Current Health News You Can Use

Citation metadata

Date: June 2001
Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,774 words

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

This column will highlight recently published articles in the major peer-reviewed medical journals that have practical relevance for you. If you have access to e-mail you can receive the most recent and expanded weekly version of this column. All you need to do is go to and follow the instructions. This newsletter is FREE with no ads and your address is not shared with anyone. It is published twice a week. Back issues of the newsletter are also available at along with a search engine to locate items in the more than 15,000 pages of information that are posted on the site.

How The Media Deceives You About Health Issues

Think about how many times you've heard an evening news anchor give out some variation on the phrase, "According to experts...." It's such a common device that most of us hardly hear it anymore. But we do hear the "expert" -- the professor or doctor or watchdog group -- tell us whom to vote for, what to eat, when to buy stock. And, most of the time, we trust them. Now ask yourself, how many times has that news anchor revealed who those experts are, where they get their funding, and what constitutes their political agenda? If you answered never, you'd be close.

That's the driving complaint behind Trust Us, We're Experts, a new book co-authored by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of the Center for Media and Democracy. Unlike many so-called "experts," the Center's agenda is quite overt -- to expose the shenanigans of the public relations industry, which pays, influences and even invents a startling number of those experts.

There are two kinds of "experts" in question -- the PR spin doctors behind the scenes and the "independent" experts paraded before the public, scientists who have been hand-selected, cultivated, and paid handsomely to promote the views of corporations involved in controversial actions.

By financing and publicizing views that support the goals of corporate sponsors, PR campaigns have, over the course of the century, managed to suppress the dangers of lead poisoning for decades, silence the scientist who discovered that rats fed on genetically modified corn had significant organ abnormalities, squelch television and newspaper stories about the risks of bovine growth hormone, and place enough confusion and doubt in the public's mind about global warming to suppress any mobilization for action.

The news media regularly fails to investigate so-called "independent experts" associated with industry front groups. They all have friendly-sounding names like "Consumer Alert" and "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition," but they fail to reveal their corporate funding and their propaganda agenda, which is to smear legitimate health and community safety concerns as "junk-science fear-mongering."

The news media frequently uses the term "junk science" to smear environmental health advocates. The PR industry has spent more than a decade and many millions of dollars funding and creating industry front groups which wrap them in the flag of "sound science." In reality, their "sound science" is progress as...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A75178723