Bad PR: Why you can’t believe everything you read

Watch Michael Marshall during his talk earlier this month on the 15th of December, 2011 at the “Head of Steam” in Liverpool, England.


Bad News: How PR Came to Rule Modern Journalism

“You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.”

Few people realise this truism extends far beyond the celebrity pages and gossip columns; the near-invisible influence of PR companies is often pivotal in deciding what news gets told, and how it gets reported as ‘real’ news.

By taking a brief look at the history of modern journalism, and using real examples taken from recent headlines, Michael Marshall will show why you really, really can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

Michael Marshall is the co-founder and vice-president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and appears on the “Skeptics with a K”, “Righteous Indignation” and “Strange Quarks” podcasts. Besides organising national and international campaigns against homeopathy, he writes about the often-unsuspected role of PR in modern media. He was once called by Ben Goldacre ‘a mighty nerd from Liverpool’. He was also once rather amusingly called a very rude word by self-proclaimed psychic Joe Power.

Hosts: The Head of Steam, Liverpool
twitter: @HeadofSteamLiv
twitter: @merseyskeptics

MSS Members:

Mike Hall
Michael Marshall
Colin Harris
Andrew Johnston
Helen Wynne

Video Production – Mark & Heather Pentler

The Potential for Humanity


Part of a series of videos on YouTube – A Tribute to Carl Sagan.
Posted every Wednesday at 12:30pm AusEST

DNA Found on Meteorites

That wraps up this years Wednesday Video from the Carl Sagan Tribute collection; next year – still on Wednesdays, will see a continuation of the series. 🙂

Custom Mod: Air Intake Cover

While I should have taken a few more photos during the making of it, I forgot. Meh! 🙂

You’ll need:
A sheet of aluminum.
Spray Paint.

Use the cardboard to draft cut and fit where the sheets will go.

Trace the cardboard cut-out onto your sheet of aluminum; allow some space on either sheet at the edge where they meet.

Fold the extra space a 90 degree angle.

Align the two sheets and drill holes for the screws & fender bolts

Test fit them.

This is my test fitment:


Spray the sheets.

My sheets painted:


Fit them.

And voila!


Stuff you may have missed for December 20, 2011

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An unbelievably unreasonable, waste of time.


I need to stops engaging with the unreasonable.

For a while last night I thought I was finally out of an argument with someone who made it clear they would refuse to change their mind, irrespective of the evidence; but, as it turned out that I ended up jumped down the rabbithole again, but this time on my own blog – this time, about claims that NASA consults the Sikh’s – I won’t sugar coat it.

It got messy, and it wasn’t surprising that it was the pious that decided to decent in to accusing my dead mother of beastiality.

The accusation itself didn’t phase me; what I found obnoxious was the fact that this persons’ INTENT was to be offensive – to me, in their mind, they felt they were righteous to do so because they believed they were defending their “faith”.

So in the future, perhaps I should approach these situations with the following in mind – Is there evidence that would change their mind?

If not, I need to walk away.

I don’t see much point engaging with the willfully ignorant on a personal level.

But, if there is something that they declare would change their mind, get the evidence needed and go from there.

New Car: 1989 ED9 Honda CRX – SiR Conversion

Today I took ownership of a second Generation II CRX, an ED9 with a B16A. Previously owned by another member of CRXaustralia, this little pocket rocket is my first V-TEC CRX, having had two D-series’.


I intend leaving as it is, save a few minor modifications:

– Power Mirrors
– Central Locking
– Custom Air intake Cover
– Delete Antenna
– Front Registration Plate Relocation
– Tow Hook
– Aluminum Boot Floor
– New Visors
– Map Lights

Currently the car has the following:
– Cusco front brace
– 15×8 Simmons v4 White Mesh 3-piece Wheels
– Apexi Vac 2.
– VTEC bumped forward to 4500
– Koni Adjustable Struts in front.
– Generic aftermarket struts in rear.
– Lowered Kings Springs all round.
– Battery Relocation to Boot with Kill switch.
– Black Recaro SR4 Replica Seats.
– Momo steering wheel.
– Aftermarket gear knob.
– Brand spanking new Dizzy.
– Hurricane Headers
– Hurricane Axleback with twin tip
– Weather Visors
– Cold Air Intake
– Half-Bay Wire Tuck
– Sony CD deck with USB
– 16v rear deck wing
– J’s Racing Replica Lip
– OEM Rear Mud flaps
– Tints all ’round.