Journalists have a unique and vitally important role in informing the public, particularly when trusted authorities neglect to do so adequately. The nation’s public health demands greater investigative reporting related to Lyme disease for reasons discussed below.
Lyme disease is unique among infectious diseases. Here are some basics journalists must keep in mind when reporting on Lyme and associated diseases.
Last week, Jenna Luché-Thayer presented findings of an investigation into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Congressional staff at a Lyme disease briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“I would not have been able to write this book if I had not been a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, the only daily newspaper in the United States that did not need a movie star to come down with AIDS before it considered the epidemic a legitimate news story deserving thorough coverage.” It’s a striking statement, isn’t it, with the benefit of hindsight?
Unethical journalism may be committed intentionally or by accident, but the resulting disinformation or misinformation can be potentially damaging either way. In the case of public health, the results can be disastrous.
The crux of the Globe’s concern seems to be financial — the cost to medical insurers and to employers to treat late-stage or persistent cases of Lyme disease with antibiotics, when prescribed by knowledgeable and competent physicians based on sound medical research.
The past couple of weeks have seen remarkable progress for Lyme disease from both research and regulatory perspectives.
Lyme and AIDS have one thing in common: politics.
Tara Geraghty’s husband David was diagnosed with ALS. When he finally tested positive for Lyme, it was too late. “No one wants to talk about it,” she says.