Who Studies the Studies?

Just about every day we hear about a study that makes a dramatic claim about what is and isn't good for you. But news consumers should be more skeptical because it's rare these studies are conducted purely in the interest of science.

Media critic Jeff McCall says reporters are being lazy if they don't find out who or what funded the study.

"Behind most of these studies is indeed somebody who's trying to make a buck off of marketing a book or a new food program or some sort of nutrition element or something like that."

Professor McCall says health and diet studies, especially, should be taken with a grain of salt.

"You can find studies back in the 50s and early 60s where tobacco companies were funding studies that showed smoking wasn't that bad for you."

Professor McCall says common sense will tell you to be skeptical of those studies in British tabloids, linked to on the Drudge Report.

"These studies are funded by sometimes government, sometimes foundations, or sometimes even big business corporations and they don't want to pay for results that won't support whatever initiative they have underway."

Professor McCall says reporters need to do a better job of not just quoting the publication where the study appears, but also who or what funded it, especially when it comes to health or diet studies.

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