the holistic radical

December 21, 2007

Mercola on Media: Why Media Consolidation is Bad for Your Health

Media outlets and Big Pharma demonstrate incredible collusion, to say the least. They are serving up disinformation concerning your most vital resource, your health.

Dr. Mercola’s newsletter is one of the best on the internet to help you 1. sort out disinformation; 2. get on the road to better health; 3. learn how to think logically and holistically (a corollary of 1 & 2).

Why You Are Being Deceived by the News Media

http://v.mercola.com/blogs/public_blog/Why-You-Are-Being-Deceived-by-the-News-Media-20815.aspx

In the last 15 years, your sources for news have shrunk drastically.

Whereas in 1983, 50 corporations ruled the U.S. news media, by 2004 this number decreased to a minuscule six corporations.

When Ben Bagdikian predicted this more than 20 years ago in his book The Media Monopoly, he was called “alarmist”. But when he updated his book in the 1990’s, there were already fewer than two dozen media corporations controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted that the number would fall even farther, and was greeted with skepticism. But his critics have been proven wrong as an increasingly small number of corporations control an increasingly huge percentage of the media market.

I

Media Reform Information Center

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

Today, your mind is controlled by Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, Viacom (formerly CBS) and General Electric’s NBC. These are the top owners of the entire media industry, which includes everything you read and hear in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. Is this a problem?

You bet it is!

There is Virtually No Competition in the Media Market Today Whatsoever

With a paltry six mega-corporations deciding what’s news and what’s not, you end up with a watered-down, hyped-up, “Paris-Hilton-Daily-Blow-By-Blow” censored for entertainment-value type information, which somehow now passes for news.

The Internet has Become the Last Bastion of Independent, Free-Thinking News

And health-related information is no exception to this rule. These mega-companies wield incredible power when it comes to slamming down the natural health industry and dumbing down the public. You have seen proof of it on numerous occasions already, with their “shocking news that vitamins are bad for your health” articles, just as an example.

I am proud to be a top-ranked independent voice in the vastness of corporate monopoly, offering information to empower you with alternative choices that can revolutionize your health, open your eyes to the truth, and keep you safely out of the pharmaceutical sickness loop.

http://www.mercola.com/2003/nov/22/reuters.htm

World’s Largest Media Source Controlled by World’s Largest Drug Company

 
By Dr. Joseph MercolaReuters supplies the global business community and news media with a range of products including real-time financial data, transaction systems, access to numeric and textual historical databases, news and pictures. In my view they are the strongest news collection agency in the world, and they supply the majority of the news you hear on the radio, see on TV or read in the paper. They are also a major source of news for my Web site and my blog.

Three years ago Glaxo Wellcome-SmithKline merged with Beecham to create the world’s largest drug company. This company is one of the primary distributors of hepatitis B vaccine, which I frequently warn about.

Well, a Texas attorney provided me with some documentation that shows a strong link between Glaxo and Reuters. As shown on the GlaxoSmithKline Web site, Sir Christopher Hogg is Glaxo’s non-executive chairman. Sir Christopher Hogg was born in 1936 and has an MBA from Harvard. Interestingly, Sir Christopher is also the non-executive chairman at Reuters.

It does not take much intelligence to understand that Reuters, the world’s primary source of news information, is heavily prejudiced in favor of the drug company. We have a major uphill battle to fight against these forces. Fortunately, the Internet and technology has seriously leveled the playing field and is one of the primary reasons why I remain highly confident that we are making more than a dent in the process.

For one, this newsletter is starting to make a difference. Earlier this year I began promoting raw milk and it started to make a national impact–so much so that an investigative reporter from the Wall Street Journal did an extensive interview with me for a recent front-page story on the topic. National Fox News also did an extensive interview with me on the same topic. Interestingly, both of these organizations neglected to include me in their final stories.

The important point to realize though is that this newsletter–and you–are making a difference. The major national media is starting to pay attention. They have no choice. We have to capture media attention to expand the message of health care freedom from the drug company tyranny. SO, please continue to encourage all your friends and relatives to sign up for the free newsletter so you and your children can have a healthier future.

