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“Spin” in media coverage of research can be traced to abstracts

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6106 (Published 11 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6106
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

Positive “spin” in media coverage of health research is often grounded in press releases written by the sponsoring organizations and also in statements in journal abstracts that unduly emphasize the positive and minimize the negative aspects of the study.

Some 40% of abstracts and half of press releases contained spin, the study in PLoS Medicine found, and about half the time these slanted how the research was covered in the media.1

The conclusions were drawn from an analysis of all 70 two arm, randomized controlled trials promoted through the popular EurekAlert! distribution service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science between December 2009 …

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