The “courageous” breast self-examination news spot debate

posted at 3:36 pm on October 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yes, a local DC news broadcast showed the real thing, so consider this your warning of a Not Safe for Work video — even though it went out over the airwaves, and on cable at MS-NBC. Dr. Nancy Snyderman leads a discussion group on whether this was an effective presentation, and whether it represents a courageous exploration of a significant public health problem, or just exploitation of a semi-nude female for a cheap ratings stunt during the beginning of the November sweeps period. The round table offers a tepid defense, but mainly comes to the common-sense answer:

Be sure to read Greg Hengler’s post for his view of the appearance by Elizabeth Edwards on “desensitizing” people.

Without a doubt, this is a ratings stunt by the local TV station, exploiting Breast Cancer Awareness Month for a bid to boost their ad rates. Why else would they use a young, attractive woman for this particular demonstration, as the panel notes?

However, even with that said, perhaps it shouldn’t be so unusual.  Assuming this aired in the late evening news at 11 pm, there would be few children awake to see it — and even if they did, they would probably have watched a few hours of murder and mayhem preceding it.  Somehow, I’d find that more dangerous to a young mind than the sight of a body part that most of them knew intimately in their first year of life.  This presentation would almost certainly carry a content warning, and its presentation would have more taste than the B&D extravaganza of the Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

If the station wants to redeem itself, perhaps they will show that they meant business by airing a companion piece on testicular self-examination.  If they have the, er, stones to broadcast that as a public service, then perhaps we can reconsider their motivation for this segment as well.

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