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CNN fear-mongering, screening advocacy on kids' hearts tests

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Two CNN anchors join the ranks of other journalists (see my blog from just 2 days ago) who have jumped on the “let’s screen every American kid’s heart” bandwagon.

First, I heard anchor Kyra Phillips say there was an “unprecedented rise in the risk of serious heart problems in children” – calling it “a ticking time bomb.”

She and the network provided no evidence about that “unprecedented rise.” No numbers. Just hyperbole.

Then Campbell Brown interviewed the Houston doctor who reported screening 100 kids and finding two who needed surgery.

Brown concluded the segment by saying, “With those two children alone it’s worth it in my view.”

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Why does CNN allow its personalities to editorialize like this on complex health policy issues? Ms. Brown seemed to miss her physician-guest’s own admission that he can’t be sure that his initial screening experience would be duplicated in the next 100 kids he would screen. But it didn’t matter. The CNN personality had already declared the screening “worth it.”

So there you have it.

CNN, once again, taking a pro-screening advocacy stance that goes well beyond the boundaries of acceptable journalism. And once again, the network makes any meaningful discussion of public health policy and of health care reform just that much more difficult.

For past examples of imbalanced, incomplete CNN stories on screening tests for hearts, breasts, prostates and more, see:

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