Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm not convinced about Dr. Bruce Ivins (Part 1)

But I am convinced that there is not a single journalist with a functioning brain left in this country. The reporting about Bruce Ivins, his apparent suicide and looming indictment by the federal government underscores what the media is today: biased and uninformed.

Let me start with the label "anthrax letters."
I hate this phrase since anthrax is a disease, not a letter. However, these two little words tell you everything you need to know about the quality of the information you are about to receive. For the record, jackass reporters: Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of the disease anthrax. Said another way, the letters contained B. anthracis spores not anthrax.

The intentional release of B. anthracis spores through the mail occurred before I entered my graduate school lab. However, the increased security resulting from this release is something I deal with everyday. I want to post on this incident, but it will likely require multiple entries since I am too irritated right now to comment on everything. (I am saving the bullshit about testing his anthrax "cure" for later when I am calm.)

Right now I want to comment on CNN's interview with Tom Ivins, older brother to Bruce Ivins. If you haven't listened to it, please do. It will only take a couple of minutes. Now, take a look at this CNN news story, paying specific attention to use and placemnt of the Tom Ivins quote, "I tried to stay away from him."

When taken out of the context of the phone interview, this remark implies that Bruce Ivins is so strange/dangerous/bizarre that his own brother chose to avoid him. In my opinion, this is exactly what the reporter was going for (that's called sensationalism, by the way). In the context of the full interview, with the idiotic anchor John Roberts, Tom Ivins comes off as someone with an ax to grind. Furthermore, when Roberts asks T. Ivins why he tried to stay way from his brother, Tom Ivins responds with some incoharant babble about his two other brothers (of which Bruce is one) sharing a room together and growing up together. He never really gives a reason. Tom Ivins' parting statement regarding his brother is "He can go to hell as far as I'm concerned."

Maybe CNN should just stick to what it does best, fluff reporting about idiot celebrities. The days of CNN being a reputable hard news agency are long gone.


chall said...

I think the paper I read yesterday stated yet another one of those comments... "He was a socially shy scientist and kept to himself in lab".

Well, that doesn't fit as a descrition on many of the scientists I know? Not. At. All. Duh.

I think the idea of slandering dead people and get their annoyed siblings to do most of the slandering is.... what did you write "sensationalism". oh yes.

microbiologist xx said...

I know! What was up with that brother they interviewed? It kind of sounded like he was drunk or something.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I'm astonished I haven't seen more about this story on the news and on the blogs. It's clearly taking a back seat to the deranged decapitation story here in Canada. The timing is so strange - I hadn't thought about the anthrax incidents in years, then a colleague mentioned them (as in "whatever happened with..." just a few days ago, before this story broke.

microbiologist xx said...

What is up with the decapitations? Some guy in Greece decapitated his wife this weekend too.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I don't know, but I think the risk to you and I is about the same as that of contracting anthrax.