Posts Tagged 'media'

I Say

One of the things that is almost guaranteed to make me want to set fire to a newspaper is when a story (or worse, a headline) uses the phrase “scientists say”. You can be fairly sure that what follows is going to be spurious, nebulous and any other negative words that end in -ous. However, whilst I do hold papers responsible for crappy reporting as it should be their duty to research their output, I also recognise that there probably is a misconception in the wider public about the “scientists say” myth.

To boil it down, it seems to me that this “scientists say” idea has, at its core, a misunderstanding of how the scientific community gels together and how ideas, experimental data and fundamental concepts all flow around and are interconnected. To be honest, it’s no surprise that people who aren’t scientists don’t just automatically know this. After all, you don’t know how an industry works until you are actually immersed in it yourself.

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Express Your Contempt

Right. The Daily Express. You know, that suppositry that thinks it’s a newspaper? Well, today it carries the headline “ASPIRIN STOPS BOWEL CANCER“. Apparently Princess Diana was unavailable for comment.

Whatever about bowel cancer, I can always spot the work of an arsehole.

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NICE attitude, jerk.

I’m sure you will have seen the furore recently over Avastin. To summarise, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, and yes it irritates me that they left the H out. If they’d rearranged it they could have at least had NICHE) have ruled out funding the drug on the NHS, on the grounds of cost effectiveness. The media jumped all over this and NICE have been subjected to another PR whipping as a result.

Cancer is, of course, an emotive subject and of endless public interest. So stories like this get traction pretty easily. Generally, the media reported it by saying that Avastin is shown (incidentally, the article that links to made me punch my desk) to prolong life in colorectal cancer, but the meanies at NICE were keeping the purse closed. No sweeties for you.

Head of NICE

A NICE decision-maker steps out for a sandwich during the Avastin meeting. Source: the whole media.

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