18 April 2006

Big bother is watching you

Medical journalism is not the same as science journalism it certainly isn't the same as health journalism, which is where you can get to the fruit cake end of the spectrum. That's partly because medicine is more applied science than "real" science. Unlike engineering, though, which is mostly the applied side of the physical sciences, we don't take medicine for granted. We expect medics to get it wrong, but we trust the folks who builds bridges to know what they are doing.

A new web site, FIMDM Health News Review, promises to "support and encourage the ABCs of health journalism". To them ABC is accuracy, balance and completeness.

The first two are fine, but the last one smacks of a researcher who wants all the qualifying crap that makes their papers unreadable.

OK, so the medical media are under the spotlight, and about time too. But this could well be the usual stuff. Giving medical hacks a star rating really doesn't get you very far. What about the research they miss? Are reporters led by the nose, and the press releases? While this is no excuse, if the reports that appear in the newspaper do no more than reflect the stuff they were fed, then maybe fingers should point in different directions.

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