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It Ain't Necessarily So examines the confusion and inaccuracy in media reporting on some of the major scientific scare stories of the past 20 years, from Alar in apples to anthrax in envelopes.

"Wonderful reading...It Ain't Necessarily So finds a media bias towards scaring the wits out of us with exaggerated incompetent and unbalanced scientific reporting" - Chicago Tribune

"Readers from all walks of life will acquire a more critical eye from this thought-provoking examination of how science gets served up for our early-morning reading and postprandial evening news" - Publishers Weekly



Media reports on environmental cancer are frequent and frightening. Public policy - and public spending - reflect widespread concern over the presence of carcinogens in our air and water and food. Yet how reliable is mass media information about environmental cancer? How accurate are the risk assessments that underlie our public policy decisions? In this provocative book, S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman examine the controversies surrounding environmental cancer and place them in historical perspective. Then, drawing on surveys of cancer researchers and environmental activists, they reveal that there are sharp differences between the two groups' viewpoints on environmental cancer. Despite these differences, a further comparison--between the views of the two groups and the content of television and newspaper accounts over a two-decade period--shows that press reports most frequently cite the views of environmental activists as if they were the views of the scientific community. These findings cast doubt on the objectivity of the news media and environmental activists. And, the authors conclude, misplaced fears about the risks of environmental cancer have seriously distorted public policy and priorities.

"A fascinating and provocative book that is bound to generate interest, controversy, and debate."- John D. Graham, director, Harvard Center for Risk Analysis