I received a good reminder from Andy today on the temptations of sensationalism.MP900262825[1]

Some of you may have seen the awful video doing the rounds on Facebook of the awful dolphin slaughters in Denmark as a ritual to prove maturity and adulthood (Click here to view). When I saw it I was sickened and outraged and promptly posted the link to my personal Facebook page. My friends were equally outraged and did the same.

Today, Andy drew my attention to an article that actually pointed out some of the facts (Click here to view) and which may allow people to view the original video in a slightly different and less emotional way.

However,  having seen the sensationalism of the original video, how many will then actually look at the facts?

For how many people will the original “headlines” still be seen as true?

How differently would the video have been viewed if you had read the article with the facts first?

Now don’t get me wrong – I still believe that the slaughter is awful and is not something I could ever condone, but having more information does allow me to put it a little more into perspective.

It also got me thinking about how often we allow the sensational headlines in the media and elsewhere to govern our emotions and cloud our thinking?

In Healthcare, how often do the sensational headlines in the media put us in’ catch up’ mode when trying to actually inform people of the facts?

Some recent examples include:


“Home births could be as dangerous as ‘driving without putting your child’s seatbelt on’,” – The Independent. Jan 14
“The new gastric balloon that can be SWALLOWED: ‘Pill’ that inflates in the stomach helps users lose a stone in a month” – Daily Mail. Jan 14
“”A cure for all cancers is on the way”  – Daily Express. Jan 14
“Thousands suffer ‘frightening’ births in failing NHS care”  – Daily Telegraph. Dec 13
” The TRUE cost of health tourism: Foreigners using NHS cost Britain up to £2BILLION a year, government report reveals…up to 100 times more than thought” – Daily Mail. Oct 13
“Your confidential medical reports on sale for just £1” – Mail on Sunday. Oct 13
“Be pushy with your GP to get best drugs” – Daily Telegraph. Jan 14
“1200 killed by mental patients!” – The Sun. Oct 13

Now we all know that sensationalism in the media is nothing new and has pretty much been in the press since Since 1895, when Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst began sensationalising headlines to sell papers.

For the NHS it is usually only bad news stories that hit the headlines, and may be that is how it should be? Good news means that the appropriate care is successfully given and that is just as we should all expect it to be.

Yet, how much better would it be if the simple question “how is this information I am giving in this story really helping to inform and improve?” was asked before it went to print?

Just a thought