Medical misinformation targets vulnerable populations and threatens the nation's health [editorial] Editorial Article uri icon

abstract

  • Whether it’s disseminated via the internet, a public meeting or the halls of Congress, misinformation erodes the imperative role that science ought to play in the development of public policy. As health professionals, we are alarmed by the volume of misinformation being promulgated about public health, particularly regarding infectious diseases. This misrepresentation of the science behind complex health issues has, in some cases, disparaged specific groups and stoked fears about them. We believe such behavior by some media outlets is fueled by political motivations, ideology, and intolerance of those being targeted. Although such stories make for sensational headlines, they can have real-world impacts and potentially inflict harm. In addition to being cruel, an agenda pushing policies based on these headlines is ill-advised and would harm public health priorities.

publication date

  • 2017