Skeptical Reporting 101

Judging from dispatches following the Bigfoot press conference in Palo Alto this past Friday, reporters weren’t much impressed with the evidence presented by Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer (the two men who claim to have found Bigfoot in the northern woods of Georgia) and their new buddy, Bigfoot enthusiast Tom Biscardi. When a story strains credulity, what tone do you take? What the papers chose:

Openly sarcastic (San Francisco Chronicle):

The fuzziest [photo] - the one that looked like a banana inside a tortilla - depicted what Whitton said was Bigfoot’s jaw. That photograph was airtight proof of the existence of something that looked like a banana inside a tortilla.

Lightly sarcastic (Editor & Publisher): “As some have pointed out, it could just as easily be a rolled up rug.”

Technical (

In addition to the mixed DNA results, Tom Biscardi, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer showed the audience two blurry photos, one of a solitary figure in mixed hardwood forest and another of the mouth of what appeared to be the tongue and teeth of a primate.

Descriptive (Washington Post):

…a picture of the supposed 500-plus-pound dead biped…look[ed] like a mangy mound of fur, entrails and the pinched face of a close cousin to “Star Wars’ ” Chewbacca.

Dignified (Agence France-Presse): “Many scientists believe Bigfoot is folklore instead of fact.”

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Jane Kim is a writer in New York.