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January 29, 1927


JAMA. 1927;88(5):324-325. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680310036012

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Few physicians will challenge the statement that the public should have all the reliable medical and health information it is capable of absorbing; but controversy arises over the methods to be employed in promoting the dissemination of knowledge. Differences in the points of view of physicians—ethical ones—and newspaper editors—honest ones—are difficult to reconcile. Physicians want causes, principles and methods popularized with a minimum of accent on personalities; newspapers and magazines, on the other hand, almost universally attempt the same end through the primary promotion of individuals.

Examination of the headlines in our press reveals the universal practice of popularizing, even dramatizing, persons rather than matters. This is inevitable and uncriticizable because persons buy papers, and our public rightly or wrongly have come to estimate things in terms of the personalities of those who promote them. Most physicians object to the utilization of this principle in the popularization of medical knowledge

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