Answering Awais Aftab: When it Comes to Misleading the Public, Who is the Culprit?

This article by Robert Whitaker has been published by Mad in America. It begins:

“On March 27, Mad in America published a review of a ‘viewpoint‘ in JAMA Psychiatry that told of how psychiatry did not have evidence of ‘successful outcomes.’ This prompted psychiatrist Awais Aftab to write a blog critical of our science reporting, with the March 27 report exemplifying our failure. He led his blog with a quote describing “rationalisation markets,” which was meant to describe our ‘insidious impact’:

‘Rationalisation markets provide a helpful framework for understanding why certain information can often be so misleading even when it is accurate. To the extent that pundits or media organization exist not to inform, but rationalize, their insidious impact often lies not in the strict falsity of their content but in the way in which it is integrated and packaged to support appealing but misguided narratives.’

Mad in America gets criticized all the time, and for the most part, we just ignore it. Aftab has criticized us before, and so this too is nothing new. However, his criticism in this instance provides us with an opportunity not to be passed up, as it illuminates why Mad in America’s science coverage is so threatening to psychiatry.

Aftab has staked out a position as being open-minded to critiques of psychiatry, and that is a public stance that makes him particularly valuable to his profession. He can serve as a defender of psychiatry against critiques that are truly threatening, and his criticisms will be seen as coming from someone who is open-minded about psychiatry’s flaws …”

You can read more from here.

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