Neither Freeman nor Mario Ruiz, Huffington Post’s media officer, were willing to acknowledge past mistakes at the site (“As long as the Health section has existed, we’ve always valued and put a premium on science and evidence and have never sought in any way to undermine that,” Ruiz insisted). And they don’t seem to recognize that even if the science section produces high-quality content, more shoddy work in the Healthy Living section would detract from that effort.
“The quackery is still there,” the pseudonymous blogger Orac argued in a post explaining why he remains skeptical. “[A]nd it still taints the reputation of the entire enterprise.”
If Huffington Post science is to become an important source of information and debate in the world of science journalism, it will have to address such critics head on. It can do that by ensuring that the highest standards of scientific accuracy apply to the entire site, not just one section; by hiring more science journalists; and by prioritizing incisive, original reporting over quirky slideshows and big-name essays.