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Letters
May 19, 1999

The Firing of Dr Lundberg

Author Affiliations
 

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(19):1789. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-19-jbk0519

To the Editor: The recent removal of Dr Lundberg as editor-in-chief of JAMA is being vociferously condemned in many quarters. Solemn voices intone that "the result of these events is that JAMA is no longer part of a free press," and that "issues of academic freedom" are at stake.1 A cause célèbre has been born.

In the face of this onslaught of vitriol, an alternative analysis of the Lundberg affair is in order. In the January 20 edition of JAMA, a "timely" article entitled "Would You Say You ‘Had Sex' If . . . ?" was published.2 Although the data presented were more than 7 years old and not remotely germane to the promotion of "the science and art of medicine and the betterment of the public health," JAMA's expressly stated mission, the article's publication was expedited "to influence the political process."3 Thus, it was published in the midst of President Clinton's impeachment trial with the tacit purpose of bolstering his denial of perjury.

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