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The Good and the Bad

In chapter 7 I found the case study on breast cancer to be very interesting. The quote, "The activists have attempted to drum up support by emphasizing-and, we will see, exaggerating-the very grave danger posed by breast cancer," made me think twice about the truth.

Morals are bound to get in the way. While I was reading this section, I totally understood the point. The number was used inaccurately to scare women, but at the same time when you are in an activist's place you want people to be aware of the problem. Although I agree that this is a HUGE difference as you read on to find out it is a lifetime figure, but I still can see the benefit of keeping women aware in the matter of breast cancer. So maybe activists aren't a good source for the numbers, but at the same time, what they have to say may be newsworthy in itself! Would people be less aware of breast cancer and not catch their own if the activists didn't alter the numbers? Who knows? But it is something to think about.


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Comments (6)


I understand your point about how even though the activists might be a hinderance at times, they can really help too. However, as I stated on my blog, will we even notice? We're shown so many negatives things that we become immune- so when something big happens, it might get lost in the other news.

Carrie Kraszewski:

Very intresting. I guess being a Hypochondriatic America might be a good thing in some cases such as this, and being more aware is a good thing, though sometimes the news goes too far.Being aware and being afraid for your life are obviously different, but like I say in my post, not all americans know to take things with a grain of salt.

scaring is a very effective tactic activists use when they want to get something done. Al Gore is a master of this technique, as he has frightened us all into action against global warming with his documentary "An Inconvienient Truth". I see the benefits, but people can take things way too literally and go overboard (see my blog about my mother and the e coli scare). It's somewhat of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Something has to be done, but there are negative connotations to both. You treat issue as not too important, and it can fester and grow, and if you treat the issue as a colossal problem, you can send people into a state of panic. I do complain about Al Gore a lot (I think this is the third blog I've mentioned him in), but maybe he's onto something....

Jeremy Barrick:

Shouldn't any negative statistic about breast cancer scare women? I would certainly think so.Activists are groups of people that focus on one certain issue, their reports can sometimes be biased, based on their concerns. I do not feel that the reports would be honest.

I think that from the time we are a child-(Satan/Santa Claus) we are forced into behavior out of fear (hell/no Christmas presents, so we are normed to this idea of fear, and we grow older the fear either grows or subsides, but the idea lingers. Throw in some sketchy numbers, and the backing of print/tv news and you have either rediscovered/uncovered some fear. We are a society afraid of our shadows-why is this surprising?

Bethany, you make a good distinction. An activist can say "Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's for their own good." But it's completely unethical for a journalist to exaggerate in the same way. That doesn't mean that, in an article on how the local Girl Scout troop is raising funds for breast cancer research, a reporter has to refute all the statistics the girls have put into a brochure. Still, you can avoid repeating dodgy statistics, and include references to recent strides we've made in breast cancer research, or even mentioning that cancer is one of a smaller number of things that our medical technology can't cure, so it's more likely that we will die from incurable cancer than from something else that would have probably killed someone in an earlier generation (we're much better at treating critical injuries from car accidents, and education probably means fewer people smoke now).

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 28, 2007 2:23 PM.

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