Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

December 05, 2003

Adventures in Journalism: Disease of the Week

It's the flu, in case you didn't already know, having been rendered blind, deaf and dumb over the past week, then miraculously cured after a relative led you to our little site here, the Lourdes of the Internet.

The rest of you, like me, have been swamped in influenza reportage. I suspect the 24 hours news cycle is behind the surge in scary disease reports over the past few years. Diseases are great fodder for a constant news cycle--someone, somewhere always has something, and there's always an expert on that particular disease just panting to whip up a nice froth for the public on how dangerous his particular germ is.

We might eventually stop referring to Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter altogether, instead speaking of the annual progression as the Lyme Disease, West Nile, Flu and SARS seasons.

Yes, this year the flu looks like it might be worse than normal. From the coverage, though, one might be forgiven for thinking it 1919 all over again.

Extensive coverage means that everybody and his cub reporter are writing flu stories, even when they have--not only no knowledge of the subject, but no knowledge of where to go to gain that knowledge. Take, for instance, this story accredited to "MSNBC Staff and Wire Reports".

 Health officials are encouraging people to get a flu shot. This year’s vaccine formula doesn’t exactly match the flu virus now circulating, but the vaccine will still help prevent the flu and mitigate its complications, CDC officials say. The Fujian strain - which originated in Fujian province, China - is an H3 virus, a category that is more virulent than normal. It was not known when this year’s flu vaccine was developed. (emphasis mine)

Dude(s), someone knows when it was manufactured. It's your job to find out. Are flu vaccines not so much manufactured as they are conjured up out of thin air, presumably by the influenza fairies?

The intellectual laziness evident in the "not known" line is annoying enough, but what's worse is that at the end of the article MSNBC links to a story, Drug makers try to fight flu outbreak, that would have gone a long way towards relieving the reportorial ignorace if someone had bothered to read it.

“The capacity of those two manufacturers and really everyone is completely and utterly restrained by the fact you have to make this in chicken eggs, and you order those in the spring of the year before,” West said, whose firm makes a market in Medimmune and Chiron. (Once again, emphasis mine)

In fact, vaccine is manufactured continously from April to November, a figure that can be found either in the manufacturer's end of fiscal year statements, or at the CDC.

The viruses contained in the vaccine are chosen each spring, based on surveillance of current circulating strains.

Instead of "MSNBC Staff and Wire Reports", the byline probably should have read "Compiled by MSNBC Staff from Wire Reports." No real journalistic effort took place in the presentation of this story by MSNBC, unless cut and paste qualifies.

Sadly, it probably does.

Posted by Bigwig at December 5, 2003 01:32 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

I think the article meant THAT STRAIN was not known when the vaccine was developed. Then the author loses points for ambiguity of antecedent but fewer than he loses with your interpretation.

Posted by: Jan at December 5, 2003 08:25 AM

I think the article meant THAT STRAIN was not known when the vaccine was developed. Then the author loses points for ambiguity of antecedent but fewer than he loses with your interpretation.

Posted by: Jan at December 5, 2003 08:25 AM

Alas, that is the reality of today's journalism. No real analysis; it's all corporatized like everything else.

And hope you feel better. If there's anything we've learned, it's that WE are ruled by the viruses. The more we mess with Mother Nature, the worst it gets. They will get us all in the end.

Posted by: lotus at December 5, 2003 10:45 AM

That sounds like a reasonable explanation, Jan. Bad writing is at least as prevalent as laziness in the j-school world.

Posted by: Bigwig at December 5, 2003 12:52 PM

I was going to make Jan's comment, but since Jan already did, I'll comment on Lotus' comment. (Comment!)

What does corporatization have to do with having or not having real analysis? Is there something in the nature of "incorporation" that forbids news providing real analyis? (And did news once provide such analysis, and if so, was this before Hearst owned half the frickin' papers in the country?)

I'm sure there's a word or phrase for what you're talking about, but I'm pretty sure it's not one based on the root "corporate".

Posted by: Sigivald at December 5, 2003 04:53 PM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?