Monday, November 21, 2005

Push-back against 60 Minutes hit piece on New Orleans.

This is good responsible journalism from the Times Picayune.
In a letter to 60 Minutes, Boesch said the op-ed piece written by Kusky for the Boston Globe in September “reads like an undergraduate paper — a little bit of truth but with a lot of important information missing and not much deep thinking. And, I wouldn’t grade it highly.

“The disaster of Katrina is sad in so many respects,” Boesch wrote. “One of those for me as a scientist is the proliferation of self-proclaimed experts who, either to seek attention or push their own agendas, have rushed to write op-eds or otherwise opine to the media on topics far from their expertise. They are affecting people’s fears and lives and confusing rational decision making on governmental policies and investments.” 
. . . . . .
But University of Texas at Austin geology Professor Charles G. Groat, who was then director of the U.S. Geological Survey, flatly disagreed with Kusky’s conclusions.

Groat said Kusky relied on “an off-hand comment that has often been repeated” that was included in a University of New Orleans magazine piece that compared New Orleans to Atlantis.

The basic fallacy that Kusky engages in is the leap from a scientific fact, that subsidence is occurring (at an unpredictable rate), and the social policy recommendation that New Orleans be essentially abandonned. He says he's "surprised" at his critics' reaction. He shouldn't be: scientists who stray from evidential fact into social engineering are richly deserving of whatever criticism they get.

CBS replies, somewhat lamely, to critics here.

1 comment:

bayoustjohndavid said...

Well CBS seems to explain that it included Kusky so that it wouldn't be biased in favor of rebuilding. some explanation. If they were going to engage in he said/she said journalism, shouldn't they have had a geologist give the opposing view. I posted on it myself before seeing the above.

It wasn't that I disagreed with the sixty minutes pieces so much as i found it appallingly dishonest