UW rejects Disney complaints over study of videos
The University of Washington is standing behind a news release that upset Walt Disney Co. and provoked the company's chief executive to...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The University of Washington is standing behind a news release that upset Walt Disney Co. and provoked the company's chief executive to demand an immediate retraction.
UW President Mark Emmert on Thursday rebuffed claims made by Disney's Robert Iger that a university news release, which summed up a study on baby videos and their possible effects, was "misleading, irresponsible and derogatory" and did not accurately reflect the original study.
Emmert said he met with the three UW researchers who conducted the study and reviewed the media release, titled "Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants' language development."
"The researchers find no inconsistencies between the content of the news release and their paper. They believe the release accurately reflects the paper's conclusions and their commentary," he said in a letter to Iger on Thursday.
The original news release, triggering national news coverage, said parents who want infants to get a language boost should limit the amount of time babies are exposed to some DVDs and videos.
Iger complained on Monday that the news release cited Disney's "Baby Einstein" videos as an example, and by doing so, "blatantly misrepresented what the study was about."
Iger's letter also called the study itself "flawed."
"Assuming that a press release from a well respected University would fairly reflect the substance and conclusions of the underlying study, media outlets are widely citing the study as demonstrating that use of 'Baby Einstein' videos harm infants," Iger wrote to Emmert.
Emmert maintained that the university stands behind the researchers' work, and earlier this week said he had "great confidence" in the team that produced the news release.
He said the study itself had gone through rigorous review by experts and was held to high standards before being published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Disney said in a prepared statement yesterday evening that it stands behind its request to retract what the company believes to be "an inflammatory and misleading press release, which was developed to gain media attention, and contradicts and distorts the study's own carefully limited and hedged findings." Disney said it is "currently exploring next steps in this matter."
Christina Siderius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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