The Distant Sound of Presses Turning

The shaken-baby story is breaking, but the public is reluctant to believe.

This week the San Antonio Express-News published a balanced and thoughtful piece by reporter Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, under the provocative title Does ‘shaken-baby’ syndrome exist?  The article examines the case of infant-care provider Aritzaid Santiago, who remains in prison.

When I emailed my praise to Ms. Stoeltje, she replied with thanks for my words of support, adding, “I am being otherwise excoriated.”

After joining the on-line conversation about the article, I’ve gotten a glimpse of what she’s talking about.

The Express-News ranks its on-line comments by their popularity with readers, who can push little thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons on each posting.  The three top vote-getters are displayed with the story, the others on a jump page. I just took this unsettling screen shot:

I take comfort that my own comment has received four thumbs-ups and only one thumbs-down, for a total popularity of 3—still behind, alas, “She should face the death penalty and nothing less,” which was at 5 until it occurred to me I could give it a thumbs-down, so now it’s at 4.

All of which reminds me of a recent quote from radiologist David M. Ayoub, MD, who received a chilly response to his presentation “Congenital Rickets Misdiagnosed as Child Abuse” at last month’s Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma conference in San Francisco. When a member of the audience asked whether it bothered him that most people think he’s wrong, he answered, “The truth is not a popularity contest.”

But public relations is. If you have the time, and are willing to create an account with a random media outlet, please consider joining the conversation that accompanies the San Antonio article, which you can get to by clicking here.

September 2011 update:

Thanks to those of you who took action.  The tone of the comments page changed dramatically over the few days after I posted this entry.  For details see “Texas Update” at the end of a different the post, An Evolving Theory, A Tragic Tale.


Filed under shaken baby syndrome

2 responses to “The Distant Sound of Presses Turning

  1. Pingback: An “Evolving Theory,” a Tragic Tale | On SBS

  2. It is such a sensitive issue and its hard to hear that there are other possibilities – but the sad part is how it wrecks families and reputation so easily. Keep up the good work Sue – many are grateful

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