Questioning conventional wisdom

The Times Bits Blog points us to research apparently tearing apart the generally accepted connection between cell-phone usage and auto accidents: Even as phone usage has increased, accidents have not.

Of course, it should always be the job of journalists to question conventional wisdom. But until now, no one has probed this one, so far as I know. Someone should have asked long ago whether this connection was known and how it was known and if it wasn’t someone should have noted that and looked into it. Instead, it got spread: another damned media meme.

Makes me think that newspapers should engage assumption-debunkers from the public and the academe. Now that The Times has the Freakonomics guys under their roof, perhaps they can organize a network of balloon poppers, also known as fact checkers.