The Media’s Part In The Fear Mongering Game

Whatever happened to the Free Press and real “Investigative” reporting? Remember when you knew which newspaper were the most credible, which TV news program the most credible? I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel any of them are credible anymore. I may trust a media outlet I’ve known for a long while to a small degree, but overall, they all just seem to be reading and/or writing what they are told, and not doing any real ‘journalism’.

I find it even more disturbing that so-called doctors are on some of these programs – like CNN‘s Sanjay Gupta – reading the press release on the latest and greatest ‘finding’ as if he’d actually read the study itself and analyzed it. I can’t say I’ve heard him question a single thing yet that I’ve seen him report on.

Ever notice how the News Media all report on the same thing, in the same manner, using almost the same words? They report Press Releases as NEWS. In an attempt to be the first to get the story out, no one bothers to check facts, vet reports or sources, they just spit out exactly what Corporate America tells them too. Corporate America owns most of the media these days. It’s quite obvious too.

My first real proof of this was with the “report” on secondhand smoke in June of 2006 by the former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona. You all heard the proclamation; “the debate is over”, “there is NO safe level of secondhand smoke”. You were told this was a new report. All the media outlets proclaimed it, loudly and gladly. Yet, it was obvious none had bothered to actually go through the 727 pages behind the press announcement.

Had they, they would have noticed that the report consisted of information taken from older reports from the previous 20 years, including the infamous EPA report of 1992 that was debunked in court because the EPA cherry picked the data; broke its own rules; lowered their own standards to get the results they wanted. But the press didn’t report any of that.

They would have noticed that more than 80% of the conclusions in the 727 pages behind the ‘report’ did NOT support the announcement. You didn’t have to read every page either, just go through it, and read the conclusions after each section then the overall conclusions and you will consistently see “the evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer causal…” The report also doesn’t include one of the largest studies done on SHS, by Enstrom & Kabot, because that conclusion definitely doesn’t produce the results the healthists wanted to hear.

In other words, the former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, LIED. He deliberately lied, publically, and all he got a an quiet invitation to quietly retire less than a month later.

Then there’s all these “new” health claims coming out left and right, telling you how to live longer (in this world who the hell wants to live longer).
Sandy Szwarc who writes the Junkfood Science blog does a nice job today of showing how what we are told is usually (if not always) not what’s in the studies behind the press release:

News around the world has reported that “healthy habits can add 14 years to your life.” As incredible as that sounds, more incredible is that not a single health or medical reporter appears to have read the study behind the headlines and accurately report its findings.

Within hours this week, television newscasters, as well as some 500 published articles — for scientists, medical professionals, nursing professionals, business professionals and consumers — were all reporting the same interpretation of this study. The script was provided by the publication’s press release: “4 health behaviors can add 14 extra years of life.”
Their key finding, which has not been reported, was they were unable to find a tenable correlation between any of the health behaviors and mortality: all-cause, cardiovascular disease, cancer or any other cause of death. The relative risks all hugged either side of 1 — null findings.
As seen in mortality trends since 1985, they said, “future gains in life expectancy will be measured in days or months rather than years.”
For example, researchers examining Finland data, reported in the International Journal of Cancer that totally eliminating ALL forms of cancer and all cancer-related diseases among the entire population would add 2.38 days. The total elimination of all lung cancer would gain 8.9 hours. The total elimination of all breast cancer would gain 4.6 hours.

But the press release claims 14 years added to your life expectancy if you follow 4 simple things. AND THAT IS WHAT THE PRESS REPORTED. Which means that none of them bothered to look at the actual studies, just parroted the press release as they were told to. How do they do that and still sleep at night?

Here’s a site that also debunks many of today’s headlines by delving into the actual ‘study’ for the real facts, or lack of as the case usually is.


~ by swfreedomlover on January 12, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Media’s Part In The Fear Mongering Game”

  1. I am SO glad to see someone writing about this! I have felt for a long time that this was the case and rarely watch the news anymore because of it. The only part of the news I am interested in is the weather. I’ve got the time down on when that comes on and will only switch over to news at that time. I’ll not be a part of the rest of the farce!

  2. Yes. I am standing on my chair, applauding here. I seldom tune into news other than NPR or PBS. When I do tune in, most recently when southern California was on fire, I become almost immediately incensed over the coverage. There is always some spin that has nothing whatever to do with “news”.

    Recently watched OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism. Oh my.

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