Blog | Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For the record, 'mind your own business'

As a journalist, it's nice to imagine that sources feel at least a little bit concerned about how their quotes will be used in a story. That doesn't always happen when you work for a niche publication like ACP Internist, but I'd be pretty confident of that concern if I worked for a major, national newspaper with considerable influence over public opinion. So, it's mystifying as to why the editor of JAMA, presumably no stranger to the press, lashed out at questions from a Wall Street Journal reporter over criticisms of a published study.

The call was prompted by a critique by Jonathan Leo, a professor at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., who claims that a JAMA study involving the anti-depressant Lexapro in stroke patients omitted important information and failed to disclose a financial relationship between the drug maker, Forest Labs, and the lead author.

Contacted by the WSJ, JAMA editor-in-chief Catherine DeAngelis called Dr. Leo a "nobody and a nothing," then went on to inform the reporter that the matter was "none of your business," according to the WSJ blog. Telling a reporter to mind his own business when you know you're on the record? She might as well have held a news conference.