Here is the link to the recent statement by the American Psychiatric Association President drawing attention to the so-called “Goldwater Rule”:
On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement. (Bold added.)
Interestingly, the Washington Post puts it this way:
The short version: It’s okay to talk about psychiatric issues — but not okay to diagnose people you haven’t treated.
Of course, there is a lot of daylight between “shar[ing] with the public . . . expertise about psychiatric issues in general” and “offer[ing] a pofessional opinion.” Most of that uncertainty derives from the wiggle room in the phrase “in general.” Note also that the Post short version above does not include the qualification, and I have to feel that the Post article overall, while quoting extensively, feels less restrictive than the APA statement.
In any event, I note that there is a lot of parallel with our issues about legal information. I would suggest that the no opinion from shrinks rule might help us say that the information only rule can seen as simply a “no opinion” rule. In other words, the simple explanation of our rule is “just the facts, m’am.” Of course, some would argue that there are no facts in psychiatry — or law.
As to the practical impact on psychiatrists however, I do recall the lovely line in House of Cards, when the FU character drops a hint, the naive young journalist asks the intended follow-up and FU replies: “Now, you might well think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.” That phrase has passed into English, at least in English politics.