Many Intent readers know and admire Lynne McTaggart, the internationally known author of several bestselling books, including The Intention Experiment, The Field, The Bond, and What Doctors Don’t Tell You.
What many may not know, without reading the British tabloids last week, is that the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times UK published an article featuring representatives from an organization which called for the banning of McTaggart’s magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, (WDDTY). Members of this organization phoned British magazine stockers and agents demanding they remove WDDTY from their shelves.
In today’s world, with irate people, charges and counter-charges, many things we once took for granted come under attack. But a health magazine? Health information? Why?
The Times charged that a story in McTaggart’s 25-year old print and on-line WDDTY health news magazine, claims that homeopathy cures cancer. But that homeopathy story has never seen print. It will be published next month. Instead of waiting to see what the story actually said, based on a two-sentence teaser announcement, the Times slammed McTaggart’s magazine.
“You have no idea yet what we’re going to write about, so how can you say we’re going to write that homeopathy ‘cures’ cancer?” asked McTaggart, who delves into the attack on WDDTY.
Within days of the Times’ story, McTaggart recounts that the coverage exploded in other television and other media outlets with headlines blaring, “Warning that claims in alternative health mag could prove fatal.”
This sensationalized attack on alternative and integrative medicine—and those who practice it, use it, and seek information about it ran roughshod over time-honored traditions of honest reporting.
“Not one of the newspapers, radio shows or television stations bothered to contact us, even to solicit a comment – which is Journalism 101 when you intend to run a story on someone, pro or con. It’s also apparent from the information published in The Times and in all the media following that not one journalist or broadcaster has read one single word we’ve written,” says McTaggart.
In the rush to a deadline, perhaps the pile-on of reporters misinterpreted headlines and photos. It’s also likely that encouraged by a pharma-funded group called Sense Against Science, they willfully ignored the science that WDDTY presents.
On the WDDTY Facebook page, McTaggart, points out that the “vitamin C article never claimed that vitamin C cures AIDS. It simply quoted a study by Dr. Robert Cathcart showing a favourable response when he used it against HIV.”
This is not the first attempt to censor health information or WDDTY by the well-funded British organization, Sense Against Science, which according to its website is funded by the British Pharmaceutical Society, along with a who’s who of UK pharmaceutical and medical societies.
McTaggart further explores Singh’s background and aims in a recent blog.
Nevertheless, the public has a right to a full range of health information, not only the information, treatment approach, philosophy and science offered by one health brand or industry.
“The real story here is that the Times is allowing themselves to be the patsy of an industry backed organization by attacking a magazine that is responsibly and critically examining that industry. The job of the media, the Fourth Estate is to be the guardians of the public interest…The Times seems to be suggesting that their role is to ‘protect’ the public by censoring information that departs from standard medical line,” adds McTaggart,
Critiques of both integrative medicine and what McTaggart has called “frontier science,” are nothing new, but the virulence of the new breed of paid spokespeople, may be. Through her books, and through WDDT’s health reportage, McTaggart is one of many reporters popularizing a more expanded reach for science. By covering her work in The Lost Symbol, author Dan Brown has helped this new trend in science to reach way beyond the choir. But some vested interests feel threatened.
“Those who control or suppress access to such information say they do it to protect an ‘ignorant’ public. Don’t be fooled. People who hide information disrespect the public and act against its interest in taking responsible personal action. Don’t trust the censors,” says James S. Turner, Board Chair of Citizens for Health, a membership based health advocacy organization
In the current media climate, in which publishers, foundations and think tanks have ties to and funding from a range of industries, people can all too readily get confused by the ensuing misinformation, particularly when a sponsored think tank’s PR agenda gets picked up by news organizations.
In this controversy, what’s at stake is safeguarding the people’s right to make their own health care decisions and access a full range of approaches that promote and maintain health, prevent disease, and address symptoms or illness, when they arise. To do that, the public clearly needs a broad and inclusive range of health information.
McTaggart assesses the implications of the Times’ coverage within the current media climate, and asks: Are we going to allow ever increasing suppression of alternative forms of health and healing when establishment, drug-based medicine is so woefully inadequate by any standard (only 12 per cent of is proven, says the British Medical Association); corrupt (three-quarters of all drug research is PR dressed up as research); and damaging (correctly prescribed drugs are one of the leading causes of death in the West, vying with deaths from heart disease or cancer)?
McTaggart hopes that “this will become a rallying call to stand united against the larger issue and begin demanding our right to choose our own system of health care.”
Subscriptions to both online and internationally available print versions of What Doctors Don’t Tell You are available here.
People can sign up for Citizens for Health’s Freedom of the Health Press Project to safeguard rights to get all health information.