Healthcare News Review 16 Feb 2022: How to fight fake health news, the Joe Rogan story

PRmoment's weekly 'The Healthcare News Review' column will look at the biggest healthcare news trends every week and analyse the communications implications of that.

This is a story of Goliath vs. Goliath. In January, legendary rocker Neil Young pulled his library of music (except those which are part of the OST of movies and have been publicly recorded) in protest against Joe Rogan's podcast spreading false information about Covid vaccines.

While, Spotify did not remove Rogan's top rated podcast, they did edit out the false information and even added a content advisory warning to content that contained Covid matter. With global celebrities like the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle adding their weight to Neil Young's protests, it quickly snowballed into a global issue.

What does this mean for communicators?

1) All that is wrong about fake news and its impact has found a perfect home in Covid-19 related news, misinformation abounds. This has implications not just for healthcare communicators but overall communication. Content moderation policies is an ongoing issue. This article mentions how uneven policies towards content creators can create issues. Transparency is a key ask by consumers.

2) Credibility of information can be whetted. The Media Doctor that looks at the quality of healthcare news offers a template for this:

 Criteria used to rate news articles about medical interventions.

Rating Criteria*: The extent to which the story:
  1. Reported the novelty of the intervention
  2. Reported the availability of the intervention
  3. Described the treatment or diagnostic options that are available
  4. Avoided elements of disease mongering
  5. Reported evidence supporting the intervention
  6. Quantified the benefits of intervention
  7. Described the harms of intervention
  8. Reported on the costs of intervention
  9. Consulted with independent expert sources of information
  10. Went beyond any available media release.

3) Additionally these are some of the top sites for credible news information about health. Do take a look.

In other key health news:

1) Are Omicron specific vaccines better than previously available ones? Moderna and Psizer have already launched their trials for an Omicron vaccine.

2) New Covid cases in India drop below the 30,000 mark for the first time in 44 days.

See you next week, if you want to share your views on the stories here, drop us a comment at @PRmomentIndia


News Curated for PRmoment India by:

Impact Research and Measurement 

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly event and subscriber alerts.

Upcoming events:

Health Comms Awards