Clinical cost of making headlines

23 09 2007

Ben Goldacre on Bad Science

The archives at badscience.net are overflowing with just a small sample of the media’s crimes: preposterous cherry-picking, outrageous overextrapolation, startling ignorance or whitewashing of known methodological flaws and, worst of all, reporting the authors’ speculative conclusions, from the discussion section of a paper, as if they were the experimental results themselves.

The sad reality is, from the extremes of the media’s MMR scaremongering to the grind of the Daily Mail’s bizarre ongoing ontological project of dividing all the world’s inanimate objects into those that cause or cure cancer, the media commentariat has not earned privileged early access to scientific knowledge and information. And stories such as the media’s MMR hoax (as it will come to be known) have been perpetuated by the promotion of unpublished research as if it were gold-standard work.

More here.

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