The Woke Decline of Scientific American: Fighting Fat Is Racist, 'Gender Rights' Rule

February 10th, 2023 11:20 AM

Scientific American magazine has been around since 1845, evolving into a reader-friendly purveyor of hard science, a respected, slightly intimidating denizen of supermarket checkout lines. But judging by the recent ridiculous trend of stories and editorials, it’s been wholly captured by the woke blob.

On the surface the monthly still does what it says on the label in providing long articles, short reviews, and cool photographs for an intelligent audience, with almost-comprehensible stories on the physics of black holes for science buffs, and stunning photos of deep-sea creatures for the rest of us.

But then there’s the ludicrously left-wing ideology that seeps into every issue. A NewsBusters perusal of the contents of each 2022 regular-release monthly issue revealed 34 stories grounded in liberal assumptions and beliefs, nearly three per issue. That’s even after skipping stories with liberal themes that were nonetheless science-based -- for example, a cover story on melting glaciers in Antarctica wasn’t included.

Of course, the COVID pandemic in particular tugged the magazine toward government interventionism and the smug rule of health “experts.”

Some of the most bizarrely “woke” material is online-on ly, with a wider potential reach. The most notorious recent example is a January 6, 2023 opinion piece, cynically seizing on the on-field collapse of a Buffalo Bills player to label the NFL racist: “Damar Hamlin’s Collapse Highlights the Violence Black Men Experience in Football -- The “terrifyingly ordinary” nature of football’s violence disproportionately affects Black men.” It’s written by Tracie Canada, who is, no surprise, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology.

So what’s the solution? Surely Canada wouldn’t recommend banning blacks from the National Football League for their own protection?

But plenty of bizarre pieces fill the print edition. Here’s a headline from the July 2020 issue of this purported science magazine: “The Racist Roots of Fighting Obesity.” Yet a June 2019 SA article argued that the nation’s “biggest health problem” was obesity. So is Scientific American, for being concerned about obesity, by its own bizarre standard racist as well?

Here are a few more examples of the skewed stories and editorials that appeared in this “science” magazine in 2022:

  • January 2022: In “Inside America’s militias,” Amy Cooter whined anti-scientifically about “whiteness and masculinity” and identifying Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) hell-space as a “civil rights protest zone.”
  • February 2022: The editorial “American History Should Teach Reality – Lessons about racism are essential to a fact-based education.” The movement against teaching Critical Race Theory in schools was dismissed in hysterically biased terms: “This regressive agenda threatens children’s education by propagating a falsified view of reality in which American history and culture are outcomes of white virtue. It is part of a larger program of avoiding any truths that make some people uncomfortable, which sometimes allows in active disinformation, such as creationism.”
  • March 2022 was a special COVID issue, including the leftist lecture How a Virus Exposed the Myth of Rugged Individualism.”  
  • A column by Northwestern University professor Aldon Morris, “The Pandemic Deepened Fault Lines in American Society,” was even wackier. Beyond the claim that “The toll revealed in very stark ways that racial disparities and racism were alive and well in the U.S.,” Morris somehow tied in Kyle Rittenhouse: “The Kyle Rittenhouse case, in which a vigilante who shot white people participating in largely Black protests in 2020 was completely exonerated, is also alarming. In the 1960s segregationists attacked white participants in the CRM, describing them as race traitors. Rittenhouse’s assault has similar overtones. Now white people know that not only can conservatives attack them if they participate in protests, but the courts may also side with the attackers….”

Scientific American is edited by Laura Helmuth, who came aboard in April 2020. She told Poynter that year that “we knew we needed to improve diversity and inclusion.” But the decline began before Helmuth.

A notorious September 2017 magazine story with graphics and text by Amanda Montanez was seemingly conjured to enable the most biologically ignorant trans-activists to pretend that the clear binary of male and female was actually a spectrum of disorders of sex development (DSD), “which, broadly defined, may affect about one percent of the population -- represent a robust, evidence-based argument to reject rigid assignations of sex and gender.”

So much for basic reproductive anatomy knowledge at SA (testes produce sperm, ovaries produce eggs; there is no “spectrum”). Montanez concluded: “I am hopeful that raising public awareness of intersex, along with transgender and non-binary identities, will help align policies more closely with scientific reality, and by extension, social justice.”

Indeed, many Scientific American articles boil down to “social justice,” not science.

Click “Expand” to read the full list of liberal stories from 2022, with added explanation in parentheses if needed:


“Inside America’s militias.”


“American History Should Teach Reality – Lessons about racism are essential to a fact-based education.”

“Breaking the Techno-Promise--we do not have time for nuclear power to save us from the climate crisis.”

“Generational Climate Change – young people will suffer the most from warming temperatures.”

MARCH 2022:

“The Science of Health.” (Pushing abortion pills.)

COVID section:

“A Microbe Proved That Individualism is a Myth.”

“Lockdowns Showed the Promise of Cities With Fewer Cars.”

“Long Haulers Called Attention to Chronic Illnesses.”

“Date Captured COVID’s Uneven Toll.”

“Fault Lines in American Society Got Deeper.”

“Vaccine Inequality Shut Vulnerable People Out of Plans to Save the Planet.”

“Conspiracy Theories Made It Harder for Scientists to Seek the Truth.”

APRIL 2022

“Protect Voting Rights – They boost suffrage, not fraud.” (Editorial)

“Fake-News Sharers – Highly impulsive people who lean conservative are most likely to pass along false news stories.”

“Colonialism Shadows Fossil Science.”

MAY 2022

“Female Birds Sing, Too – Science is better when it is inclusive.”

JUNE 2022

“One Million Dead form COVID Is Not Normal – News media and policy makers are normalizing a staggering death toll.”

Special Report on Health Equity:

“An Untold Cost.”

“Discrimination Is Heartbreaking.”

“Mental Health Care’s Great Divide – The stress of COVID fractured a system that was already cracked.”

“Profiles in Health Equity – Four innovators are finding new solutions for the problem of injustice.”

“Men Aren’t From Mars, nor Are Women from Venus – Most personalities blend characteristics associated with both traditional genders.”

JULY 2022

“Climate Miseducation.”

“Power on Trial – In a future where people hold the perpetrators of the climate crisis to account, what has changed?” (Novel review.)


“Unequal Diabetes Care – U.S. screening guidelines miss too many people of color.”


 “Scientist as Public Advocates” (On climate change.)


 “Vote for Science” (Included the subheads “Reproductive and gender rights,” “Health and the pandemic,” “Gun Safety,” and “Climate.”)

“An Unsustainable Partnership --Stanford University mistakenly acts as if the fossil-fuel industry will help it --and the rest of us --tackle the climate crisis.”


“Decriminalize Marijuana.”

“Gas Stove Worries.”

“In Schools, Talk about Racism Can Reduce Bias – New laws prohibit these conversations, but dialogue dispels bias and stress.”

“Downplaying the Pace of Arctic Warming.”

“The Cost of Climate Change.”


“The Opioid Epidemic Is Surging among Black People because of Unequal Access to Treatment -- Clinics and the most effective types of therapy are harder to find in communities where people of color live.”