The Director of the National Center for Science Education recently declared that “the election of someone who thinks climate change is a hoax and whose running mate once denounced evolution from the floor of the House of Representatives, is frightening and deeply depressing. It is more than possible that the sweeping Republican triumph at the national level may embolden local efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution and climate change.”

There has long been strong linkage between the media (entertainment industry) and election politics. The Republicans used this to their advantage in using “celebrities” such as Reagan (President) and Schwartzenegger (Governor). A gamble that seemed to work. The Democrats also link up with celebrities, but seldom put them forward for high office. This time the Republicans went too far, and many, but not enough, of them, disavowed Trump at an early stage (e.g. Romney). So first blame goes to the Republicans. Second blame goes to the media who allowed Trump to put Hillary in the same class as Edward Snowdon.

What scholarly media folk may not appreciate is that there is a similar dynamic in academia and sorting out the gold from the dross is something they have a hand in. For any who might think Trumpism does not happen in science, two accounts of the career of Niels Jerne will perhaps provide helpful reading (1, 2).

1.Soderqvist T (2003) Science as Autobiography: the Troubled Life of Niels Jerne (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven).

2.Eichmann K (2008) The Network Collective: Rise and Fall of a Scientific Paradigm (Birkhauser, Berlin).