In case you missed it...

May 13, 2011

Here's a look back at the week in public radio. We can't hear it all, but there are always stories worth a rewind.

On the Media - The 'Decline Effect' and Scientific Truth

On the Media is a public radio show that attempts to "lift the veil from the process of 'making media,' especially news media."

Last Saturday they aired a show on data: what our personal data says about us; how data can be used to create good journalism; how data can lead us astray; and one unusual effect sometimes seen in scientific observation.

It's known as the "decline effect." On the Media host Brook Gladstone spoke with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich from Radio Lab.

They explain the strange phenomenon whereby scientists test a theory, find a strong and interesting result, but the more they test it, the less convincing the result becomes.

From OTM:

Surprising and exciting scientific findings capture our attention and captivate the press. But what if, at some point after a finding has been soundly established, it starts to disappear? In a special collaboration with Radiolab we look at the 'decline effect' when more data tells us less about scientific truth.

The Diane Rehm Show - Jonathan Kay: "Among the Truthers"

Diane Rehm talks with author and journalist Jonathan Kay about conspiracy theorists. Rather than ignore them, Kay got to know them.

From part of an op-ed piece in the Washington Post:

Some folks flee from conspiracy theorists — birthers, truthers, those who think that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone or that Jim Morrison is still alive. Not me. In the past three years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of them.

Kay says all the conspiracy theorists he talked to truly believe what they're saying. The only one he encountered who didn't was Donald Trump. Trump, he said, is using a conspiracy theory as a marketing tool.

You can hear the interview here.