I hate to break it to you, but news reports in the media can’t always be trusted to be entirely accurate. Here is an example of what I mean:
But don’t imagine that such foul-ups occur only in controversial areas like science. They can also happen even with regard to more tranquil and settled subjects, such as politics:
The Times leadership blames the reporters. The reporters blames the Times editors. Where’s my popcorn?
National Review: “The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh”
Seeing this was such sweet sorrow:
And, even if you read no other news story on the latest Kavanaugh controversy, you should pay careful attention to this one, which comes from an impeccably reliable source:
But let’s get back to science!
It’s always a healthy trend in the sciences in particular and in language and culture more generally — well, isn’t it? — when words lose precision and meanings become fuzzy.
From the Wikipedia entry on “Newspeak”:
Newspeak is the language of Oceania, a fictional totalitarian state and the setting of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell. To meet the ideological requirements of English Socialism (Ingsoc) in Oceania, the ruling Party created Newspeak, a controlled language of restricted grammar and limited vocabulary, meant to limit the freedom of thought — personal identity, self-expression, free will — that threatens the ideology of the régime of Big Brother and the Party, who have criminalized such concepts into thoughtcrime, as contradictions of Ingsoc orthodoxy.
In “The Principles of Newspeak”, the appendix to the novel, George Orwell explains that Newspeak usage follows most of the English grammar, yet is a language characterised by a continually diminishing vocabulary; complete thoughts reduced to simple terms of simplistic meaning. . . .
The political purpose of Newspeak is to eliminate the expression of the shades of meaning inherent to ambiguity and nuance from Oldspeak (Standard English) in order to reduce the language’s function of communication, by way of simplistic concepts of simple construction — pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, goodthink and crimethink — which linguistically reinforce the State’s totalitarian dominance of the people of Oceania.
From “The Second Coming,” by William Butler Yeats: