OVERVIEW OF MEDIA WATCH
As you may know, ASAT is a science-based organization, and part of our mission is to educate the public about effective autism treatment and to improve the accuracy with which autism and autism treatments are portrayed in the media. We do the latter by monitoring relevant news articles and providing feedback to journalists through our Media Watch letters.
Many people with autism and their families, members of the general public, service providers, and medical professionals turn to the media for information about autism and its treatment. Sadly, the media’s portrayals of autism treatment are not always accurate and often fraught with inaccuracies and misinformation. Through our Media Watch effort, we hope to improve the accuracy of media representations through four broad initiatives:
- To respond to both accurate and inaccurate information or portrayals of treatments for autism by the media;
- To increase awareness of the importance of scientific evidence in autism treatment and of scientific methods that can lead to real hope for those touched by autism;
- To share specific information about science-based autism treatment with media professionals and their readers; and
- To support the efforts of the journalism community to effectively and accurately share information about autism treatment.
Through our Media Watch efforts, we provide written feedback to journalists and other media professionals who write about autism and its treatment. For accurate depictions of autism intervention based on the current state of the science, we strive to acknowledge the efforts of those individuals responsible for educating the public with sound, accurate information. However, when an autism intervention is portrayed inaccurately, we provide feedback to media professionals to encourage correction of the inaccurate information in the article or more careful consideration when writing future articles. Inaccurate portrayals of autism treatments in the media include, but are not limited to:
- Exaggerating the research support for an intervention for which no research exists, as well as existing research that is flawed, poor in quality, or otherwise limited;
- Ignoring the research basis that may already exist for the treatment in focus;
- Disregarding the relevance of science;
- Disregarding position statements from various professional organizations that warn against or discourage the use of a particular treatment; and
- Failing to acknowledge research that does NOT support a particular intervention.
To read actual Media Watch responses authored by individuals affiliated with ASAT, please click here. Please note that our published responses represent the views of the individual writer(s) and do not necessarily represent a formal position taken by the Board of ASAT.