In our archive, you’ll find plenty of discussion about how the rhythms and demands of the newsroom impact media coverage of science, but what about the other side of the coin?
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What about those odd times when it appears that scientific researchers and publishers time their releases to get the most attention from the mainstream media?
When that question was begged by the overwhelming attention given to a study of heart attacks during two 1980s Superbowls that just happened to be released in time for this year’s big game, “Dr. Wes” Fisher examined the study on his blog. In this case, it seems, a well-timed news hook by the study’s authors may have triumphed over solid research. As an anecdote for all the unquestioning, “will-ya-look-at-this!” headlines, Fisher offers a quick laundry list of the study’s shortcomings:
- Selection bias
- Contamination bias
- Co-intervention bias
- The use of diagnosis codes culled from death certificates