Thursday, June 28, 2007

Media screws the message

One thing I find deeply irritating in my beloved America is the media's preoccupation with health scares. The old control-by-fear policy seems aggressively ubiquitous in this country. There are fresh scares every day - and endless marketing of drugs to either deal with or add to the scares.

Today a research finding on antidepressants and pregnancy has hit the media - with absurd results.

From the Los Angeles Times we get reportage headlined "Study shows antidepressants increase birth defects" with a story whipping up worry about pregnancy and depression treatment.
From the Associated Press comes a report headlined "Antidepressants pose low birth defect risk".

As one who reads two papers in the mornings, I reeled when I found these conflicting treatments of the same report. The AP report was carried in the Boston Globe, the other in the Nashua Telegaph. AP's was a much shorter report and it avoided the hysteria-raising of the Californian counterpart. How could this be?

Editorial sensationalist policy versus dispassionate reportage?
You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

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