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What does the media do when honest researchers realize their attention-getting findings were simply wrong? Apparently, nothing.
Back in April, a provocative press release about a paper by researchers at Newcastle University and Trinity College Dublin suggested bees are ‘hooked’ on nectar containing pesticides, in the same way that a meth addict is hooked on stimulants.
They concluded that bees simply couldn’t resist neonicotinoids.
CBS News called these findings “surprising.” Dave Goulson, a bee expert at Sussex University told The Guardian that, “At this point in time it is no longer credible to argue that agricultural use of neonicotinoids does not harm wild bees.”
Outright activist groups, of course, went wild with the usual calls for pesticide bans.
But, it turns out none of this hype was ever true.
No less an authority than Professor Wright, the lead author, conceded in a follow-up study just a few months later that the claims that inspired all of the banner headlines were bogus.
Her team re-ran the tests and came to an entirely different conclusion. “Contrary to our predictions,” she wrote, “we found that none of the solutions enhanced the rate of olfactory learning and some of them impaired it.”
It says a lot about the current state of our media that the retraction of such a high-profile scientific claim never receives anywhere near the same coverage as the original outlandish assertion.
So thousands of people who heard the original headline probably still think bees are addicted to neonics, which is how confirmation bias plays right into the hands of activists with an agenda.
Read full, original post: Bees Addicted To Neonics: A Failure Of Science Journalism