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.