Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grading the Media on Health Reporting

Not sure how I found my way onto it, but stumbled upon a great website called, "Health News Reviews" that gives grades to the media in their reporting of health stories.

Yesterday they tackled the alarmist Associated Press piece on obesity leading to adolescent liver transplants for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

They graded the piece a 4/10 with points lost on:

  • Engaging in disease fear mongering
  • Not discussing the costs of liver transplants or routine liver testing in adolescents
  • Not discussing the potential harms of liver transplantation
  • Not quantifying the benefits of non-surgical management
  • Not comparing surgical approaches to non-surgical approaches
  • Not evaluating the quality of the evidence reported on in the story

  • Given that the mass media's job is to sell media and not to necessarily report accurately, fairly or responsibly, it's great to see a site help navigate the good stories from the bad.