Fair and balanced - CNN adopts Fox approach to mammography story


Was it Bill O'Reilly I was hearing? Sean Hannity?

No, it was CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, badgering Lucy Marion, PhD, RN, a member of the US Preventive Services Task Force in what felt like a paternalistic, heavy-handed, show-how-tough-you-can-be style.


His line of questioning:

"Are you comfortable with what you're saying?

You're a nurse....What you're saying is that some lives are not worth it - that's why we're changing these recommendations.

That's an incredibly frightening thing to hear from someone like yourself. Is that what you're saying?"

The "you're a nurse" comment could be interpreted many ways. One of them could be, "I'm a doctor and you're only a nurse...." That was certainly the tone of the interview.

This segment was brought to my attention by a reader of this blog - who wrote:

"She was basically made to defend a position (that Dr. Gupta asserted as fact) that she thinks increased deaths due to reduced screening are okay. It was a pretty crappy tactic.

...It's a shame that a physician would use his credibility to bolster the tactics of hit-and-run media, but that's about what this amounts to. ...

I hope physicians-that-are-also-journalists start realizing that by (ab)using their positions of trust as doctors to lend credibility to hit-and-run stories, they cheapen both medicine and journalism."


It is unfortunate to see such tactics in the interview instead of trying to understand the why behind changing the recommended screening guidelines. A combination of policy and evidence-based analysis has gone into making this recommendation, so it would best serve the public if the reasons were explored instead of being dismissed.

and don't forget he conveniently ignored her PhD title of Dr. Marion by calling her Mrs. Marion. I guess he wanted to make sure viewers didn't mistake her for a medical doctor like himself - she was just a nurse after all. He was extremely condescending and as a woman I found his interviewing style offensive. I don't know how Dr. Marion kept her cool, but I did enjoy her response to "you're a nurse..." with "and you are a physician" - she didn't let his cheap shots get to her.

Almost all of what we think is journalism is nothing more than biased editorial commentary. I've never felt such a division of the country I do today. The tactics that are used by both sides of the fence are despicable, insulting to the intelligence of the American people, and pose little hope for progress and improvement. It truly saddens me.

This guy was being considered to be our Surgeon General???? By insulting the intelligence of USPSTF members, Dr. Gupta and others are seriously undermining their own credibility.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on November 18, 2009 2:03 PM.

This is the kind of journalistic explanation of the breast cancer issue that we need was the previous entry in this blog.

Call for NIH to fund research on ethics, conflicts of interest is the next entry in this blog.

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