Dan Rather calls out Democrats, press for misrepresenting science, GMOs

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I know some Democrats think “anti-science” attitudes are a Republican problem. But when I talk to scientists about this frightening trend, they don’t just mention climate change. They bring up things like GMOs; most of the anti-GMO heat comes from the political left.

If you excoriate climate change deniers because there is overwhelming scientific evidence for manmade climate change, you can’t ignore the fact that that same scientific consensus exists on the safety of GMOs.

Why has science become political? One factor of many is my own profession, the press.

It’s not just that we don’t understand the facts, we don’t even do a good job explaining how scientific research works. We don’t understand how data should be analyzed or what a scientific consensus actually means.

Scientific issues are often complex and don’t lend themselves to simple soundbites. And then there is the danger of false equivalency. Not every issue has two equal sides.

Journalists are predisposed to stories that champion the underdog against conventional wisdoms, but in reporting science, the “conventional wisdom” is often synonymous with the scientific consensus of real research.

I would like to see a panel of leading American scientists draw up a series of tough questions surrounding science and science policy. These questions should be distributed to every single campaign and political leader for written answers. Journalists should ask Bernie Sanders about his criticism of GMOs. And how one of the Republican candidates answers tough questions on climate change will tell you a lot about his or her approaches on a wide range of policies. Any politician who doesn’t take those questions seriously is not fit to lead our country in the 21st century.

Read full, original post: Dan Rather: Ignoring science isn’t just a Republican problem. It’s an American problem.

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