Chicago Tribune Off-base on Chronic Lyme
M.I.T.'s Knight Science Journalism Tracker has an interesting piece on the nature of journalism surrounding the controversial topic of chronic lyme disease. The article could apply to most topics as “real journalism” competes with or even gives way to commentary, rhetoric and the blogosphere. In this case the Trib is being taken to task for publishing material weighted in favor of the reporters’ preconceived bias. This is all-too-common today with the ease of publishing and speed of distribution on the web, “link-bating”, and use of sensationalism to get page views, readers or television viewers. Real, objective journalism certainly seems to be an “endangered species” these days.
If the topics of chronic lyme or quality journalism in science and medicine interest you, be sure to read the comments – and in particular those by Pamela Weintraub (editor of Discover Magazine and author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic). Part of my favorite comment:
I am saying, specifically, that, as in most science, there is a spectrum of perspective and considerable nuance among academic researchers as to what is going on with these patients: that the pathophysiology is complicated; and that the biomedicine to explain these patients has, in large part, yet to be done because we are still analyzing the genomics and proteomics of the pangenome –this is work out of Stony Brook, out of Robert Wood Johnson. We are still looking at the variability in the immune system of the human host. All this work is yet to be done…
Check out the article for context and the rest of the comment as well as the counter arguments.