A large quantity of the universe still live under the impression that when a news/media company makes a report about a “brand new” health risk, that they are 100% telling the truth and would never lie to their precious readers. These people are similarly like a teenage girl who believes that her high school boyfriend “loves” and definitely, does not, just want to sleep with her and then dump her. It’s funny to think that millions of people take health advice from people who know nothing about health in the slightest, especially journalists, some of the most unhealthy people in existence. You wouldn’t take advice from a hedgehog on how to cross the road now, would you? Oh wait.
A new, up and coming journal titled ‘Public Understanding of Science‘ has been established in the aim to help pull the wool from the publics’ eyes about the health related news stories that the media publish, and finally learn to stop trusting non-scientists for scientific information. The journal, in a recent study, found that from a weeks worth of stories from the top 10 UK newspapers, 67% of all the health risks mention had insufficient evidence, as well as only 10% of the health risks actually being possible, with a mere 12% probable and 15% “convincing. These are pretty low figures from people we apparently trust, you say? That’s correct. Science might be predominately based on theories, but the heart at the bottom of the scientific well pumps the thirst-quenching blood of fact. Newspapers however don’t have time to mess around with facts, as they need to get the story out to meet their deadlines and keep their readers happy. Which is understandable. But how much is it affecting our society to be reading half-assed news reports about health risks that affect us all? In my opinion, quite a lot.
Newspapers play a huge role in the flow of information on our planet (though the torch is slowly being passed on to the internet and social networking sites) so surely they should be taking this role seriously? Newspapers that report about health risks that are not backed up with evidence are a lot like a fun, wacky, long-lost Uncle. They show up out of the blue and spout a lot of bollocks, with almost no proof to what they are saying, and just disappear again before you have a chance to ask why he needed to photograph you dressed up as Peter Pan in his basement. Newspapers’ publishing unproved health risks has made us hypochondriacal as people, living each day in fear of some new, undiscovered disease that will rot out our eyes and kill us at the first chance it gets. It makes us scared to do the things we like, such as enjoying a Cornish pasty while bungee-jumping or drinking an ice-cold pint served by an ex-serial murderer, named Gary.
News and media companies, I believe, do more damage than human beings on their own, because it is with the media’s acknowledgement of a disease or illness that we really start to fear we will get it. I’m not saying we should live in a world that is blissfully ignorant of all disease, but that world must be at least 50% less stressful than our own.
I’d happily live in world where I could eat peanuts in a bar without the fear of contracting Hepatitis, or eat a spoonful of cake mixture with raw egg in it without thinking I will die from Salmonella poisoning. Sadly though, we do live in this horrifying world.
Thanks a lot Newspapers, and you old wives and your damned tales.