Recently, I wrote about the media covering stories about science, health and academic papers without providing references. I wrote to several newspapers and the BBC to complain about this. What I’ve found is that not only do the media not bother to give references to the academic work they are writing about, but they don’t bother to respond promptly to enquiries about their policy of keeping this information from us. The most likely conclusion is, I think, that they consider the general public to be morons incapable of understanding references – and they don’t think they need to explain themselves to their readers either. I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly insulting. They will tell you what the story is, because they don’t just report the news – oh no, they make the news. Fair enough – I won’t keep badgering them about it (well, except perhaps for a brief reminder email to make sure they haven’t simply forgotten). I’ll just leave them to continue reporting on the science and bringing us valuable news like “MMR Causes Autism”  and “Red Wine May Prevent Cancer” . After all, with a mainstream media like ours providing us with the truth behind these stories and writing responsible, accurate pieces like these… why would we need references in order to check out the papers ourselves? We have the Great British Media to tell us what’s what.