Do the print media “hype” genetic research?
Background: The public gets most of its information about genetic research from the media. It has been suggested that media representations may involve exaggeration, called “genohype.” To examine the accuracy and nature of media coverage of genetic research, we reviewed the reporting of single-gene discoveries and associated technologies in major daily newspapers in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Australia. Methods: We used neutral search terms to identify articles about gene discoveries and associated technologies hosted on the Dow Jones Interactive and Canadian NewsDisk databases from January 1995 to June 2001. We compared the contents, claims and conclusions of the scientific journal article with those of the associated newspaper article. Coders subjectively assigned the newspaper articles to 1 of 3 categories: moderately to highly exaggerated claims, slightly exaggerated claims or no exaggerated claims. We used classification tree software to identify the variables th