"Journalists like to show ordinary people behaving like heroes, or being 'victims' in need of rescue, in this case from the deterioration of their own bodies and from those who will not accede to requests for assisted dying, who are thereby constituted as 'villains'"

How the mass media report social statistics - a case study


A case study concerning research on end-of-life decisions

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In this 2010 case study, published in Social Science and Medicine, Professor Clive Seale explores media reporting of end-of-life issues.  Using one of his own research projects as an illustration, he draws attention to distortion and exaggeration of conclusions both by the media and by campaigning organisations.  He concludes that "news coverage of research on end-of-life issues has been highly selective, reporting being influenced by a combination of standard journalistic news values and the activities of lobbying organisations such as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society [now known as Dignity in Dying], pro-life groups and representatives of the palliative care community".

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