How to balance Balanced Reporting and Reliable Reporting
The present paper contributes substantive proposals in a manner that integrates philosophy of science with the recent empirical literature on science communication. Specifically, I articulate and evaluate strategies for balancing Balanced Reporting and Reliable Reporting. First, I provide a diagnosis of the conflict between them that is informed by philosophy of science. On this basis, I provide restrictions of both Balanced Reporting and Reliable Reporting. The restrictions are unified because they are inspired by similar reflections about the epistemic basis of science reporting—namely scientific justification. Moreover, I note some empirical work that supports the restrictions as well as some empirical work that indicates some limitations of them. Thus, the paper exemplifies how an empirically informed philosophy of science may bear on a question of societal concern.
The Question of Balance
How should Balanced Reporting and Reliable Reporting be balanced in science reporting?
KeywordsPublic scientific testimony Science reporting Balance norm
I presented early versions of this article at the Danish Philosophical Society Annual Meeting, Roskilde University Feb. 2018; University of Copenhagen, Mar. 2018; University of St. Andrews, May 2018; the University of Stockholm, Nov. 2018; Stanford University, Feb. 2019 and VU Amsterdam, May 2019. Thanks to the audiences for helpful feedback. I also presented the material at an editorial meeting at videnskab.dk in Oct. 2018 and would like to thank the crew of science journalists for helpful perspectives. For written comments, I am grateful to Carrie Figdor, Bjørn Hallsson and Karen Kovaka.
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