Please note the following letter that I have reproduced from Monica Hennen at KMOT. See if you can spot the cognitive error. Also, note that she uses the argument that she is only following orders from corporate.
Thanks for your letter dated December 29, 2011. I wanted to respond to you personally both as
the news director for NBC North Dakota News, and also as the anchor of the show
you saw, because you name me personally.
First, let me say I understand your concerns. I’m sure it must be frustrating to see
stories on procedures you consider to be bogus.
And if somebody at KMOT was rude to you, I apologize on their behalf. That is certainly not our policy at NBC,
North Dakota News, and I will discuss that with the staff.
That said, however, I must correct what I believe is a
misimpression on your part that I am in some way responsible for the content of
the news piece you saw. You say, “I was
saddened to see an example of irresponsible journalism on your station (sic)
part. Monica Hannen (sic) has done
something like this before.” I can
assure you I have not done a story such as this. As a former medical reporter, I can also
assure you that had I done this story, I would have made every attempt to talk
with those who believe and those who don’t.
But even then, because I am not a doctor, and because I didn’t do the
research, I would not make a claim as to the procedure’s efficacy. That is not my job. Recall that at one time, the “experts” among
us thought the world was flat. Those
skeptics who thought it was round were ridiculed, yet in the end, they were
My job as the anchor of the show is to introduce stories
that are written by others. My job as
news director is to make every effort to ensure the content generated at my
stations is correct. In this case, it
was sent to us by NBC News. I do not,
nor can I vet every story the network does.
As I’m sure you do with information you receive from UND, I have to
accept at face value that the stories the network sends are well reported
because I can’t do the footwork on every story.
When I know there is an obvious error in a story I can choose to correct
it, but I couldn’t refute the information in this particular story, which was sent
to us as a part of a regular health feature provided by NBC and chosen by a
producer, not me. I would also point out
that nowhere in the story do I or the reporter claim this works. As you point out, it is anecdotal. What I can do is pass your concerns on to the
I would invite you to continue your work of warning “the
public of dangerous claims to public health, finances and safety.” Please do continue to monitor our shows. We will continue to make every effort to
provide you and the public with the best information we have available.
NBC North Dakota News