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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 4, 2000

THE RELATIONS OF SCIENTISTS TO NEWSPAPERS.

Author Affiliations
 

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 2000;284(13):1626. doi:10.1001/jama.284.13.1626

The deep-seated feeling in the medical profession against the newspaper as purveyor of information concerning medical matters and the doings of medical men in general rests on the knowledge that in the majority of cases the motive underlying such publications is of a largely selfish and commercial nature, subversive of the true interests of medical science. Unfortunately, the newspaper does not consider the question in the same light. Its chief aim is to give publicity to anything that its editor thinks may please the omnivorous public. Knowing that the general run of its readers are incompetent to discriminate between genuine achievements and pure bluff and braggadocio, the inquisitorial reporter—than whom there is no greater heresiographer—is detailed to interview alike the true man of science and the mountebank. Rocky Mountain goat's lymph, wonderful operations, and studies in chemical and other forms of artificial fertilization are heralded in display type and in the same sensational manner, so that it appears as if seekers of cheap notoriety had secured a foothold even in our great universities—"quacks political; quacks scientific; academical."

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