Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've been a bad bad blogger.  I have completely fallen out of the habit, and as I find myself drowning in two full-time jobs (i.e., my actual job, and hustlin' for another job), even the weekly link roundup I promised myself I'd do has fallen by the wayside.  I plan to tackle the daunting task pictured on the left over the coming days (or maybe I'll just push the reset button, I haven't decided yet), but in the meantime, I want to point out this article, describing the disconnect between the wealth of research/knowledge in existence and what the media report when it comes to drugs (summarized here for the short-of-attention-span).

Drug Abuse Prevention; Why do the American media avoid discussing research findings?
Drug Abuse Coverage Leaves Out the Science.

This is the kind of thing that sets me off, because how is the public supposed to form well-rounded and thoughtful opinions when their sources of information leave out.....information??  And I genuinely wonder, where does this gap come from?  Is it that scientists don't talk to journalists in understandable enough terms?  Or any terms at all?  Or do journalists not know where to look or whom to ask?  Or is it that journalists are afraid people will criticize or dismiss their pieces if they challenge commonly held beliefs?  I suspect part of it has to do with the fact that the truth is a drag, with all its complications and nuances, while simplified statements that corroborate previously held beliefs of the target audience are more attractive (as recently demonstrated by Boehner's comments on health care reform -- although I couldn't have agreed with him less or doubted his sincerity more, his speech was infinitely more engaging than Pelosi's stumbling around details, trying to be all thorough and inclusive.)  But although engaging, I think this kind of pandering is irresponsible and lazy, and it bums me out to find so much research never making it beyond the confines of stuffy academic circles.  I'd love to hear other people's opinions on what's behind this disconnect, because apparently the only thing that gets me riled up enough to blog after 7 weeks' absence is trying to figure out what could change, and how to make that happen.