Credit Where Credit is Due

Yesterday, The Scientific Activist blog (part of the community) carried a keen-eyed piece of media criticism, turning the rating scheme of The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” blog back on the paper itself.

The blog’s editor, Nick Anthis, a doctoral student in biochemistry at Oxford University, took issue with a recent Post article by Juliet Eilperin, which claimed a little too much credit for exposing NASA’s censorship of climate scientist James Hansen in early 2006.

The credit for work belongs more properly to The New York Times’s Andrew Revkin. As Anthis points out, Eilperin commits no major sin (he gives her two Pinocchio’s on the Post’s “Fact Checker” scale), but as I’ve argued before on this site, reporters should always give credit where due when piggybacking off other journalists’ investigations.

At any rate, The Scientific Activist is blog worth watching. I hadn’t checked in for about year, but Anthis was the one who revealed, shortly after the Hansen story broke, that George Deutsch, a presidential appointee at NASA who was involved in the censorship, had lied on his resume. Deutsch had falsely stated that he’d graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism and resigned after a former acquaintance tipped off Anthis to the prevarication.

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Curtis Brainard writes on science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.