Taking on two global Goliaths
Cheers and groans. Those were my conflicting reactions during a recent perusal of the media doctor website. I cheered in admiration at a good idea and at the temerity of the project’s instigators in taking on two global Goliaths — the media and the medical industries. It is an ambitious task for a project run largely by volunteers on a limited budget. I cheered to see media coverage recognised as a public health issue meriting attention and intervention. It was also pleasing to see a systematic attempt to counter the effective public relations campaigns of commercial, professional and other vested interests in the health sector. Clearly the media and its audiences could do with some help in developing better critical appraisal skills when it comes to health and medical claims. And it is a point well made that responsibility for media coverage must also be borne by medical journals, health professionals, researchers and others who provide information to journalists.