Making Sense of the Media

We are influenced by the media everyday, sometimes even more than you would realize.  What is the media?  Media is a form of communication: television, radio, magazines, newspapers, as well as digital telecommunications (via the computer).  We are bombarded with information all day long!

When you read an article in a newspaper or hear a news story on television, do you ever question it?  How often do you think the stories are biased in one direction or the other?  It may be more often than you think!

Health stories are in the news on a daily basis, and it is important for you to be aware of them, and be able to separate fact from fiction.  It is very common for a research study to be published, and a media outlet to have a very one-sided report.  They may leave out some vital information such as: who it was funded by; how many subjects there were; or the type of study that was conducted (randomized controlled studies are the gold standard).  By leaving out some crucial pieces of information, you may be swayed one way of thinking versus another. The other thing I challenge you to think about is: who is the so called “expert?”  The media outlets do not always verify their experts as well as you may think!  So go ahead and search yourself, these days it’s pretty easy with the internet.

I also found a post by a fellow RD that I loved and summed up The Price of Misinformation in the Media really well.  I encourage you all to read her post. She mentions a fantastic web site that rates news articles! You should check it out.

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2 Responses

  1. I work in a medical library. Part of what we do everyday is teach folks how to separate the good info that’s out there from the questionable sites. It’s a never ending battle to keep info weeded and still find good solid studies for our patients who need more information. I love my job and I get to read good stuff.

  2. Knowing how biased the media is drives me insane. I’m so tired of hearing how bad eggs are one day and how great they are the next, how great margarine is one day and how terrible it is the next.

    It’s pretty obvious, for instance, that a diet full of white bread isn’t the healthiest, yet all of the news outlets love to bash low-carb diets without mentioning that hey, there’s some truth to it.

    If only we weren’t looking for quick fixes and could recognize that balance is key.

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