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Aus: 'False balance at The Conversation' - Greg Ashman's blog

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:08 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Teacher-blogger, Greg Ashman, raises the issue of an inconsistent policy underpinning The Conversation media organisation:

False balance at The Conversation ... versation/

I am not a climate change skeptic but I disagree with this stance. It is one thing for The Conversation to decline to publish articles from climate change deniers, but it is quite another to refuse to accept comments from them and to even lock their accounts, preventing them from commenting on other matters. The stated reason is that authors and other commentators were spending too much time rebutting, “those who are fixated on dodgy ideas in the face of decades of peer-reviewed science,” and who are, “nothing but dangerous.” I can understand the frustration with people who might start redefining terms or selectively quoting data to make their case and the effort this requires to counter. However, this still seems an odd stance for an outlet with a mission to bring academic discourse, with its implied commitment to freedom of expression, to the wider public.

Yet when it comes to the science of reading, The Conversation takes quite a different view. Despite decades of peer-reviewed scientific research, three independent reviews of the research literature conducted for the U.S. government, the U.K. Government and the Australian Government, and continued research demonstrating the effectiveness of a systematic approach to teaching phonics as part of early reading instruction, Ketchell and colleagues introduced false balance by publishing two articles yesterday (here and here), one which argued the scientific case for systematic phonics instruction and the other which argued for the widely discredited ‘whole language’ approach.