Are network morning news shows an emerging public health threat?

Journalism professor Gary Schwitzer is the foremost health media watchdog, with his organization rigorously monitoring the health content of major media.

During the past year, he notes a disturbing trend. According to his analysis, the health segments on network television morning shows, “unquestioningly promote new drugs and new technologies, feed the ‘worried well’ by raising unrealistic expectations of unproven technologies that may produce more harm than good, fail to ask tough questions, [and] make any discussion of health care reform that much more difficult.”

Professor Schwitzer’s group over at Health News Review rates segments on a 5 star scale, and when looking at almost 20 sample morning show segments this year, none rated higher than 2 stars on a standardized review system.

Calling it a “dangerous pattern,” Professor Schwitzer notes that these popular morning news segments, “do more harm than good to public understanding of health care.”

Indeed.

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