Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
CBS4-WFOR, Channel 4, in Miami, is the latest CBS station to report on chiropractors “using a new adjustment to the neck to help bring down blood pressure.”
“If the bone is out of alignment and putting pressure on a nerve, it interferes with the ability of the heart to function properly,” a chiropractor explains on the WFOR website.
The story cites two anecdotes – one person whose blood pressure became normal “after a few visits,” the other who was able to “cut his medication in half.”
But the story provided no data – only claims of “miraculous changes in blood pressure.”
Nearly identical stories are popping up on CBS websites around the country. This is what we get these days in local TV news, with one station supplying the core of a story which is then copied – with perhaps a local doctor and/or patient thrown in – to make it look like it was original local enterprise reporting. In each case with this story, though, each local CBS website claims that someone on its staff did the reporting. Take a look.
And probably coming to a CBS station near you soon.
One last disturbing angle to this. Look how conveniently WFOR Miami allowed an ad for chiropractors to appear right alongside the chiropractic news story – something we saw on the KDKA Pittsburgh site as well.
How’s that for making almost everyone happy?
• The news director, because he/she got a story from the CBS feed without having to invest in full local reporting.
• The sales department, which landed the chiropractic account.
• The chiropractors, who got their ad placed in valuable real estate adjacent to the unquestioning “news story.”
Everyone should be happy – except viewers, who got no evidence, no balance, no scrutiny, no real reporting.