2021-03-15: Taxpayer-funded pseudoscience                    rak


When Canadian taxpayers pay the CBC (Canada's state broadcaster)
$1.2B yer year [0], they expect real journalism, not

At the top of the CBC homepage [1], nestled between news articles
titled "Former reservist says military doctor warned her of
reprisals for reporting sexual assault" and "2 men charged with
assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer who died following Jan. 6
riot", we find the article "Your horoscope for the week ahead:
Mercury enters reflective Pisces allowing deep insights to
flourish" [2].

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man (guilty as
charged), this is problematic for several reasons:

1) Juxtaposing pseudoscience with news articles legitimizes it.
You might think "Everybody knows that astrology is just fun
fluff!". This is not so. In 2018, the National Science
Foundation found that 39% of American adults [3, Table S7-32]
thought that astrology was "very scientific" or "sort of
scientific". A 2019 survey [4] by Canadian pollsters had similar
findings. The juxtaposition of pseudoscience and news by an
allegedly reputable source only reinforces this view.

2) The CBC could instead have used this money to pay a real
journalist to write a real news article that would actually
have informed its readers.

PS: The above "tempest in a teapot" is perhaps a reflection of
my current general disappointment in the Canadian government:
its abysmal vaccination rates, the Trudeau government's failure
to take seriously sexual misconduct in the Canadian armed
forces, its wanton violation of civil liberties, etc.

[0] https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/impact-and-accountability/finances/annual-reports/ar-2019-2020/financial-sustainability/revenue-and-other-funds
[1] screenshot: gopher://rak.ac/I/files/2021-03-15-Taxpayer-funded-pseudoscience/2021-03-15-170525_922x950_scrot.png
[2] https://www.cbc.ca/life/culture/your-horoscope-for-the-week-ahead-mercury-enters-reflective-pisces-allowing-deep-insights-to-flourish-1.5948039
[3] National Science Board, "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes,
    Knowledge, and Interest", Report NSB-2020-7, May 15, 2020.
    Report: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20207/
    Table: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20207/supplemental-tables
[4] https://researchco.ca/2020/01/01/canada-astrology/