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Is genetic research hyped by the media?

The media are often accused of exaggerating and sensationalizing stories to "sell newspapers" or attract an audience. Tania Bubela and Caulfield appraised articles published on genetic research between 1995 and 2001 in 26 newspapers from Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Australia. They found that 11% of the newspaper articles contained moderately to highly exaggerated claims.

Given that most people obtain information on scientific and medical research largely from the media and that public opinion can drive policy, it is important to know whether he information the public receives is indeed accurate.

In a related commentary, Dr. Celeste Condit points out that journalists and scientists alike may contribute to exaggerated claims in newspapers: the journalist in seeking the "hot" story, and the scientist in pursuing academic promotion, grant funding or financial gain.


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Contact: Timothy Caulfield
tcaulfld@law.ualberta.ca
Canadian Medical Association Journal
26-Apr-2004


Page: 1

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