RealClearScience: Most Transparent News Site Ever!

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Here at RealClearScience, we pride ourselves on five things: (1) Explaining the science behind complex topics; (2) Debunking bad science or pseudoscience; (3) Endorsing policies and opinions that we feel are best aligned with scientific evidence; (4) Having the site operated by people who were trained in science, not journalism; and (5) Remaining politically agnostic and as transparent as possible.

Dedication to these principles has led us to operate in ways that few other media outlets would dare imitate. For instance, in an article titled “What RealClearScience Is For and Against,” we listed our position on every controversial scientific topic that is discussed in the media. Perhaps surprisingly, our entire editorial team was in 100% agreement on the list, though each of us comes from different ideological backgrounds.

How is that possible? Because, as we have written before, we are first and foremost dedicated to a fact-based worldview. If the evidence changes, our opinion changes. Adherence to that simple mandate is quite liberating: It allows us the freedom to be curious and to follow the scientific data wherever it may lead. That intellectual emancipation further allows us to remain open and honest and, most importantly, to shake off the rigid partisanship that has gripped too much of America’s mainstream media.

So, in honor of that tradition of scientific transparency that we began nearly five years ago, we felt that it would be important to reveal exactly where each of us fell on the political spectrum. Each of us took a “political quiz” (courtesy of — which to our estimation appears fairly accurate — and we have posted the results below. (How many other journalists do you think would be willing to dothat?)

Detailed descriptions of the chart can be seen here, but in general, this is a quick-and-dirty way to interpret the chart:

Left/Right = Applies to economic policy
Liberal/Communitarian = Translates to “individual rights” vs. “societal rights”


Red = Republicans (conservatism)
Yellow = Libertarians (libertarianism)
Blue = Democrats (social liberalism)
Green = Socialists (social democracy)

Editor Alex Berezow, who founded RealClearScience in October 2010, describes himself as a political centrist. His test result mostly confirms this description. He is precisely halfway between liberal/communitarian (meaning that he values individual and societal rights roughly equally), but he skews slightly to the right on economic policy.

Assistant editor Ross Pomeroy, who joined RealClearScience in June 2011, describes himself as a “lefty who is annoyed by most lefties.” His test result mostly confirms the first part of that description, though it can’t measure the latter.

Finally, our Newton Blog contributor and physics connoisseur, Tom Hartsfield, describes himself as a libertarian. His test result surprised him a bit; he was quite far to the right on economic policy (which is typical for a libertarian), but nearly centrist on the liberal/communitarian axis (which is not typical for a libertarian).

If we average our scores together, we obtain:

Left/Right: 33.3 (out of 100) to the Right
Liberal/Communitarian: 16.7 (out of 100) toward Liberal

Thus, as a whole, the RealClearScience editorial team is mostly centrist, with a very slight libertarian skew. And, we aren’t afraid to admit it, because when it comes to science, we do our best to put all of our ideological baggage aside and analyze the data as objectively as we can.

Now, we challenge all media outlets to be as transparent as RealClearScience!