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Most Dubious News Stories
Alan Caruba, Founder of an organization called The National Anxiety Center, has published a list of the 'Most Dubious News Stories of the Year'. Some of the entries include:
  • The University of Szeged in Hungary announcing that mobile phones may damage men's sperm
  • Reuters reporting that tens of millions of people in America may drown when a volcano in Africa cataclysmically collapses into the sea (though scientists only think this will happen 'sometime in the next few thousand years')
  • The New York Times reporting that the collapse of the Earth's magnetic field has begun in earnest (again, look for the effects of this to become evident in a couple of thousand years)
However, although Caruba has a point about the dubious quality of some of this reporting, glancing through the rest of his site I get the feeling that he's pushing a conservative agenda. So that might be worth taking into consideration. He doesn't seem to be that concerned about 'Dubious News Stories' emanating from Republicans.
Journalism
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 08, 2004
None of these are particularly dubious. Here are the articles.

Reuters: Scientist warns of Atlantic tidal wave
"Scientist Bill McGuire told a news conference on natural disasters on Monday that sometime in the next few thousand years the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma will collapse"

BBC: Mobiles 'could cut male fertility'
"Radiation from the phones could cut the number of sperm a man has by a third, researchers from the University of Szeged, Hungary, said.
...
But other experts have criticised their research, saying it did not take any other aspects of the men's lives into account."


NYTimes: Will Compasses Point South?
"The collapse of the Earth's magnetic field, which both guards the planet and guides many of its creatures, appears to have started in earnest about 150 years ago. The field's strength has waned 10 to 15 percent, and the deterioration has accelerated of late, increasing debate over whether it portends a reversal of the lines of magnetic force that normally envelop the Earth.
...
Although a total flip may be hundreds or thousands of years away, the rapid decline in magnetic strength is already damaging satellites."


I think the "National Anxiety Center" would claim any environment or public health story to be "dubious".

Small bug: The anti-spam image does not show up on the preview page.
Posted by TurtleGuy  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  01:56 PM
Oh yeah, definitely a conservative agenda.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  02:03 PM
Well, at least he's pretty upfront about his agenda there - it's a list of the top scary-sounding headlines that he thinks people should not be scared of. The tidal wave is a good example. Warning that a massive tidal wave might happen sometime in the next thousand years, for example, may be good science but the article seems to be trying its hardest to play up the danger.
Posted by Matt  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  02:39 PM
Somehow I don't think it's all that alarmist to say that a volcano's going to erupt "sometime in the next few thousand years." It also has a high probability of being accurate.

Alarmist is when the Republicans tell all the Baby Boomers they won't get any Social Security unless they let Bush invest all their pensions in the stock market, or when Bush officials say there's going to be a terrorist attack soon in the U.S., although they don't know when or where or who will do it (Uh, gee thanks, I guess I'll ... uh ... just go on doing exactly the same thing I was doing before.)
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  02:59 PM
Aaack, I wish people would stop using the words "conservative" and "Republican Party" interchangeably. The Republican Party no longer can lay any claim whatsoever to being conservative.
The National Anxiety Center is a great example of exactly that: their agenda is a Republican one, not conservative; a true conservative would not even react to the stories mentioned, let alone hyperventilate about them as Caruba has done.
Posted by John.  on  Wed Dec 08, 2004  at  03:27 PM
John is, of course, correct. These days, "conservative" and "Republican" shouldn't even be allowed in the same sentence, let alone be used as synonyms for each other.

Be that as it may, yes, Alan Caruba is a "conservative" who runs several of these "groups." In other words, he IS the "National Anxiety Center" as well as the entire membership of the other groups. He's a PR guy. No particular shame in that; I myself have invented an "organization" or three in my time. The bottom line here is that, yes, Caruba is a "conservative" who pushes that agenda through his annual press releases on behalf of his various "organizations."
Posted by crankymediaguy  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  05:59 AM
I concur wholeheartedly with both John. and crankymediaguy. "Republican" and "Conservative" should never be used interchangeably. The same goes for "liberal" and "democrat." It also annoys me that people think "democrat" and "democratic" are the same thing. Democratic is a system of government, as is a Republic.
Posted by John  on  Thu Dec 09, 2004  at  05:37 PM
Ooooh, John
Posted by John.  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  11:56 AM
John(R) didn't copyright his name, he registered it as a trademark. If he were copyrighted, he'd be John(c).
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  12:20 PM
So if John
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Fri Dec 10, 2004  at  04:26 PM
Yes, and if John(R) were kosher to eat, he'd be John(K).
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  06:30 PM
He's probably meat rather than dairy.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Dec 11, 2004  at  06:31 PM
Big Gary C alarmingly writes, "Alarmist is when the Republicans tell all the Baby Boomers they won't get any Social Security unless they let Bush invest all their pensions in the stock market..."

