An independent team of analysts reviewed 500 health stories published in American main stream news media, and the results may hint to why so many consumers are confused, and are willing to trust at-home homeopath as much as they do their local medical reporter.
A summary of the results from the PLoS Medicine article:
The daily delivery of news stories about new treatments, tests, products, and procedures may have a profound—and perhaps harmful—impact on health care consumers. A US Web site project, HealthNewsReview.org (http://HealthNewsReview.org/), modeled after similar efforts in Australia and Canada, evaluates and grades health news coverage, notifying journalists of their grades. After almost two years and 500 stories, the project has found that journalists usually fail to discuss costs, the quality of the evidence, the existence of alternative options, and the absolute magnitude of potential benefits and harms. Reporters and writers have been receptive to the feedback; editors and managers must be reached if change is to occur. Time (to research stories), space (in publications and broadcasts), and training of journalists can provide solutions to many of the journalistic shortcomings identified by the project.
To note, Medgadget was not one of the sources reviewed by the study.
Full article in PLoS Medicine: How Do US Journalists Cover Treatments, Tests, Products, and Procedures? An Evaluation of 500 Stories
(hat tip: WSJ Health Blog)