WebMD posted one of those stories that makes my skin crawl. The formula: use a cute, sexy headline and lead sentence, then follow with weak caveats, leaving the reader with nothing useful at the end.
The story is headlined, “Levitra a Day May Keep the Doctor Away.” It promotes Levitra use with its lead sentences, “Men now have two new reasons to take erection-enhancing drugs every day. Those reasons: The drugs may lower a man’s risk of heart disease and of noncancerous prostate symptoms.” But then it follows with, “This provocative speculation is based on short-term data from a small study.” And it ends with, “But it’s not yet time to start popping those little pills along with your daily vitamins. The study findings… are preliminary.”
How do you justify the headline and the lead with the caveats? And this story was reviewed by a physician? Perhaps the editorial and physician review team need to be reminded of the number of preliminary findings presented at scientific meetings (as this was) that never pan out. And when that happens, journalists like these aren’t around to correct the record.
Chalk it up as a waste of time and space. Come back when you have large-scale, long-term findings to report.