Most Media Coverage of Drugs Highly Biased

 
A study of how the mainstream mass media covers health found that many news stories on drugs fail to report side effects or researchers’ financial ties to the companies that make the medications. The researchers looked at 207 newspaper and TV stories from 1994 to 1998 on three drugs: aspirin; Zocor, a cholesterol-lowering drug; and Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug.In the 170 stories that cited experts or scientific studies, half included at least one expert or study with financial ties to the drug’s manufacturer. Of those, only 40 percent reported the potential conflict of interest. The study also found that fewer than half the news stories reported the drugs’ side effects and only 30 percent noted their cost.This report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, whose incoming editor has been charged by the FDA for an apparent conflict of interest involving a drug company. He has admitted that he may have made a mistake last year when he praised a new asthma drug made by a company that had hired him to evaluate studies about the medication.

Additionally, forty percent of the stories studied did not report the numbers behind the claims of medical benefits. Also, 83 percent of the studies reported only the relative benefit, 2 percent reported only the absolute benefit, and only 15 percent reported both.

For example, many 1996 stories about a Fosamax study said the drug would cut an osteoporosis patient’s risk of a broken hip in half – the relative benefit. But most failed to include the absolute reduction in risk, from a 2 percent chance of a hip fracture to 1 percent.

Reporting only the relative benefit is an approach that has been shown to increase the enthusiasm of doctors and patients for long-term preventive treatments and that could be viewed as potentially misleading. In addition, while most of the top medical journals require researchers to report their financial ties to drug companies, some studies do not include the information because a researcher fails to disclose it.

New England Journal of Medicine 2000; 342: 1668-1671.

COMMENT: Here we have it again. NEJM comes up with two winner articles documenting the incredible influence that the drug companies have on the media. With their new editor coming in my guess is that we will not see these types of articles published again in the near future.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be fooled. That is the purpose of this newsletter, to give you the truth behind the health news you see on TV or read in the paper or periodicals. I have access to the same wire feeds that the news media does, but no drug company is funding me to influence what I have to say. If you feel that this service is helpful and would like to help your friends and relatives receive the truth behind the headlines you can encourage them to subscribe to the newsletter by clicking on the button below. My goal is to have this news reach as many people as possible. If a significant mass of people understand the truth we will be able to change the way health care is done in this country. I believe the goal is achievable as the Internet levels the playing field. It will happen eventually, but you can facilitate that process by helping to spread the word.

http://www.mercola.com/2003/apr/2/drug_companies.htm

More Drug Company Conflict of Interests

A government review of widely prescribed anti-depressant drugs may not be trustworthy as most of the members have ties to the drug manufacturers.

The side effects of Seroxat, Prozac and other antidepressant drugs in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class were undergoing an “intensive review” because many patients have reported severe withdrawal symptoms when trying to come off Seroxat.

Additionally, the drugs have been associated with a small number of suicides, committed shortly after patients, who were not previously in severely depressed states, began taking the drugs.

However, two of the four scientists on the review board hold shares in GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of Seroxat. Two other members of the review team were involved in the promotional press launch of Seroxat, and the chairman of the team was one of the signatories to a paper that concluded withdrawal symptoms from SSRIs are rare and relatively mild.

In addition, the review will not take into account first-hand evidence from patients, only reports from their doctors.

The team was drawn from the committee on the safety of medicines, which is part of the Department of Health’s medicines control agency. The committee maintains that team members leave the room if they have personal interests such as shareholdings to an aspect of the discussion.

Reportedly, several members of the team did declare personal interests and left the room during some discussions, however meeting minutes showed that all members did not declare all of their manufacturer connections.

The medicines control agency stated that the system for preventing conflicts of interests works well and that there has been no evidence showing that team members did not act with integrity.

The Guardian March 17, 2003


Dr. Mercola’s Comment

The traditional medical paradigm is fatally flawed. Relying on drugs and surgeries to correct diseases caused by poor diet and stress is a prescription for disaster.

If you haven’t seen the signs around you please take notice. Health costs are rising through the roof, and shortly we will be spending over 2 trillion dollars a year for health care in the U.S.

It is safe to estimate that over three-fourths of this money is wasted on short-term fixes, primarily drugs and surgeries, which in no way address the long-term cause of the problem.

If those funds were redirected to optimize food and stress concerns, we would have more than enough funds left over to help the more than 40 million uninsured Americans.

The above article provides a solid review of the pervasive influence of drug companies.

By being aware of their self-interested motives you can keep yourself from falling into their deceptive traps.

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