Betrayers of the Truth : Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of by NICHOLAS WADE WILLIAM BROAD

By NICHOLAS WADE WILLIAM BROAD

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Extra info for Betrayers of the Truth : Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science

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Prominence increasingly competes with reputations in certifying knowledge (see Weingart 1991; Chapter 1). The present long-term perspective contributes to this debate. First, I will be able to ascertain whether the recent increase in media coverage is indeed historical. Second, I compare the present with previous periods during which public attention to science was higher, and thus sharpen the boundary conditions of the ‘medialization’ thesis. This chapter will offer three things. First, I will clarify my take on the relationship between public spheres, public attention to and mass media coverage of science.

To gauge the effect of medialization, systems theory suggests three levels on which these effects may occur. These levels incorporate various empirical observations and at the same time allow to distinguish between them according to their range and impact on science. These are the interactional, the organizational and the program level. , if the orientation of science to the media would effectively lead to the displacement of epistemic criteria of novelty, relevance and robustness (all with reference to the scientifically certified body of knowledge) by the media’s criteria of news values.

First, I will clarify my take on the relationship between public spheres, public attention to and mass media coverage of science. Second, I review a number of studies of long-term trends in mass media coverage of science and ‘scavenge’ their data to construct an integrated index of fluctuations in science news over the past 200 years. I will demonstrate the viability and validity of such an index. News references shall be our indicator of public attention to science. Clearly the time period of two centuries is ambitious.

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