I've been a little disappointed with the quality of articles on two different topics that I have read this week. In my mind this comes from wanting to be first to publish and first to get page views.
This week Volkswagen caused a lot of trouble for themselves by admitting that they have been cheating on emissions tests. Unfortunately most of the articles on this topic that I read were a jumbled mess. There was a recall. Except there isn't one yet. There was cheating... but how? Every article I saw was light on facts or anything else I would want to know. I'm still unclear on what the story here is.
There isn't a lot of information that I want to know about the Volkswagen issue but almost every article I've seen has failed to answer my questions. They're probably not that difficult to answer but require work. And the 24-hour news cycle doesn't reward work. It rewards re-writing press releases and packaging tweets as news.
Apparently the Volkswagen cars knew when their emissions were being tested, but I want to know how the car knew. Seems like it should be a simple question to answer. Give me more depth than I'm currently getting. Please! I saw one article that mentioned that a garage will turn off the crash protection systems when doing emissions testing and the car uses that along with other information to change the emission settings. Or is it just that the wheels aren't turning, or the car isn't moving? Someone must know.
I also want to know what the change in the emissions system means. How can the engine software change the composition of the emissions? I haven't seen a good answer for that except for articles that describe AdBlue and the urea injection process. Except it appears that the engines affected here don't use AdBlue.
Lots of words written across the media but they so often seem to be churnalism rather than actual journalism.
The other news story that seems light on detail is about the price hike of Daraprim (better NYT link), manufactured by Turing Pharmaceuticals. There are many outraged headlines about a drug that is being increased from $US13.50 per pill to $US750.
This seems outrageous but without further information, how is the reader supposed to fully understand this?
My first question about this issue is why can't this drug simply be substituted by generics? This is a 62 year old drug which presumably should be outside patent protection by now. Presumably there are generic drugs that can be used instead of paying many times the original price. I haven't found a single article that describes to me why this can't happen. Is it a problem with the FDA or hospitals or where? Is this a problem only within the United States or is it international? I have seen no answers anywhere.
These two news stories highlight to me the failure of the 24-hour news cycle to inform the public. And surely if the media aren't informing the public then they aren't doing their job.