“As soon as I saw the article, I called the reporter and pointed out how slanted and out of context it was…”
If I had a dollar for every time a subject said I misquoted ‘em, oowee, I’d be dining, nightly, on civet, otter and wolf puppies, sourced from the finest Chinese wet market.
But, knowing media, as I do, having seen the machinations and dirty dealings of major newspapers, I know how often journalists bend words to fit their own narrative.
Over the last few days, we’ve had a little sport with Scripps scientist Kim Prather who was quoted in The LA Times as saying, “I wouldn’t go in the water for a million dollars” and “It’s not going to kill you if you miss a few surfing sessions, but it could if you go out there and get in the wrong air.”
But, sounds like she got screwed.
Yesterday, Prather wrote a lengthy screed on her Facebook page lamenting the pitiful state of journalism,
My week was made even crazier by a reporter who re-taught me the meaning of “out of context”. For those who read it, the LA Times article was a major disappointment — and caused some people extra angst which is not needed right now.
It is sad to me that the article was written in a way that invoked more fear in people. The reason I talk about science with the public is to alleviate fear–not spread it. Words in the article like “dangerous” and “fear” were used to describe how I supposedly felt-but these were not my words. Our interview was not an interview of “fear”–it was an interview discussing things to help the public be more careful and a new research project. Now the story has evolved to headlines like “Scientist says coronavirus is at the beach”–this is not something I said nor is it in the article. We are in a new world of journalism — one that I will be careful about ever engaging in again.
And that quote about not going in the ocean for a million bucks? Prather was talking about sewage.
In another part of the conversation, we discussed all of the pollution run-off that gets into the ocean especially after the rains we have had. It is well documented that our oceans become polluted at times–many here in SD are quite polluted now. There is also sewage in the ocean. The point I was trying to make was I would not go in the ocean (here in SD) where it is polluted right now nor would I go to the crowded beaches. As I suspected would happen that quote about not going in the ocean has now been used for many headlines around the world–turns out it was excellent “clickbait”.
Read whole thing here.
Original Post (update to post at bottom):Hope everyone is laying low and staying healthy. Warning: this is a long…
Posted by Kim Prather on Saturday, April 4, 2020