I always enjoy former US Senator David Durenberger’s newsletter from the National Institute on Health Policy. I would recommend that readers of this blog subscribe to it. Durenberger was one of the Senate’s leading voices on health policy during his time on the Hill – a voice that continues to resonate with many today.
So I was honored to read this week’s edition, and to see this unsolicited plug for our efforts. He wrote:
SHOULD YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR OR READ ABOUT HEALTH CARE?
Gary Schwitzer has spent his professional career in journalism and in teaching the role of journalism in society, most recently at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. Having observed the challenge to health, health care and health policy of inexperienced or biased reporting and less than good scientific research and analysis, Gary has become the “go-to” guy for good reporting and actionable information.
He publishes an online HealthNewsReview.Org which weekly honors excellence and dishonors puffery in journal reporting. No news attracts readers like that which relates to their concerns about their own health or about the costs of their health care. But no one other than Gary Switzer is taking the time to create a standard of accuracy by which actionable information must be judged.
At no time in our history have we been more dependent on good reporting about things beyond our scope or our control than we are today. The ability of unreliable or biased information and its reporting to distort public opinion and destroy public confidence in policy-makers has made it well nigh impossible for elected officials to deliver the hard news we need to hear. Or the good news that is possible from appropriate behavior change. So, every week I take my hat off to Gary Switzer. Awaiting the day that “accuracy tiering” (platinum/gold/silver, e.g) comes to media reporting.
(Correct name spelling was the first one.)