As I previously described, on December 22nd, NBC Nightly News wielded the power of pandering in senior legal and investigative correspondent Cynthia McFadden’s misleading report: “Power of Prayer? 'Miracle' Priest Rises from Wheelchair and Walks.” The report’s only redeeming features were the snippets of healthy skepticism provided by Richard P. Sloan, PhD. Dr. Sloan is Nathaniel Wharton Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the author of Blind Faith The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine.
On December 23rd, McFadden followed up with a two minute nineteen second report, “Power of Prayer: What Happens to Your Brain When You Pray?,” available for viewing online accompanied by an article by producer Jake Whitman. In introducing the report, anchorman Brian Williams said:
…there’s been a lot of interest expressed in the report we aired here last night about the growing medical evidence behind the power of prayer, inspiring to so many especially given this time of year. But tonight the skeptics get their say in the conclusion of our two-part series on this topic….