10/30/2008

Evidence? Harms? Why don't journalists report the full story on screening tests?

My thanks to The Daily Beast for publishing my commentary this week. The following is a modified version. This week the Wall Street Journal published a big splash, "CT Scans Gain Favor as Option for Colonoscopy." But in this 1,300-word article, there isn’t one mention of the recent statement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task […]

10/29/2008

Journalists' screening bias piece on The Daily Beast

I’m pleased to be able to contribute a piece for The Daily Beast on the rash of stories that fail to tell the whole story about screening tests. I write in that piece: “A few simple reminders could guide journalists and the public: * Newer isn’t always better. * More isn’t always better. * Screening […]

10/29/2008

Tidbits from the vast wasteland of TV health news

Trudy Lieberman, in Columbia Journalism Review, describes what the magazine calls ineptitude by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta in coverage of health policy news. Excerpt: “Gupta’s attempt to explain John McCain’s health plan offered a confusing and ultimately misleading picture of how the candidate’s proposals might work. McCain, you may recall, has proposed giving every […]

10/28/2008

Why is an evidence-based statement being ignored?

The Wall Street Journal today has a big splash, “CT Scans Gain Favor as Option for Colonoscopy.” But in this 1,300-word article, there isn’t one mention of the recent statement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force “that the evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of computed tomographic colonography” and that “there […]

10/20/2008

Entanglements of conflicts of interest in health care news

The Integrity in Science Watch project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in this week’s e-newsletter, has two different but related “jeers” for failure to disclose conflicts in two different health journalism efforts. Their posting: Jeer to the National Press Foundation for an omission on its agenda for the Oct. 23 forum […]

10/10/2008

Hopelessly devoted to imbalanced advice on network TV

The CBS Early Show let actress-singer Olivia Newton-John appear on their program this week to promote a commercial product without a balanced review of the evidence. In fact, the anchor led in to the relevant part of the interview by prompting the celebrity, “Tell us about your crusade.â€? (Newton-John:) “I’d like to introduce the Liv […]

10/2/2008

Health journalism Quote of the Day

Phil Galewitz, health writer for the Palm Beach Post, in the current issue of HealthBeat, the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists: “It used to be, in journalism, your goal was to c omplete a major investigative project or win a major statewide or national award. Today, journalists like me are worried about […]

2 9/26/2008

Chicago Tribune's "United States of Anxiety" series

The Chicago Tribune, in the middle of a good story with a catchy headline – “The United States of Anxiety: Worried Sick Over Our Health Care” – includes some vital messages: “Polls show voters worry a lot about health care and how much they spend on it. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have […]

9/25/2008

Cheers & jeers for health news coverage of virtual colonoscopy

In its weekly e-newsletter, the Integrity in Science Watch project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest offers its “Cheers & Jeers” section on health journalism’s coverage of conflicts of interest among sources. This week they wrote: Cheer to Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press for reporting the financial ties to General Electric […]

9/25/2008

Science by news release

Sandy Szwarc, on her Junkfood Science blog, blasts lazy news coverage this week of “a study reportedly finding that acupuncture works to reduce the side effects of breast cancer treatment as effectively as conventional medicine, without the side effects.” She counted at least 144 news stories and tied them to a news release issued by […]

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