Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The News or the Daily Drama

Today I happened to be listening to Radio 2 in the car. In the business section of Simon Mayo's show they interviewed a person from the HPA (Health Protection Agency) who said that they had found that there was a small theoretical risk of infection from the Garra Rufa fish pedicures.
2 hours later, again in the car, I was listening to a local commercial station who get their news from Sky. They ran the same story with the words "A government agency has proved that HIV and Hepatitis can be passed on by fish pedicures". Now that phrasing gives and entirely different perspective on the story. They didn't offer any interviews with or explanations from spokespeople from the HPA, just a salon owner who offers the fish pedicure.
The first article was reasoned, calm, informative and honest.
The second was alarmist, inaccurate and probably quite damaging to the people who offer the treatment.
Imagine if you only heard the second item. You would believe that the treatment is dangerous.
Now imagine if all you listen to is inaccurate, commercial news. The whole world becomes full of evil and danger.
But who can you trust? If often seems that even the BBC is becoming more sensationalist and alarmist.
I think the answer is to read around, look around. Try to find your information from as many sources as you can. After a while you will start to recognise the ones that are alarmist and sensationalist and you will begin to tune your awareness and will recognise who to trust.
Make your mind up from the best sources you can find, don't put your faith in just one.

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