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July 20, 2005
Journalism

Looks like the Cleveland Plains is still trying to find a way to report those two anonymously sourced then withheld stories.

Anonymous sourcing is coming under greater scrutiny from all sides.

It doesn't look like Judith Miller is going to be winning a journalism award for her bravery in protecting Rove her anonymous source.

"The First Amendment is designed to prevent government interference with a free press. Miller, by shielding a government official or officials who attempted to use the press to retaliate against a whistleblower, and scare off other would-be whistleblowers, has allied herself with government interference with, and censorship of, whistleblowers," Bartholomew wrote in a resignation letter provided to E&P. "When your source IS the government, and the government is attempting to use you to target a whistleblower, the notion of shielding a source must be reconsidered. To apply standard practices regarding sources to hiding wrongdoing at the highest levels of government perverts the intent of the First Amendment.

Bartholomew resigned in protest over the organization's plans to award Miller the "Conscience in the Media" award, and his wasn't the only resignation.

And, speaking of types of journalism, let's cast our eyes toward New York and The House That AIDS Built. (Content may be disturbing)

Done with that? Okay, now read this.

Now read this.

I haven't the faintest idea what to think or what to believe. I know that drug trials for children and infants are woefully lacking, and darned hard to arrange. We don't know the effects of most drugs on infants because very few parents are going to let their babies be experimented on.

On the other hand, I find the level of deliberate callousness on the part of the involved medical professionals suggested by Scheff's article impossible to believe. I've worked with doctors* and I don't believe I know one who would in any way abuse a patient, especially an infant. And yet, my brain reminds me, I'm not in the center of the clinical trial world and thus cannot speak for what happens when valuable research, which this undoubtedly was, is under consideration.

As for the "known toxicities", cited with such breathless revelation, there are darned few drugs on the market that don't have known toxicities. Tylenol and Advil, to name just two, have well-documented toxicities. Administered improperly, almost any drug can prove to be toxic. That's just scaremongering. Equally, many reputable and successful disease treatments have potential side-effects (hair loss from chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients) that are frequently only temporary.

And yet...missing records? Documents "misplaced" that later show the number of enrolled children to be over five times what was originally reported? Not all children's legal guardians gave permission for them to be part of the experiment?

And yet...and yet....

Sometimes reading the Independent News Media makes my head hurt.

(Necessary Disclaimer: I work for a company that does business with pharmaceutical companies, although not specifically AIDS treatment.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:48 AM


Comments

My ability to actually read these kinds of stories has been considerably curtailed since the birth of my son. I used to be able to be appalled and outraged without actually being sickened and frightened. That's not true anymore.

Don't these doctors have families?

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at July 20, 2005 06:58 PM

I don't even have children, and these stories upset me.

And yet...my limited knowledge of the field suggests that there's a lot of bias in the "independent" report.

Posted by: Anne at July 21, 2005 08:37 AM