Liberal outlets are trying to scare readers again about alcohol consumption. They are pushing a study that hasn’t been peer-reviewed to claim any alcohol consumption will damage the brain.
The sensational anti-alcohol headlines based on the preprint study plagued the internet. CNN’s story on the matter was headlined: “Drinking any amount of alcohol causes damage to the brain, study finds.” The Guardian’s headline was no less blaring: “Any amount of alcohol consumption harmful to the brain, finds study.”
Yahoo! News also hopped on the anti-alcohol train: “Drinking any amount of alcohol causes damage to the brain, study finds.” People magazine ran a similar headline: “Drinking Any Amount of Alcohol Causes Damage to the Brain, New Study Finds.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also whined: “Study: No amount of alcohol is safe for your brain.”
It’s too bad that the website where the Oxford study was published, called medRxiv, issued a stark “caution” about the media propagating preprints:
Caution: Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information, [emphasis added].
The headlines the media ran made the study sound like “established information.”
The irony is that the liberal outlets that ran the anti-alcohol headlines all mentioned that the study they pushed hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution specifically chose to note the “yet to be peer-reviewed” qualifier in the last line of its 11-paragraph story. But, the qualifier for the study that CNN, The Guardian, Yahoo! News, People and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution briefly mentioned was more serious than they made it seem.
The study hyperlinks to a definition of “unrefereed preprint[s]” that issued serious warnings, which CNN, The Guardian, Yahoo! News, People and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution chose to overlook:
Readers should therefore be aware that articles on medRxiv have not been finalized by authors, might contain errors, and report information that has not yet been accepted or endorsed in any way by the scientific or medical community. We also urge journalists and other individuals who report on medical research to the general public to consider this when discussing work that appears on medRxiv preprints and emphasize it has yet to be evaluated by the medical community and the information presented may be erroneous, [emphasis added].
Conservatives are under attack. Contact CNN at 1-(404)-827-1500, The Guardian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Yahoo! News at (408) 349-3300, People magazine at 212-479-1704 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at 404-522-4141 and demand these outlets change their headlines to mention immediately that the Oxford study hasn’t been peer-reviewed.