Feeding the media beast

How should bioethicists engage with media? Gingerly, says Dr Syd Johnson, of Michigan Technological University, in an essay on the Impact Ethics blog. She contends that most doctors and scientists are not prepared to defend their research in the public square. Into this vacuum step media-savvy bioethicists.

However, too often they succumb to the temptation to offer crunchy sound-bites instead of thoughtful analysis. “Most of what passes for bioethics information for the general public is hysterical soundbites.” As a result the currency of bioethical discourse is devalued.

“The opportunity to spark meaningful discourse is lost when bioethicists, on the spot and in the spotlight, merely blurt out a laundry list of questions, or some unfortunate bit of conjecture that fuels the perception (perhaps not unfounded) that bioethicists are professional speculators, science fiction writers, handwringers about what hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.”

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | bioethics, media

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

comments powered by Disqus