Media FAIL (or, Superstorm followup)

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 9 2011 1:59 PM

Media FAIL (or, Superstorm followup)

So this morning I posted a rather lengthy and hopefully thorough debunking of an execrable doomsday story trying to tie the Earth's magnetic field with big "superstorms" pummeling the US and Australia. I was pretty clear where I stand on this; I loathe it when people ramp up the pseudoscience to try to scare other people about an imagined doomsday scenario. You could probably point your finger anywhere in my post and find some stern words about how the Earth's magnetic field is unrelated to these storms.

So why oh why did the Press-Enterprise website pull this quote from my article? Here's a screen grab:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Whaaaaa? That quote says:

The earth’s climate has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming. Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth’s magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics.

In fact, that quote was not from me. It was from a pseudoscience website I was quoting and debunking! So Press-Enterprise managed to find, extract, and post just about the only thing in my entire article that is the opposite of the entire point of what I wrote. So in a blog post about media fail, I get a followup media fail.

It may be a media fail, but at least it's an irony win.


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