Essay on Public Perception Of The Media

Essay on Public Perception Of The Media

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In a recent article published by the American Society for Cell Biology, scientist Aliyah Weinstein (2014) argues that the public perception of the contemporary scientist has “spilled over into the practice of science in the laboratory and the focus of research that is performed”. According to Weinstein (2014), these perceptions have largely been informed by the media. Something Weinstein did not include in her article, however, was the extent to which she felt public perception has made an impact on the contemporary scientist and his laboratory -- and how much of a role the media plays in the establishment of this perception. In this paper, I will explore not only how public perception of science has been developed by the media, but also how that perception has influenced scientific research processes and outcomes. To accomplish this, I will first provide a more in-depth explanation of the relationship I argue exists between public perception and the development of scientific practice within the context of this paper. Then, I will further examine my thesis by both drawing from and comparing three cases discussed at various points throughout the course: the notorious Tuskegee Study, the polio research of the mid-20th century, and the kidnapping of Pepper the Dog.
According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, almost 80% of adults believe that the outcomes of scientific research has made life easier for most people (Funk & Rainie, 2015). Because of this, I would argue that many people within our society -- the public -- feel as if the scientific community has the power to decide why and how this research is conducted and used. Following this line of logic, the relationship between the common man and the...


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...on, 2013). Two years after the Associated Press published the exposé on the Tuskegee study, the National Research Act was signed into law. The 1974 law created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues cites as being the first national bioethics group (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d.). In the same year, a number of research practice regulations were passed by the government. One such regulation required the researchers of every study funded or done by Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) to get voluntary informed consent by all participants. Another required that “all DHEW-supported studies using human subjects be reviewed by Institutional Review Boards” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

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