Putting the B.S. into CBS

December 12, 2006

Maybe this will sound cranky to you, but I can’t believe CBS News would let a fine science story like this go out loaded with extraneous garbage about Loch Ness monsters.

It’s a story already brimming over with real science and adventure. The fossilized skeleton of a five-foot-long baby plesiosaur was discovered on an island just off Antarctica. The spectacular find had to be excavated and prepared under some of the most brutal weather conditions on Earth, then carried by helicopter to a place of safety. Real swashbuckling science. But all that gets buried at the bottom of the story so the second paragraph can tell us:

In life, 70 million years ago, the five-foot-long animal would have resembled Nessie, the long-necked creature reported to inhabit Scotland’s Loch Ness.

Excuse me, but when did the existence of anything in Loch Ness other than peat moss and fish become an established fact? And how is this bit of tourist-baiting hokum worthy of inclusion in a legitimately exciting science story?

If you think I’m being cranky here, all I can say is this is the same kind of junk journalism that gives us endless updates on runaway brides and Britney Spears’s absent underwear. Maybe CBS injected the crap into the story itself; maybe the story came over the wire that way from the Associated Press. Either way, there are several editors in both operations who deserve to get smacked around over this.     


5 Responses to “Putting the B.S. into CBS”

  1. geoff Says:

    You beat me to the punch on this aggravating bonehead attempt to sell papers. Science is cool without using myth to spice it up.

    would have resembled Nessie“? Asinine. What’s next? “Neanderthal skeleton discovered, would have resembled Fred Barnes.

  2. Bill Bowman Says:

    Brittney Spears doesn’t wear underwear??

  3. DBK Says:

    CBS is the network that made Katie Couric, the Kelly Pickler of Journalism, their evening news anchor. You can’t take them or pretty much any other traditional media seriously anymore.

  4. Rix Says:

    You’re both just being cranky. It makes for a catchy headline, does no damage to the facts, & the bones are going on display in a museum that wants to sidetrack a few tourists from Mount Rushmore. I’d druther people accept this species existed 70 million years ago & wonder what’s in Loch Ness than believe the Grand Canyon is less than 10,000 years old.

  5. Caveat Says:

    “would have resembled Nessie”

    Umm, no it wouldn’t have because ‘Nessie’ is imaginary. It would have resembled a plesiosaur, which is what it was.

    A baby narwhal ‘would have resembled a unicorn’, or a baby pteranadon ‘would have resembled a roc’ or a baby cicada ‘would have resembled a fairy’ or a baby allosaur ‘would have resembled Godzilla’ or – hey, this is fun…

    These guys are hacks, let’s face it and they assume their readers are even more uneducated than they are.

    I’m cranky too.

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