HERMAN STEINBERG, M.D.
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To the editor: Having read Dr. Fitzgerald's note, "From Galen to Xerox: The Authoritarian Reference in Medicine" in the February 1982 issue (1), I should like to add the Joe McCarthy syndrome.
This acquired syndrome is manifested by a propensity to cite literature out of context. The reference is generally accurate in terms of either journal, year, or content—but never quite right in all these respects. The reference is usually, but not always, related to the clinical problem or subject matter under discussion, but is not specifically pertinent.
Just as Senator Joseph McCarthy attempted to buttress his views by waving
STEINBERG H. Joe McCarthys in Medicine. Ann Intern Med. 1982;96:795. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-96-6-795_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1982;96(6_part_1):795.
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