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More journalistic screening bias: "a matter of faith not science"

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Last year I published an article documenting several instances of U.S. journalists’ apparent bias in favor of certain screening tests – in the absence of evidence supporting such tests in they way they were being promoted.

Now it’s just come to my attention that an Australian team published an article in November describing an analysis of Australian news coverge of prostate cancer screening. Their conclusion:

“Australian men are exposed to unbalanced and often non-evidence-based appeals to seek PSA testing. There is a disturbing lack of effort to redress this imbalance.”

Of special note is how the authors documented the “widespread, overwhelmingly negative” reaction to a statement by the head of an Australian cancer agency who told a newspaper that, at age 59, he chose not to have a PSA test.

And journalists seemed to join in the ad hominem attacks. All because the man spoke from a perspective of evidence and science, not faith and emotion.

We will continue to follow journalism’s role in promoting non-evidence-based approaches and will address it whenever we see it.

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