Thursday, July 9, 2020
Home Media Pathetic journalism – when media thought you can get STDs from ATMs

Pathetic journalism – when media thought you can get STDs from ATMs

Also Read

Dr. Shweta
Pathologist, Keeping a close watch on societal pathogens.

In a s̶e̶l̶f̶ destructive attempt to malign a government initiative, the Indian media has once again unmasked their own “illiteracy” (can we still call it a mask after the million holes put in it by OpIndia?) and spread panic and rumour in the process. I am referring to some of the reports in the media, which claimed that ATMs may cause STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)!

I first broke into laughter. It soon turned into horror as I wondered what exactly these media people were doing to those ATMs to get STDs! And how?! Ewww!

But worse, there still are people who believe the mainstream media, trusting them with veracity of information.

But I don’t trust them. So I looked at the source of this stupid news item. They all seemed to have picked it up from a news service IANS, but the ‘STD spreading’ headlines were the work of horror by our their own editorial teams. India Today even went so far as to link it to the “note ban”. Economic Times also linked it indirectly, but they didn’t put STD in the headline.

ATM STD news by India Today
Sensationalism or plain stupidity?

First, the facts:

These news reports quote a research to back their sensationalist headlines. The research quoted was conducted in New York by a biologist. What the media understood from the research was that ATMs are potential source of STI causing pathogens. The spin is that the pathogens are present on ATMs.

But this micro-habitat is also present on any other object that is commonly used by public; for example, door of a cab, bus, metro railings, office desk and even toilet seat at your home.

Yet, how often are we visiting venereologists after coming in contact with these objects? These pathogens can cause anything as small as common cold to grave illness like Tuberculosis. But the chances of contracting STD are negligible.

What is an STI? Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person “sexual” contact. I am still wondering how the i̶n̶t̶e̶l̶l̶e̶c̶t̶u̶a̶l̶s̶ of our society are having fun with Automated Teller Machine that they are fearing about getting STD?

The truth is that the microbes mentioned in the news reports are the ones that are frequently present either as normal flora of our body or are result of unclean hands (something that is not the result of demonetization, at least).

News article says that microbial communities extracted from the ATMs in New York were those found in food, environment, residual DNA from meals, Lactobacillus (which is usually found in decomposing plants or milk products). As far as basic science is concerned, you can be assured that none of them can cause STI.

Study quoted in article also agrees that “the most common identified sources of microbes on the keypads were from household surfaces such as televisions, restrooms, kitchens and pillows, as well as from bony fish, mollusks and chicken.”

So aren’t we struggling with more risk in our own cosy beds than those shabby ATMs?

So how exactly did the media convince the ATMs to spread STDs?

According to the news, “the research team found a parasite typically seen in the gut of humans, along with a species closely related to the human parasite Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV), which can potentially cause STD.”

Now, the question is that how a species “closely related” to TV became TV itself and started causing STDs? Is it the new sci-fi parasite? It is like saying that anopheles which is a malarial vector, can also cause zika or dengue just because it is also a mosquito. But that never happens and so similar parasite cannot become TV and cause STD.

More importantly, when I went through the original research, I found that they could not confirm the presence of TV. Researchers in original article said that they were not able to differentiate Trichomonas vaginalis from closely related zoonotic species using 18S rRNA loci alone and in their study they could not confirm the likely source of eukaryotic pathogen species.

The other time they mentioned about TV where they said that it is from avian (birds) source: “A species closely related to the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis that was originally isolated from avian sources were also recovered from ATM keypads.”

From this we can infer two things:

1. The researchers could not confirm the presence of pathogen that can cause STI.
2. The tumult created by media headlines was alarmist and gloom-mongering.

But you can’t expect the media to be responsible enough to go into the details of research reports before spreading rumours and panic. Indian media will conveniently blame the agencies they source the news from. But remember, the headlines are all theirs.

When they see something that sounds too strange to be true, you would expect them to crosscheck with some experts. But, they see STD and ATM in one report and were more than happy to run them with alarmist headlines, especially at a time when people are thronging ATMs, with some even linking it to the “note ban”.

Now you know, that it is actually the media that is spreading STD (Stupidly Through Discourse?) rather than the ATMs.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Dr. Shweta
Pathologist, Keeping a close watch on societal pathogens.

Trending now

Jammu and Kashmir: Ex-BJP district President Wasim Bari killed by terrorists, father and brother also murdered

Former BJP Bandipora President Wasim Bari killed by terrorists who shot at him outside his shop

Turkey govt plans to convert Byzantine cathedral Hagia Sophia into a mosque again. Read about this historical symbol of Muslim-Christian rivalry

Hagia Sophia, originally a Christian cathedral, was converted into a mosque and then into a museum, will be converted to mosque again

Only Muslims go to heaven, Ravish Kumar-like non-Muslims can only hope for a mild level of hell: Dr Zakir Naik explains

Naik said that virtues like honesty and charity cannot ensure qualifying marks for heaven or Jannah. Only Muslims can go to heaven and non-Muslims will go to hell by default, he says.

