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Science in the Media: Thinking Critically


The credibility of journalistic articles is paramount in an era inundated with information of varying reliability. This essay critically evaluates the credibility of an article dubbed “Ontario Plans Procurements for 5,000 MW of Renewables” written by Mitchell Beer using six criteria from the book titled “Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science.” And so it will be a matter of determining, in the analysis which follows, whether this article produces such a well-balanced and yet accurate view or if instead, it succumbs to the common pitfalls of journalistic sensationalism, and comes to a conclusion on its overall authenticity.

Sensationalized Headlines

The newspaper headline is first proper to the point, with no sensationalism in what starts towards any degree of credibility. The headline “Ontario Plans Procurements for 5,000 MW of Renewables” can easily pass through as giving a core subject without exaggerations or misgivings. It also clearly and factually represents the subject matter, again more to inform a viewer than it is to attract through video exaggeration. Such a headline is needed as much to set the tone of reliability and trustworthiness for a viewer. It connotes a rational author and an institutional type of publishing enunciation (Beer, 2023). It only shows that the whole article is undergoing quote convict, informative in nature. What’s more to it is that it has loyalty to responsible journalism in which facts should be reported with clarity and objectivity.

Misinterpreted Results

The article seems not to misinterpret results since it addresses mostly plans and policies rather than studies or data in particular. Beer’s writing pins tight on the statements of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and quotes from relevant authorities. No exaggerated or distorted claims are circulated, just as it has been done before in some quarters about how the 5,000 MW renewable energy procurement can impact. The author keeps a plain way of reporting, letting the information flow through without speculative or exaggerated interpretation. This presents facts without trying to bend them to create the most arresting story. It shows some understanding of the need for accurate reporting, particularly in areas of public policy and environmental impact where misinterpretation could give rise to great public misconstruction.

Conflicts of Interest

This article itself does not openly disclose any conflict of interest so it becomes a matter of concern for the credibility. However an absence of conflict declared does not signify the point of bias being proved, transparency regarding those potential influences does not make any credible reporting at all. The author provides no mention of affiliations or connections to renewable energy industry stakeholder interests, government bodies with an agenda around legislating support for renewable energy, or other opposing interests that would have the effect of skewing the presentation of facts (Beer, 2023). However, the position of the paper is not wrong by a long shot since the lack of disclosure substantiates a conflict of interest but points out an area where the article could be improved on transparency. This enables readers to identify possible biases for them to judge, this in turn helps them decide whether the information is credible or not. The doubt about its impartiality was not eliminated, thus there could be a clearer statement on the independence of its sources and the position of the author in the article.

Correlation and Causation

The article goes on and nicely treads this line between correlation and causation, which is important for proper reporting. It focuses on what the Ontario government planned to do without falling into this common mistake of giving a false sense of causation where only correlation exists. For instance, the job creation potentials related to the procurement of renewable energy are referred to in the article without implications, though, in some direct cause-effect relation. This moderate direction in stating information demonstrates respect for the complex socio-economic dynamic and thus prevents oversimplified conclusions. The approach is measured, and cautious and makes no definitive statements concerning how the policy impacts general economic or environmental outcomes.

Unsupported Conclusions

The article generally avoids making unsupported conclusions. Beer (2023) stays within the bounds of information provided through official sources, such as the IESO, and statements from relevant officials. The authors of these renewable energy procurement plans have steered clear of any speculative language or making unfounded predictions about what their effects may be in the future. For example, when discussing positive impacts that may be generated within the policy such as job creation or environmental impacts, the article communicates these as possibilities or intentions of the policy but not outcomes. This approach shows dedication to journalistic integrity, focusing more on reporting the known facts instead of veering into the realm of conjecture. Such restraint in finding conclusions draws particular attention to articles which deal with policy or environmental issues, as the consequences of misinforming readership can be large.


In conclusion, my overall opinion of the article is that it stands up to the examination using the criteria from the “Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science.” It doesn’t use sensationalist headlines, misinterpret results, and generally speaking it doesn’t make unsupported conclusions, showing respect for the correlation/causation distinction. This could be more transparent on possible conflicts of interest, but the article does not openly show bias or partiality. The other factor that predisposes me to trust this piece more than others is its choice to include views from across the spectrum on the subject. Consequently, the present assessment presumes some degree of confidence in the article, accrediting it in regards to its adherence to journalistic tenets and norms while dealing with a grave environmental as well as policy-related issue at hand with utmost accuracy and accountability.


Beer, M. (2023, December 19). Ontario Plans Procurements for 5,000 MW of Renewables. The Energy Mix.


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