Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
Wrong because observational studies can’t prove cause-and-effect. So causal language like “lowers risk” is simply inaccurate. And the constant banner across the bottom of the screen – “2 cups lowers uterine cancer risk” – is misleading. Physician-correspondent Jennifer Ashton never mentioned the limitations of observational studies. And she never corrected the anchor when she said she didn’t drink coffee but maybe she should start, nor when the anchor asked, “Besides drinking coffee, what can you do….”
What’s the harm in this? This is the kind of “yes, it’s good for you….no it isn’t” superfluous news coverage that helps all journalism lose credibility with the public.
Read our primer on misleading language on observational studies to learn more.