Originally published August 16 2007
NaturalNews readers demand retractions from major media outlets over erroneous reporting of antioxidant study
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
When the mainstream media refuses to print the truth about a significant study detailing the health benefits of antioxidants and, instead, parrots the erroneous conclusions of a pro-pharmaceutical medical association, it's time for citizens to take a stand and demand accountability. Today, NaturalNews announces a grassroots action campaign to demand retractions, corrections or clarifications from major media outlets -- Fox News, ABC News, CNN, Reuters, WebMD and more -- all of which printed incorrect, incomplete or misleading statements concerning the results of an antioxidant study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study clearly showed that women who took vitamins E and C experienced a statistically significant and rather remarkable reduction in risk of heart attacks (22 percent reduction), strokes (31 percent reduction) and other cardiovascular events. Yet the American Medical Association issued a press release implying that the study found antioxidants to be of no use whatsoever, and the mainstream media ran that as de facto news without bothering to assess whether the opinion of the AMA was, in fact, true. (And apparently without actually reading the study in question.)
The American Medical Association is a pro-pharmaceutical group with a dubious history of promoting extremely dangerous and deadly products. It has taken millions of dollars from tobacco companies, for example, to promote cigarettes in its medical journal (JAMA). It has also been found guilty in U.S. courts of antitrust violations in its attempts to destroy chiropractic medicine. The AMA has also been implicated in at least one shady deal where it received "licensing fees" from companies in exchange for permission to print the AMA logo on products even without bothering to conduct any sort of safety tests on those products. Click here to read these details about the AMA.
The AMA's medical journal, JAMA, remains largely funded by drug company interests. Thus, it is no surprise that the AMA's spin on this recent antioxidant study seemed designed to make vitamins look useless, thereby dissuading consumers from taking substances that ultimately compete with pharmaceuticals.
This behavior by the AMA is not unusual, nor unanticipated. What's shocking in all this is just how blindly the mainstream media swallowed the AMA's opinion on the facts of the study. According to virtually all the headlines printed in major media outlets, this study found vitamins E and C to be utterly worthless in preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke. And yet, in reality, the study proved that those women who actually took the vitamins were protected to such a high degree than almost no pharmaceutical on the market can match their success! It's true: A pharmaceutical that reduced stroke risk by 31 percent while introducing no negative side effects would be considered a medical miracle. But when it's an antioxidant in question, the AMA essentially declares it to be useless.
This particular distortion was achieved by counting the results of all the women who did NOT take the antioxidants. If you look at the total outcomes and include the women who took no antioxidants, then of course the results don't look very impressive. Click here to read our previously published article explaining this in more detail, or click here to read Byron Richards' assessment of the study which provides even more technical details.
Action item: Demand retractions from the mediaToday, NaturalNews is encouraging readers to contact major media outlets (contact information below) and demand a retraction and correction of their reporting on this particular antioxidant study. Media outlets need to check their facts before printing pro-pharma propaganda, and apparently there was little or no fact-checking conducted on this particular story. It seems as if nobody at Fox News, ABC News, Reuters, CNN and other media outlets even bothered to read the actual study beyond the abstract summary.
The mainstream media has failed the American people yet again. Rather than investigating the story and printing the truth, they have simply repeated misleading information put out by an organization with an obvious pro-pharma agenda. Some might say these media outlets know exactly what they're doing: They, too, earn billions of dollars each year from drug company advertisements. Perhaps they are just playing along with the false story, hoping to keep their advertisers happy by discrediting nutritional supplements through abuse of their power. But I tend to think that media outlets at least try to print the truth, and with this issue, I believe they were simply suckered by the AMA. They trusted the AMA to tell them the truth, and they reprinted the AMA's biased opinion with blind faith, believing the AMA would never distort an important scientific study.
But I believe they were wrong. I believe the AMA intentionally distorts such information in order to achieve its aim of discrediting nutritional supplements, thereby eliminating the competition for high-profit prescription drugs. Remember, the AMA has already been found guilty by U.S. courts of anti-trust attempts to destroy one competing system of medicine (Chiropractic medicine). It's not a stretch at all to believe they would engage in actions to try to destroy another (nutritional medicine).
