airlines “re-accommodation” situation was going full bore,…

Observe Alex Jones weaseling out of a legal jam

Back in November, we didn’t specifically cover the Pizzagate news because it was reported extensively by the major media. I had nothing left to add and just shook my head as another conspiracy clown show (aren’t they all) went mainstream. But we did note that Fake News has a real effect on innocent people, as…

Facebook to flag and fact-check fake news

Facebook is tackling fake news by rolling out a flagging plan that triggers fact-checking by hand-picked fact-checkers. Admittedly going after “the worst of the worst”, they enlist the help of Snopes, ABC News and PolitiFact who have all signed on to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). This sounds like great start. The stories get flagged…

Daily Mail to Breitbart to congress: BS all the way down on climate change

The Weather Channel threw their “two cents” into the debate about credible journalism by calling out Breitbart on a climate change denial story. Their willingness to step up and explain to viewers why the Breitbart position was completely bogus could be a sign that more sources will call out such stories. I hope that happens.…

15 Credibility Street #5: UFOs over Turkey and I ain’t too surprised

We’re back with another news chat episode. The news is weird, as usual. Strange days indeed… Mothman reappears close to the 50th anniversary. Howard suspects pecuniary interests might be involved in the promotion of these local legends. The same can be suggested for the many YouTubers and websites that promote “weird news” like anomalies, natural…

Fake news gets real

Fake news is a hot thing and trendy topic right now. But as we’ve shown through the years, and is now COMPLETELY obvious, fake news is bad for society, kind of like street drugs, it comes with some nasty side effects that touch everyone in the community. Here are the dealers, making money like crazy…

Continue, we must: US needs critical thinking advocates to step up and be heard

The DN/15 Credibility Street crew took a break yesterday because writing and talking about most things besides the election results seemed frivolous. We postponed our scheduled recording of the podcast because we weren’t in the right frame of mind, but by the end of the day, I saw many of the dejected pick themselves up,…

Facts may no longer matter in this election but fact-checking and skeptical activism works

It’s the day after the big debate and media outlets like Politifact, Factcheck.org, AP, and NPR have their fact-checking (FC) machines churning at full speed since 9PM last evening. As a Skeptic who values solid evidence and empirical facts, I deeply appreciate FC but I strongly suspect that facts and examinations of truthfulness and accuracy…

Can’t discover a fossil ichthyosaur in Scotland without invoking a fictional monster?

Another “spectacular” sea monster fossil discovery is ruined by some ridiculous journalists who can’t rid themselves of the stupid pop culture habit of comparing every ancient sea predator to a mythical creature. This is really getting old. The recent news is of a nearly intact ichthyosaur skeleton discovered on Scotland’s Isle of Skye and announced in…

Scottish poltergeist story is highly questionable, even if the police say they saw something

Cross posted from Doubtful by Sharon Hill A story about a family in Rutherglen, Scotland, who called in police to report paranormal phenomena, rode the media wave yesterday into today. The original source was the local Rutherglen Reformer paper that appears digitally on the Daily Record (UK) website. Here is the main story: Rutherglen family call in police…

Real-deal “boy next door” medium? Or Hollywood hype?

Back in July, I caught wind of yet another psychic medium “reality” show in development. This one seems tailor-made for Hollywood. Or, should I say… “tyler-made”? The eight-episode hour-long series “follows 19-year-old “celebrity medium” Tyler Henry, as he balances his unique abilities with trying to be a regular teenager.” He’s 20 now. Still, wouldn’t you think…

Nothing interesting happens in Canberra, eh? UFO hoax revealed (and it’s deemed ‘not interesting’)

There was really no story to cover when, on January 4, 2015, several news outlets reported on a video on YouTube, promoted on Reddit, that was getting attention. You see, UFO/portal/wormhole videos are decidedly uninteresting (or should be) because they can pretty easily be faked and ARE regularly faked. All videos and photos (of ghosts, Bigfoot, lake…

Preaching to the Choir: Social media sharing in “echo chambers” reinforces belief

Doubtful News would be useless if people weren’t interested in finding out what might or might not be true and correct. This site appeals to people who are willing to listen to a narrative framed in that way. But, SURPRISE (not), most people consult the internet guided by beliefs they hold dear – whether those tend towards…