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Medical news as entertainment.

Medical News As Entertainment

Has medical reporting on television become a source of misinformation and manipulated drama?

Is the public being served properly by the release of information that is spouted in a matter of seconds, surrounded by "hype" and overemphasis that distorts scientific information requiring background details, explanation of limitations, and the kind of guarded optimism that characterizes a scientific discussion by professionals?

Medical reporters too often act like ambulance chasers who run after an announcement that may have been launched for publicity purposes, or the pursuit of a grant by self-interested individuals who thrive on funds that need no nearby accounting. They imply "cure," "breakthrough," "miracle," or "promising" when no evidence is available to back up any such claims.

Publicity-seeking physicians are registered with local and national news bureaus who know they can always get a ten-second professional-sounding opinion when a story breaks. Should self-respecting doctors turn down offers to show themselves on the multi-million screens because good scientific decorum does not tolerate entertainment medicine?

For the sake of broadcast credibility, both the news media and the medical profession should deal either with scientific information in more than two-minute bites or should make very clear to the viewing public that the medical news being presented is simply a headline. Consult your doctor for further details, but give him enough time to research the information!
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Title Annotation:medical reporting on television as source of misinformation and manipulation
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jun 22, 1990
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