All we are asking the media to do is report the truth about this particular study. We ask no more than an objective reporting of the facts published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and some degree of journalistic skepticism concerning the opinions of pro-pharma groups like the AMA.
Please do your part to contact one or more of the major media outlets listed below, and demand a retraction and correction. A sample letter is included below. You may copy and paste this letter, or modify it to make it your own. If you get a meaningful reply, email it to us, and we'll publish the most interesting ones.
Steps to take1. Contact the media outlets listed below and demand a retraction, correction or clarification on the story in question. You may use the sample letter below.
2. If you get a reply, email the reply to us at antioxidants@NaturalNews.com
Here are the stories that were published on this topic:
"Study: Antioxidants Do Not Protect High-Risk Women from Heart Disease, Death"
For FOX News Channel comments write to firstname.lastname@example.org
For FOXNews.com comments write to email@example.com
Comments Phone Number: 1-888-369-4762
"Study Examines Vitamins C, E, Beta-Carotene for Preventing Heart Attack, Stroke"
(Click on "Customer support")
"Study: Vitamins No Magic Bullet for Heart Health"
"Common vitamins no help for women's hearts: study"
To Contact a Reuter's Editor, click on this link: http://today.reuters.com/HelpAndInfo/ContactUs.aspx and fill in your comment in the form after selecting "Contact A Reuters Editor"
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Blog on CNN.com
"Antioxidants Not All They're Cracked Up To Be?"
U.S. News & World Report
"Some 'Enhanced' Products Might Not Enhance Health, Vitamins, superfoods, and more are touted to sell products. The evidence may be disheartening"
1050 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
Sample letterDear [Media name here],
Your organization recently published an incorrect article regarding a major antioxidant study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Your article implied that the study found no protective benefits for women taking antioxidants, when in fact, the study found a significant reduction in the risk of stroke (31 percent reduction) and heart attacks (22 percent reduction) for those women who actually took the antioxidants. This is even more substantial given that the antioxidants were provided in low doses and only taken every other day.
The absence of protective benefits was observed in those women who did not actually take the vitamins. (Those women who took no vitamins experienced no benefits, which is expected.) These facts are openly stated in the full text of the study, which is available from the journal's website at http://archinte.ama-assn.org/current.dtl (study name is "A Randomized Factorial Trial of Vitamins C and E and Beta Carotene in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Women: Results From the Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study")
The AMA's statement on antioxidants having no benefits in this study is based on the inclusion of all those women who did not take the antioxidants. I believe this conclusion to be biased in favor of drug company interests and wholly incorrect from a scientific point of view. I believe the article you originally published in this study may have been based on an erroneous press release issued by the AMA which, in my opinion, distorted the findings of the study and presented a biased position that happens to coincide with the financial interests of drug companies - a primary source of revenue for the AMA.
By reprinting the AMA's conclusions without fact checking your article, you have made a classic journalism error and likely played into the hands of an organization that has a long history of discrediting natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. As such, you have done a great disservice to your readers who will now be less likely to seek out these safe, natural and highly effective therapies for preventing heart disease and stroke.
I respectfully request that you retract your original story on this antioxidant study and print a correction that accurately describes the factual findings of the study. Please reply and let me know your intentions in making this correction.
[Your name here]
Next stepsWhen you receive a reply, forward it to us at antioxidants@NaturalNews.com. We will compile the most common replies, monitor the major media outlets for corrections, and bring you the results of this campaign in the days ahead.
This is an opportunity for these media outlets to define their character. Are they willing to engage in basic fact checking and actually report the truth about a major medical finding, or will they kow-tow to the AMA and simply repeat whatever biased opinion the AMA publicly announces? The essential question here is: Does the media have any interest in reporting the truth?
The response to this grassroots action campaign will tell us the answer. Either we will see corrections printed in these media outlets, or our requests will be ignored. I personally have no idea which way these organizations will go with this item, but I am deeply curious to find out.
I have no desire to publicly embarrass these media outlets. Rather, I hope to simply wake them up to the fact that intelligent readers won't put up with lazy journalism that refuses to ask fundamental questions before reporting the "facts" on significant scientific studies. The mainstream media needs to be reminded, from time to time, that readers are not going to sit back and just swallow blatant falsehoods.
Please join me in taking action now to contact these media outlets and demand a retraction of their original reporting on this antioxidant study.
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