Examining junk journalism

By

Gavin Gibbons

Published on
February 23, 2010

Examiner.com is an interesting publishing model that hints at the future of journalism; citizen reporters lending their eyes, ears and expertise to an evolving, organic news site.  But what can sound good in theory can go completely off the tracks in practice.  The proverbial inmates are running the asylum over at Examiner.com and its coverage of seafood science is evidence of that.

A week never goes by without NFI having to endure another epic of distortion from Examiner.com. “Examiners” like Amy Jenkins, who is not a fisheries scientist, a doctor or a dietitian but a writer for the Sierra Club, regularly launch into distorted rants about which fish you should or should not eat to stay healthy. 

Jenkins, like so many before her, is an environmental activist, not a public health advocate.  Her misguided conflation of EPA and FDA mercury standards is classic activist rhetoric that ignores the conclusion of the FDA's “Report of Quantitative Risk and Benefit Assessment of Consumption of Commercial Fish” and turns a blind eye to the independent Harvard University study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association that clearly found, "the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks.”

The overwhelming majority of science finds the benefits of eating seafood and high omega-3 fish, like canned tuna, outweigh any concerns associated with the trace amount of methyl mercury found in fish. Real scientists know this and real editors ask questions of their writers. Until Examiner.com starts asking questions in pursuit of the facts it will continue to relegate itself to the pile just south of junk science called junk journalism.

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