Klaidman, Stephen 1938-
Klaidman, Stephen 1938-
Born May 28, 1938, in New York, NY; son of Moe (a businessman) and Pauline (a homemaker) Klaidman; married Kitty Ehrenreich (a painter), December 27, 1959; children: Elyse Suzanne, Daniel Marc. Education: Attended City College (now the City University of New York), 1955-59.
Journalist and writer. New York Times, New York City, copyboy, 1959, news clerk, 1960, copy editor, 1962-65; Diplomat, New York City, European columnist, 1966; New York Times, New York City, copy editor, 1967-68; Washington Post, Washington, DC, assistant foreign editor, 1969, deputy foreign editor, 1970-71 and 1973-75, reporter, 1976; International Herald Tribune, Paris, France, news editor, 1977-78, chief editorial writer and columnist, 1979-81; WJLA-TV, Washington, DC, commentator, 1982; Georgetown University, Washington, DC, senior research fellow at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics, 1982—, faculty associate at Center for Strategic and International Studies, associate of Institute for Health Policy Analysis. Dean's Lecturer at Syracuse University, research associate, Institute for Practical Ethics, University of Virginia, 1987; consultant to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
(With Tom L. Beauchamp) The Virtuous Journalist, Oxford University Press (New York City), 1987.
Health in the Headlines: The Stories behind the Stories, Oxford University Press, 1991.
Saving the Heart: The Battle to Conquer Coronary Disease, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awry, Scribner (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to magazines and newspapers. Editor of Kennedy Institute Newsletter.
In Health in the Headlines: The Stories behind the Stories, veteran journalist Stephen Klaidman analyzes seven public health issues that have blanketed American media reports: cholesterol, cigarette smoking, pesticides, nuclear power, AIDS, radon, and global warming. "Klaidman [adeptly] depicts the complicated and varied ways in which politicians, journalists, physicians, scientists, and (occasionally) citizens move the scientific question of risk into the public and political space of the news," related Science contributor Timothy E. Cook. Klaidman, informed Ellis Rubinstein in Washington Monthly, "[examines] how the authorities behaved as each worry surfaced, how the press reported each story, and how the public reacted." "He suggests that the media are best understood as a battlefield, with an instrumental rather than a participatory role," wrote Cook, who indicated that he "[is] not as willing as Klaidman to let journalism off the hook." Klaidman's stance in his 1991 publication is that, ultimately, individuals should avoid blind faith in any particular report, and assess and judge all the information for themselves. Klaidman gives readers some guidelines to help them analyze health information.
"At his best, Klaidman reveals the unpredictable snowball effects of the interactions among political actors, journalists, and scientists, all with their own agendas and concerns," remarked Cook, who went on to write: "But Klaidman unfortunately stops short of discussing how the media affect the very process of science itself." Cook also noted: "Instead of Klaidman's unconvincing separation of politics and science in health news, perhaps we would be better off with his later advice (p. 234), ‘Assume that there are no disinterested parties.’"
Klaidman narrowed his focus to coronary artery disease in Saving the Heart: The Battle to Conquer Coronary Disease, released in 2000. The journalist "traces the development of [coronary artery disease] interventions, the personalities behind them and the complex questions they raise," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. The "engrossing account" is a "sometimes harrowing but always fair-minded analysis," the Publishers Weekly contributor went on to write.
In his 2007 book, Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awry, Klaidman reports on a medical scam in which two doctors at the Redding Medical Center in northern California ordered and performed numerous heart operations on patients who did not need them. Not only were the surgeries not needed, but the outcome in some cases was detrimental to the patients' health. For example, one man was made an invalid at age thirty-six because of a surgery mishap; an older female patient was so affected by the surgery that she fell and died from a cerebral hemorrhage. "Klaidman shows, too, a judicial system that allowed the physicians to walk away," wrote Donna Chavez in Booklist. Reviewers generally praised Klaidman for his reporting. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "this well-researched and ably written account offers solid proof that American medicine is indeed ‘a mess.’" Other reviewers commented on the outrageousness of the deceit. "A novelist would be hard-pressed to invent more outsize characters," wrote a contributor to Business Week. The reviewer went on to write: "Klaidman succeeds at casting a light on the all-too-frequent association of medicine and profit-mongering. And he leaves readers with a stark and enduring lesson: Never underestimate the importance of a second opinion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Donna Chavez, review of Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awry, p. 10.
Business Week, January 22, 2007, "Open-Heart Nightmare," p. 95.
Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 1987, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 30.
Columbia Journalism Review, March 1, 1987, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 64.
Ethics, July 1, 1988, Judith Lichtenberg, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 861.
Food Technology, winter, 1987, review of The Virtuous Journalist; spring, 1989, review of The Virtuous Journalist.
Humanist, September 1, 1987, Mark Hall, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 45.
Journalism Quarterly, spring, 1989, John C. Merrill, review of The Virtuous Journalist.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Coronary, p. 1112.
Library Journal, April 1, 1987, Daniel Levinson, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 144; September 15, 1991, review of Health in the Headlines: The Stories behind the Stories, p. 90; November 15, 2006, Tina Neville, review of Coronary, p. 88.
Media Studies Journal, March 22, 1998, Donald W. Shriver, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 138.
New York Times Book Review, April 19, 1987, John Fleming, review of The Virtuous Journalist, p. 16; December 15, 1991, review of Health in the Headlines, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, November 15, 1999, review of Saving the Heart: The Battle to Conquer Coronary Disease, p. 47; October 9, 2006, review of Coronary, p. 46.
Science, March 27, 1992, Timothy E. Cook, review of Health in the Headlines, p. 1750.
Washington Monthly, April, 1992, Ellis Rubinstein, review of Health in the Headlines, p. 58.
Simon & Schuster,http://www.simonsays.com/ (June 30, 2007), brief profile of author.