Transparency about who makes the decisions to frame fictional scenarios and unsubstantiated claims of conspiracy as THEORIES, as in fiction novels, is missing with regard to news media, including NPR. Why am I so suspicious about corruption without transparency about decision-makers in our news? We have the tools of modern science to help test, verify and substantiate claims of conspiracy as theory, except in "fact-based" news, or that is the claim. If a journalist cannot verify a claim, then report it as a suspicion, or unsubstantiated claim. However, journalists seem to ignore the validation of their claims about "conspiracy theories." Journalists chew on these "conspiracy theories" as if they are real enough to sink one's teeth into them! How do serious journalists verify the claim that a conspiracy is tied to a pizza parlor basement in Washington, D.C., in which the basement does NOT exist? A high school science student should be able to nullify such hypothetical statements right off without much testing to keep such hypothetical statements from EVER becoming a THEORY in the real world. Theory comes with rigorous testing, validation, peer review, etc. Please, have some quantum physicists come tell us how this "conspiracy theory" nonsense might parallel the paradox as we have seen in the thought experiment involving Schrödinger's cat in the quantum Universe. Why try to make all this more complicated than ordinary theory concepts in science seem to be? Otherwise, stick with the facts, what is verifiable, testable, and so forth, when speaking of theory in headline news.
Applying basic science literacy as published through the National Academies of Sciences, which is one our best institutions in pursuit of 21st century knowledge. Functional citizens and even dysfunctional ones should be learning basic science and good journalism should help pervade good science methods for discerning the truth from fiction. However, NPR keeps on talking about "conspiracy theories." I keep asking who validates and substantiates these unsubstantiated claims of conspiracy, or false narratives, or plain lies, scams, and hoaxes, as theory? Who helps journalists establish that garbage is theory according to the science model for establishing theory from hypothetical concepts through rigorous methods for testing and validation of data and evidence? This element is NOT TRANSPARENT. Talk of hoaxes, scams, lies as theory is misinforming the public, and talk in interviews in which your hosts equate "ideas of the people with theory" with scientific theory is absurd. The misleading concept is that theory = theory, and given a myriad of other synonyms to explain suspicions, that bandwagon is absurd and cannot work. Language is important. Good journalism, which is what we expect from public media, should follow the science model for the use of theory about phenomena, when reporting news to the public. Suspicions and speculation are not theory either until tested and validated, etc.
It is important for citizens to know how to quickly dismiss nonsense before it can become any theory. There are synonyms for the fiction version of theory, such as suspicion, conjecture, speculation, hunches, guesses, wild guesses, myth, lies, hoax, false narratives, etc. Imagine some member of the U.S. Congress learning how to dismiss a hypothetical narrative, and making it a nullified hypothesis, and never posting it anywhere as THEORY. Public Media are a joke, and are helping with pervading ignorant beliefs that help sustain political positions. We heard President Trump claim that climate change theory was a hoax. Journalist help substantiate that theory is a hoax with claims about conspiracy being framed as theory, and not framing it as a hoax; thus, theory = theory and hoax = hoax. Leave "theory" out of these false claims. Please, apply the following.
"Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed." Source: https://www.nap.edu/read/4962/chapter/4#22
We should demand and expect Public Media to help citizens understand how to apply science in daily life, and not more myths, hoaxes, and lies as theory. Theory should be reserved in fact-based news for hypotheses that have been rigorously tested and validated. This is an excerpt from a National Standard for Science Education:
"Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. *******It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions.******** Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen [journalist] should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately." Source -https://www.nap.edu/read/4962/chapter/4
NPR does not follow this model, but it's not alone, and why? Asterisks added above to highlight how I say, Public Media fails to help people see that a hoax, or scam or false narrative, lies and fabricated nonsense are just that and NOT THEORY, as in fiction novels. It seems that much of what is framed in journalism as theory and theorists (more likely conspiracy creationists) really comes from the fiction model and not one from science literacy. Please, work to change that each and every day, such that we have normal citizens, voters, and members of Congress who are literate regarding the tools of modern science.