Muslims hurled abuses and casteist slurs, attacked us with sharp weapons: Mahadalits in Begusarai

Victim Shankar Paswan claimed that members of Muslim community addressed Mahadalits with casteist slurs before attacking them with weapons

No, Indian PUBG user did not make Chinese player say ‘Hindustan Zindabad’, Times Network’s website fell for satire

Times group's MensXP falls for satire, believes that Indian PUBG user made Chinese player say 'Hindistan Zindabad'

Jyoti Basu is the mass murderer India forgot

Please don’t feel bad about speaking ill of the Late Jyoti Basu. If there is another world, be certain that there are (at least) 28,000 voices from the other side backing you up.

Recently Popular

Australian surfer Carmen Greentree abducted and raped for 2 months in a houseboat in Kashmir in 2004, pressurised to convert to Islam

Carmen Greentree has penned a book titled "A Dangerous Pursuit of Happiness" narrating her abduction and rape in Kashmir.

Jyoti Basu is the mass murderer India forgot

Please don’t feel bad about speaking ill of the Late Jyoti Basu. If there is another world, be certain that there are (at least) 28,000 voices from the other side backing you up.

The dark, disturbing world of mean and hateful ‘sly’ Bollywood insider gossip featuring Rajeev Masand, PinkVilla and others

Following Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide, prominent film journalists and critics were accused of writing vile 'blinds' aka unverified, vile gossip.

Payal Rohatgi’s Twitter account suspended, the actress says she is being targeted by ‘liberals and extremists’

Payal Rohatgi has stated that her efforts to share facts has been projected in a bad light by liberals and extremists who control Twitter.

Only Muslims go to heaven, Ravish Kumar-like non-Muslims can only hope for a mild level of hell: Dr Zakir Naik explains

Naik said that virtues like honesty and charity cannot ensure qualifying marks for heaven or Jannah. Only Muslims can go to heaven and non-Muslims will go to hell by default, he says.

Veteran Bollywood actor Jagdeep dies at 81

Jagdeep is father of Bollywood actor Javed Jafri.

Jammu and Kashmir: Ex-BJP district President Wasim Bari killed by terrorists, father and brother also murdered

Former BJP Bandipora President Wasim Bari killed by terrorists who shot at him outside his shop

Watch: BJP’s Sambit Patra and Congress’ Gaurav Vallabh hurl Sukanya Devi and Ranga-Billa cases at each other in intense TV debate

When Congress spokesperson equated Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah with Ranga-Billa, BJP's Sambit Patra raised Sukanya Devi rape case

Indian Army decides to ban 89 apps for its personnel: Here are the details

Other than Chinese apps there are other few apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc which the Indian Army has also banned for its personnel

Mahesh Bhatt predicted her end, threw chappal at her: Kangana Ranaut’s team denies Pooja Bhatt’s claims about Bhatts helping Kangana

Bollywood has always preferred to promote its own progeny and by denying, Pooja Bhatt is running away from the undeniable fact

Turkey govt plans to convert Byzantine cathedral Hagia Sophia into a mosque again. Read about this historical symbol of Muslim-Christian rivalry

Hagia Sophia, originally a Christian cathedral, was converted into a mosque and then into a museum, will be converted to mosque again

UP police arrest suspended SHO Vinay Tiwari and KK Sharma for tipping Vikas Dubey about the raid

UP police arrested suspended SHO Tiwari and Beat In-charge Sharma of Chaubeypur police station for tipping Vikas Dubey ahead of police raid.

Only Muslims go to heaven, Ravish Kumar-like non-Muslims can only hope for a mild level of hell: Dr Zakir Naik explains

Naik said that virtues like honesty and charity cannot ensure qualifying marks for heaven or Jannah. Only Muslims can go to heaven and non-Muslims will go to hell by default, he says.

Muslims hurled abuses and casteist slurs, attacked us with sharp weapons: Mahadalits in Begusarai

Victim Shankar Paswan claimed that members of Muslim community addressed Mahadalits with casteist slurs before attacking them with weapons

Viśiṣṭvividhīkaran: Sanatan Dharma and Qualified Diversification

Sanatan Dharma has been a coming together of Diversification and paths to the Truth, with various sects and traditions over the millennia

Connect with us

235,209FansLike
401,340FollowersFollow
271,000SubscribersSubscribe