Healthcare news reporting in the mainstream media has a watchdog — HealthNewsReviews.org, published by Gary Schwitzer, who is not without the needed credentials to critique the press. A former editor at MayoClinic.com, Schwitzer is a rare common-sense academic.
The publications reviewed at HealthNewsReviews.org include over 60 titles — the list covers the major TV networks, cable news networks (CNN, Fox, etc), wire services, regional newspapers, most of the New York City papers, and news magazines. The reviews stay close to technical errors and errors in reporting. For example, from Schwitzer's editorial,
The brief summary is that between 62-77% of [healthcare news stories published in the mainstream press] failed to adequately address costs, harms, benefits, the quality of the evidence and the existence of other options when covering health care products and procedures. You could call it a “kid in the candy store” portrayal of US health care, whereby everything is made to look terrific, risk-free, and without a price tag. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Noticeably absent from the media list is the healthcare trade press (such as PSP), but we may fall outside the popular definition of mainstream.