Fact Check, Please?

February 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Raves & Rants, The Sweet Life | 8 Comments

I should know better than to expect scientifically accurate journalism from any mainstream news outlet.  But somehow it always pisses me off more when the NY Times blows it.  I don’t know why I expect better from them – paper of record? – but I do. Whenever they publish a breathless article about the cure being right around the corner at least fifteen family members forward it to me, much to my irritation.

I cringed when their front page article on IVF and the octuplets referred to “implanting” embryos 11 times (!) even after quoting the ASRM guidelines that refer to transferring embryos.  For those of you scratching your heads, in IVF, embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus, where they subsequently do or do not implant.  Implantation is the first move towards pregnancy – if they don’t implant, they aren’t doing anything.  If reproductive endocrinologists could actually implant embryos, the world of IVF would be very very different.  

But I really wanted to cancel my subscription after reading this gem of an article about young people without health insurance.  

When Robert Voris last had health insurance, in 2007, he stockpiled insulin pumps, which are inserted under the skin to constantly monitor blood-sugar levels and administer the drug accordingly. He said the tubing for the pump costs $900 a month, so lately he has instead been injecting insulin with a syringe. But Mr. Voris, 27, a journalism student at the City University of New York who works at a restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is constantly worried about diabetes-induced seizures like the one that sent him to the hospital last summer. (Because it happened at work, his boss covered the ambulance and other bills.)

He “stockpiled insulin pumps”? Which “are inserted under the skin to constantly monitor blood-sugar levels and administer the drug accordingly?”


I understand that diabetes wasn’t the focus of the article, but could you please, please, do some rudimentary fact-checking before you publish shite? Grrrrrr.


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  1. Fresh Air on NPR is supposed to be discussing IVF and the like on Monday’s show “How multiple births are affecting parents and society, not to mention the impact on the children themselves”. I am worried that one of my fave shows to listed to will mangle the issue. I am wary.

  2. I think that may win some kind of prize for worst thought out paragraph ever. Wow, was that bad.

  3. Grrr, indeed. Write them a well-worded letter, explaining their errors. It drives me insane to see that sort of thing – like you, I expect better from the Times.

  4. Totally agree!

    Oh how I wish that the embryos were last week “implanted”, rather than transfered, and that during this terrible wait my “diabetes device” was both measuring my blood sugar constantly and automatically administering my insulin accordingly!

  5. Maybe they were referring to Omnipod disposable pumps? Regardless, they don’t monitor anything and they aren’t implanted. I think we all expect more from the New York Times, but sometimes, even they (or their editors) blow it!!

  6. Word. Those inaccuracies bug the heck out of me too.

  7. There is no excuse for that kind of shoddy reporting, especially from the Times. Some editor needs to be reprimanded…or fired.

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