The media are great equalizers in science, which is most disturbing to us scientists. Any scientist quoted in the media becomes an “expert.” We know reporters must consult more than a single source and make room for dissenting opinions. But many people consider what is in the media to be true by definition. One striking example is Peter Duesberg’s theory that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. I laughed at that for a while, but it led to a lot of public concern that maybe HIV was a hoax. The theory has extraordinary credibility just on the basis of news coverage."
"My barometer of what the general public is really thinking is my sister Denise. My sister Denise is an intelligent woman who reads avidly, listens to the radio, and watches television, but she is not a scientist. When she calls me and questions my integrity as a scientist, there really is a problem. Denise has called me at least ten times about Peter Duesberg. She says, “Anthony”—she is the only one who calls me Anthony—“are you sure he’s wrong?” That’s the power of putting someone on television or in the press, although there is virtually nothing in his argument that makes scientific sense. People are especially confused when they see divergent reports about the same thing."
"Journalists who make too many mistakes, or who are too sloppy, are going to find that their access to scientists may diminish." - Fauci, A. 1989. Writing for my sister Denise. The AAAS Observer, Sept. 1.
[Sadly, Tony's not-so-veiled threats appear to have been considerably more effective than his AIDS policies.]