Thursday, 3 March 2011

Doctoring the news...

Here's an intriguing submission, based on this Arabian Business article about a US doctor who claims that gastric bypass surgery can cure diabetes:
There's something horribly wrong with this story. Why would you contact a California based plastic surgeon about diabetes in the Middle East? Why would you publish such a sensationalist headline? Why would the story run despite being complete bollocks? Well maybe the fact that the source quoted has the same last name as your editorial director and looks exactly like him explains it somewhat. This is blatantly nepotism at the expense of editorial integrity and a horrible crime against journalism, particularly given the importance of the subject matter.

If one reader contacts Dr Bhoyrul over fears of diabetes then his namesake and possible/probable relative should be hounded out of the profession.

UPDATE: we have been contacted by the editorial director of Arabian Business, with the following clarifications:

1. Dr Bhoyrul was interviewed during his visit to Arabian Health
2. Dr Bhoyrul is a reputable and sought-after surgeon for the procedure in question
3. Dr Bhoyrul is a relation of the editorial director of Arabian Business

As further comment, the main problem with this article is that it fails to do much justice to Dr Bhoyrul. As basic journalism, let alone medical journalism, it's piss-poor. It makes no distinction as to what kind of diabetes Dr Bhoyrul is referring to (from his comments, it seems likely that Type II diabetes or "adult onset" diabetes is the type he treats). There are also no references to any medical studies or sources, except anonymous "experts". How about the World Health Organisation, or the American Medical Assocation, or any other venerable and reputable body who likely publish statistics on obesity and diabetes?

The headline also sensationalises and misrepresents Dr Bhoyrul's own comments within the article. Dr Bhoyrul explicitly states:
"The surgery is not the answer to obesity. The solution is preparation and making lifestyle changes and keeping up with the programme for the rest of your life"

whereas the headline claims:
Gastric bypass surgery could cure diabetes 'within days', US doctor says

Poor writing and poor subbing. Not the best way to communicate such an apparently promising medical advance or represent the doctor pioneering it. Relative or nor, Arabian Business should feel ashamed at printing such poor copy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.

I don't think the transformation of DMO from an amusing and irreverent blog into this - How can one describe a web site that cuts and pastes scraps of non news? Perhaps it is a nonblog? - is a conspiracy. I doubt the government cared enough about DMO to bother. I would be surprised if the person running this site is a professional journalist; if he / she is then he / she is a quiet and timid person, with no news sense and no sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone care? Can we have a real thread please such as how the gulf media is covering the current crisis?

Anonymous said...

Most papers have covered the crisis and done it fairly heavily but not always front page news. The National seems to keep changing its mind on how big this story is.

Anonymous said...

Well said Anonymous, 21.59.

I fear DMO's loyal readers are wasting their time.

The site is now run by someone / some people who don't understand its purpose: to provoke, cause mischief, annoy and generally cause trouble by tackling issues that the media in the UAE would rather not discuss. Plus, of course, it was always fun to read the slanderous gossip, who was lying, cheating, bullying, drinking too much and having affairs. Instead we now have non stories thatwould not get into the average in house magazine on the basis they are too boring.

Or is that unkind?

Maybe DMO could defend itself.

Anonymous said...

Can we just get, as suggested earlier by someone, a thread on how papers are reporting the riots?

Fear and Loathing in Dubai said...

I think we're being too hard on DMO. Let's give the moderators a chance to find their respective feet. They're doing a sterling job so far in resurrecting this blog.

This is a very interesting story, although possibly not for the disgruntled ITP hacks who post on here.

By all means let's go back to bashing the National with our all-too obvious mix of jealousy and bitterness.

Anonymous said...

Double bluff surely in a vain bid to start debate around a magazine feature. Self-important perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Come on, you people, why has nobody picked up on this blatant self-censoring from The National, which they obviously though the public would be too thick to notice - a story knocking the stupid public photographs ban that went up and then, whoops, came back down again because it was deemed too embarrassing …