I will break down one such article here. I won't link to it because it was fairly typical of other such articles and I don't want to bring attention to the ghost hunting group. It describes the same tired ghost hunting "formula" we've seen (without any breakthroughs) for the past several decades: ghost hunters with a bunch of blinky technical gear, a psychic or two coming along, all wandering around in a dark building looking for signs of ghostly activity. (For more about the formula, please see: http://carolynscreepycorner.blogspot.com/2015/06/stop-insanity.html)
The location for the ghost hunt is a historical hotel and, according to one of the ghost hunter's research, women were beaten and murdered there and their bodies dragged out from a fire escape. Unfortunately, as we have seen, well-known stories from some of the most famous "haunted" locations are complete fabrications. So... did this really happen? Is there an official record of this story in some dusty archives somewhere? You would think a journalist would do some research to verify such claims, since they seemed provide an origin of why folks think the place is haunted and who might be haunting it.
The article goes on to describe how they wander through the building in the dark. Mostly, the reporter describes how one of the ghost hunters used dowsing rods and could "sense" ghosts. Throwing any objectivity out the window, the reporter seemed to buy completely into this. So there was no explanation of how priming can influence what we perceive, nor any mention of how the ideomotor affect has been attributed to dowsing rods. This "sensitive" ghost hunter kept describing feelings of heaviness or lightness in the air and seeing shadows here and there. No questioning of what else could cause such sensations in the environment, such as infrasound. There was no mention of the shadows being captured on any of the cameras. Because of this, if I was a skeptical reporter, I might look into the possibility of visual misperception. But there was nothing to indicate she had done so. If she had, she would have found that our eyes do not see well in the dark, and how misperception of seeing shadows peripherally are fairly common in low light conditions. (See an older post of mine, "Ghosts and Misperceptions": http://carolynscreepycorner.blogspot.com/2010/11/ghosts-and-misperception.html ) By the conclusion of the article, the reporter too had seen a shadow out of the corner of her eye and had the sensation that the room felt "lighter" after the shadow was gone. The ghost hunters "confirmed" this as a paranormal experience and now the reporter has gone from supposed skeptic to believer.
But in my opinion, the reporter was never truly skeptical to begin with. Approaching claims from a skeptical approach is active, not passive. It requires one to question claims and test their validity, not take them at face value. Granted, this was a fluff piece done in the spirit of Halloween but the problem with this, and others like it, is that was written by an actual journalist, a professional we are generally led to believe is impartial and strives to report facts. But there was no fact-checking at all here. These types of stories not only mislead the general public, but also inexperienced paranormal enthusiasts in particular, that such ghost hunts are scientific investigations, producing evidence of the paranormal when they are not. They perpetuate misinformation and detract from actual science and the pursuit of valid answers. I think it would be wonderful to find authentic evidence of the paranormal. But as long as many ghost hunters continue to ignore scientific methodology and stick to subjective means because they are more fun (and popular), I doubt they can reach that goal.