Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
A San Antonio Express-News columnist reminds us that we’re in the middle of the February TV ratings or sweeps period. And she laments the hype, including that of health news. Excerpt:
“Oh no, I woke with a headache. Boy, do I feel tired! Does that mean I’m at risk for a stroke?
I moved around extra slowly and carefully just in case.
What got me worrying was Monday night’s Tanji Patton report on WOAI’s 10 p.m. news: “A warning for women.” It told how two women suffered a stroke — out of the blue — at widely different ages — one was 49; the other was 15 when she had her first — and suggested that women who show any similar health signs (like that nagging headache) might want to get their blood levels checked and consider lifestyle changes.
Yikes! I immediately made plans for earlier bedtimes and better food choices.
But before doing anything drastic like throw away my chocolate bars, I remembered something. And my mind was put at ease, at least a bit.
It’s one of those months, I realized, when TV news operations try to put viewers on edge, make us fearful, a bit jumpy, so as to compel us to watch their newscasts.
It’s February sweeps — a fact I almost forgot because of the many other biggies of the month: the Super Bowl, the many awards shows, such as the upcoming Grammys and Oscars.”
I’d like to hear from anyone else around the country about their favorite TV sweeps pieces this month.