This morning, as feared, we are seeing the erroneous parts of Kelly Wallace's CBS News report on BPA recycled as fact on the internet. With evidence of that disturbing trend in hand I reached out to CBS again this morning.
I am genuinely surprised a network that played host to one of the most colossal fact-checking debacles in the history of broadcast journalism that cost Dan Rather the anchor chair he held for 24 years has not been more responsive.
This is an easily correctable mistake that hardly rises to the level that led to an intra-network review that resulted in wholesale firings and blistering criticism of CBS' "strident defense" during the scandal's aftermath.
Unless that culture of defend the product first and look for the facts later still exists at CBS perhaps the network should do what CNN does and thank concerned viewers for their vigilance while correcting the record.
January 20, 2010
National News Editor
Dear Mr. Felling,
It was just yesterday that I wrote you concerning several issues regarding basic journalistic standards as they relate to Kelly Wallace's report on the January 18th edition of the Early Show. The problems I highlighted concerned Wallace's non-scientific experiment that suggested a direct cause and effect relationship between Wallace's personal BPA levels and the consumption of a single tuna sandwich.
My original letter, to which I have not received a response or an acknowledgment of receipt, expressed concern that CBS had let stand the erroneous implication that eating a single tuna sandwich elevated Wallace's BPA blood levels to 5 times the average. A modicum of research and perspective would have exposed this suggestion as invalid, as Health Canada did when it noted that consumers would have to eat "several hundred cans of food per day" to approach an exposure level of concern.
As feared this morning I am beginning to note internet traffic that incorrectly cites Wallace's conclusions as fact:
- "As Kelly Wallace from CBC News discovered, just eating one tuna sandwich caused BPA levels in her blood to soar to over five times the average BPA level found in the blood of American consumers."
I urge you to address and correct this issue with haste before more misinformation is propagated.
National Fisheries Institute