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Study Finds Flaws in TV News Health Coverage

From the University of Wisconsin-Madison News - Viewer beware: Study finds flaws in TV news coverage of health


Local television newscasts, where most Americans get most of their news, are packed with medical stories and health information. But the first-ever national study of that coverage finds many problems with it, and sees room for improvement by both TV stations and the health experts whose work fills the news. . .

The average story was 33 seconds long, and most did not give specifics about the source of the information presented. Items about specific diseases tended not to contain recommendations for viewers, or information about how common the disease was - which could help put the news into perspective with other health issues.

But most disturbing, the study's authors say, were the egregious errors contained in a small minority of studies - errors that could have led to serious consequences.