Positives are popular, skeptics are digital

My print copy of today's Financial Times had this at the bottom of the oped page.

Yesterday's FT print edition had a column by Jeff Sachs. The positive gets the column, the skeptic gets the footnote.

Bitter, who me &^%$#@?

To be honest, I get more press space (both in print and online) than I really deserve, compared to other skeptics. But, in general,  positives get more way more press than they deserve than skeptics.

It's just simple human nature: all of us prefer inspirational stories with a happy ending to skeptical questioning that implies more work to do before the end. For-profit newspapers (currently struggling to survive at all) very understandably have to go with what's popular (the Sachs column is currently the 2nd most popular on FT Comment, I am way too scared to ask how way down the ranks my online column is)

I have the impression that the balance between positives and skeptics is much more even in the not-for-profit online world of newspapers, blogs, and Twitter (could somebody rigorously test this please).

I went last night to a meetup of development Twitter folks in New York and was very impressed by the knowledgeable, rigorously skeptical attitude of those with whom I got to chat (including those who worked for organizations who publicly side with the positives). Many of the development Twitterati get it more right in 140 characters than the old media does in long feature stories. (There are some really major exceptions in the old media, such as insert your name here.) One Twitterati I met complained about how badly even such an august publication as the New Yorker had botched a story on Somalia.

So OK positives, you've got the newsprint for now, but watch out for the revenge of the digital skeptics!