Last week’s editorial implied that Michael Proctor’s grizzly bear research for the Purcells, in which Jumbo Creek sits, is suspect because one of the funders also supports Wildsight. I am hopeful that the editor was simply not thinking how serious that insinuation is. Other scientists hold Mike in high regard for helping develop a novel and accurate census method and for publishing important peer-reviewed research.
Perhaps the editor wasn’t considering the irony of that criticism coming from a journalist. If a scientist’s credibility is automatically suspect because of a partial funder’s other interests, shouldn’t we be equally concerned about how accurately news unfavourable to a paying advertiser might be reported? I tend to trust journalists’ abilities to set aside financial consideration when reporting, just as I’m fully comfortable that Mike Proctor reported the results accurately and professionally. I think most of us would rather see a thoughtful critique of the research itself, rather than an unsubstantiated smear against a researcher.