Disease in the Popular American Press: The Case of Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, and Syphilis, 1870-1920

Overview

A well-researched, qualitative analysis of how the US mass media covered typhoid fever, diptheria, and syphilis from 1870 to 1920. Ziporyn, a free-lance writer and former American Association for the Advancement of Science mass media fellow, finds consistently high press coverage of typhoid fever contrasted with media disinterest in diptheria and cautious reporting about syphilis. The press's approaches differed, she explains, because the news media responded to dissimilar social values about typhoid fever, ...

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Overview

A well-researched, qualitative analysis of how the US mass media covered typhoid fever, diptheria, and syphilis from 1870 to 1920. Ziporyn, a free-lance writer and former American Association for the Advancement of Science mass media fellow, finds consistently high press coverage of typhoid fever contrasted with media disinterest in diptheria and cautious reporting about syphilis. The press's approaches differed, she explains, because the news media responded to dissimilar social values about typhoid fever, diptheria, and syphilis at the turn of the century. Ziporyn's observations are aided by a thorough, well-footnoted analysis of publications across 14 categories. Choice

This study explores the depiction of medical science to the American public through the medium of popular magazines in the period 1870 to 1920. To understand the impact of medical advances as conveyed by the popular press, Ziporyn examines articles on diphtheria, typhoid fever, and syphilis in major popular magazines of the time. In search of the common underlying premises, she analyzes the very different depictions of these three diseases: diptheria was associated with children, typhoid fever with uncleanliness, and syphilis with immorality. Although generally conservative in announcing advances, medical popularizers nevertheless presented theory as absolute certainty. Perhaps in anticipation of reader desires, popular articles portrayed medical science as completely devoid of uncertainty of error.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

TERRA ZIPORYN is a freelance writer, editor, and historian.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

The Popularization of Medicine

Diphtheria: A Disease of the Innocent

Typhoid Fever: A Disease of the Indifferent

Syphilis: A Disease of the Immoral

Conclusion: Medical Science in Popular American Magazines

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