A review of national television, magazine, and newspaper coverage of the case of Baby Jane Doe indicates that most of it lacked perspective and context: stories were generally incomplete and often imprecise; reporting was sometimes inaccurate; and overall, inadequate attention was paid to the medical, legal, philosophical, and social implications of the case. Human-interest and political elements of the story were generally well covered. Even after taking account of the pressures and constraints of daily and weekly news reporting, we conclude that the print press and television could have done a better job without devoting more space or time to the story. This could have been done by assigning reporters with greater expertise and by paying more attention to the needs of a hypothetical “reasonable reader.”

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