Bad Media Spin On The LHC

Arun Jiwa @ 11-09-2008

It was all fun and games until someone took the end-of-the-world speculations one step too far:

A 16-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh, [India] allegedly committed suicide after watching news on channels about possibility of the end of earth following the atom-smasher experiment in Geneva that began on Wednesday…Her parents told reporters she was watching about the world’s biggest atom-smasher experiment in Geneva on news channels since the last two days following which she got restless and ended her life.

I’m divided between blaming the wildly inaccurate claims circulated by the media, and just a general lack of scientific education for believing these “doomsday” claims. But there’s this, regarding the media portrayal of the event in India, to support both:

The ministry found stories talking about the world coming to an end, shown in various dramatised forms, as unsuitable for “unrestricted public exhibition” and “unsuitable for children“. Media critics have pointed out that instead of looking at the Big Bang experiment as a scientific development, doomsday stories only succeeded in scaring naive viewers and annoying those who saw through the facade. “The experiment has been the talking point everywhere for all the wrong reasons,” a media critic said.

[story from Sify, additional updates from The Times of India, via Bruce Sterling]

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7 Responses to “Bad Media Spin On The LHC”

  1. surya narayan singh says:

    my thoughts on lhc

  2. Tom Marcinko says:

    I hope that story about that poor girl turns out not to be true.

    BBC has Reassuring children about the world’s end.

  3. Tom Marcinko says:

    my thoughts on lhc

    Good column, Surya.

  4. Arun Jiwa says:

    Tom, unfortunately, it seems to be true. The link to the article goes
    into more details about the entire event. Where do media responsibility and
    balanced reporting standards go in these cases?

  5. Paul Raven says:

    Last dictionary I consulted, “media responsibility” redirected to “oxymoron”.

  6. Tom Marcinko says:

    Again, I have to paraphrase Atrios/Eschathon: After 9/11, the media said it was time to stop being so silly. How’s that working out?

  7. Arun Jiwa says:

    @ Paul, that’s a plausible definition.