http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/cheerleading-agenda-press-covers-science/ "The fact is that scientists backed by the most effective public relations machinery get disproportionate influence over the press. The shift to see universities as businesses—with students as consumers and researchers as entrepreneurs—is crucial to understanding how we got here. When inquiry is judged in the imagined “marketplace of ideas,” it’s logical for universities to expand their public relations efforts alongside technology transfer offices that tie up research in webs of “intellectual property.” Mainstream media uses these PR efforts, rather than critical thinking, to navigate the complex interface of science and society. Some may object that science journalists lack the scientific background to cover science critically. However, what is often missing isn’t technical mastery of science, but rather the watchdog attitude that journalists have traditionally paid lip service to. The press instead leads with a public relations agenda according to which, as media analyst Mark Crispin Miller wrote, the public is “guided imperceptibly” by “benign rational manipulators.” The goal appears to be to cater to powerful research institutes, while raising support for science from a public treated as docile spectators. The result is neither benign—since it erases inquiries of public interest, as we’ve seen—nor rational. In a less hollow version of itself, the science press would seriously engage people’s innate curiosity about the world and the scientific enterprise that seeks to explain it, while aiming to be part of the fourth estate."