Take a look at the graphic below. Does it look like a pig’s breast or like a human breast form? Because it was a centerpiece of a CBS Early Show story about research to grow breast tissue – and it’s only been done in pigs.
But that didn’t stop CBS’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton from calling it a breakthrough with “potentially huge implications.” Somehow, without any explanation, she was able to project that this might be used in women in 3 years – even though human trials have not yet begun. Wow, what a fantastic crystal ball TV docs possess!
1. It’s only been done in pigs.
2. It hasn’t been done in one woman yet.
3. There are far more failures than successes in any research that makes the leap from animals to humans.
4. Anything that has “potentially huge implications” also has the potential for no implication.
That’s why we favor a rational discussion of evidence – not breathless hyperbole. And that’s why we don’t work in TV news anymore.