When have they ever said this? (they haven't)
Posted by likwidshoe  on  Mon Dec 13, 2004  at  04:23 AM
Ha, I wondered how long it would be before some Dittohead took that bait.
Well, "Liquid Shoe," they (Republicans, and some Democrats too) say it all the time. There's almost no truth at all to the claims that Social Security is going bankrupt, but such claims are continually being used to justify various risky investment schemes for the benefit of Wall Street. The government in general is going bankrupt under Republican leadership, however, but that isn't Social Security's fault.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Mon Dec 13, 2004  at  09:03 PM
Big Gary C, I believe the point of mentioning there will be a terrorist attack is that we are to be vigilant due to terrorist's threats. Thankfully, several attempts have been thwarted in the past three years.

Most informed US citizens agree we need to change Social Security in some way, because in its present state it will not support all the Baby Boomers and those who follow.
Posted by Tyler  on  Thu Dec 16, 2004  at  01:25 PM
If you can tell me when and where a terrorist attack is threatened, it might help me take some useful precaution. But if you just say something to the effect of "some bad person's going to do something bad, somewhere, sometime," it doesn't tell me anything I don't know and only adds to the general level of free-floating anxiety.

Social Security needs some restructuring? Sure, I'll agree to that. But proposals either to let the government invest the money in the stock market or to give it to individuals to invest in the stock market are not responsible reforms, they're just dumb and/or greedy. You might be able to make a killing if you invested your own retirement money, but Lucille the manicurist, Jose the yard maintenance guy, and Niko the dry-cleaner would lose their shirts and wind up begging in the streets.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Thu Dec 16, 2004  at  09:21 PM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/uclickcomics/20041216/cx_tr_uc/tr20041216
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Fri Dec 17, 2004  at  09:26 PM
The tidal wave isn't really a tale anymore, right?
Perhaps the US should install a warning system on the east coast too...
Posted by Bert  in  Belgium  on  Sun Jan 02, 2005  at  09:04 AM
Big Gary C proves he's a jackass, "Ha, I wondered how long it would be before some Dittohead took that bait.
Well, "Liquid Shoe," they (Republicans, and some Democrats too) say it all the time."

Well thanks for the insult right off the bat and intentionally spelling my nickname wrong. I guess you did that to avoid my point that you were lying. You sure know how to argue the wrong way. Why do you feel the need to throw out the term "dittohead"? Can't you just argue your point on it's own merits? I guess not...

There's almost no truth at all to the claims that Social Security is going bankrupt, but such claims are continually being used to justify various risky investment schemes for the benefit of Wall Street.

The "benefit of Wall Street"? Are you stupid? I just want to control my own money. It's called freedom.

Social Security needs some restructuring? Sure, I'll agree to that. But proposals either to let the government invest the money in the stock market or to give it to individuals to invest in the stock market are not responsible reforms, they're just dumb and/or greedy.

Letting people control their own money is "just dumb and/or greedy"? You pompous ass. You're a control freak.

You might be able to make a killing if you invested your own retirement money, but Lucille the manicurist, Jose the yard maintenance guy, and Niko the dry-cleaner would lose their shirts and wind up begging in the streets.

That's hilarious. Letting people control their own money would ensure that they would "wind up begging in the streets" because we all know that just everybody is stupid and only you, our betters, can take care of us. Did I tell you that you're a pompous ass?

So let me see here Big Gary C...you made an unsubstantiated quote, I called you on it, you ignored it and instead insulted me, and then you proceeded to ASSume that everybody who wants to control their own retirement funds is either "dumb and/or greedy", and/or would wind up "begging in the streets".

Great argument jackass.
Posted by likwidshoe  on  Sun Jan 09, 2005  at  11:23 PM
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