Dr. Jen Gunter
In 2014, the news was dominated by a high-profile retail chain that ended insurance coverage for its employees for birth control. As this case reached the Supreme Court, Dr. Gunter -- a popular writer on birth control issues -- wrote a national article correctly pointing out that three of the four drugs discussed in the case were contraceptives, not abortion medications. This corrected a popularly repeated narrative that charged all four were for terminating pregnancies, when three of them were never for that purpose and had little chance of causing such an effect.
But beware the ire and influence of a nationally syndicated pundit. Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News Channels' The Kelly File, specifically called out Gunter's article by name, accusing her of falsifying that information to further an ideological agenda, and firmly asserting that all three of these drugs:
"They can and do end fertilized eggs."
As Dr. Gunter put it in her response piece that The New Republic ran, "I'm an OB/GYN; she's not." Unfortunately, by then the damage was done; far more viewers watched The Kelly File than will ever see the actual science-based corrections in The New Republic.
Though this particular incident was obviously exacerbated by passionate political ideologies, the base issue is one of misrepresenting science to make a TV program more sensational and to fit the viewers' expectations, facts be damned. That's the real problem.
Science Friction is a new documentary film that will expose this faux science programming, and give the scientists a chance to clear the record. The film is being crowdfunded right here on this page.
Skeptoid Media is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, so all crowdfunding donations are fully tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.