(Natural News) Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to ignore and in some cases undermine the benefits of alternative and integrative medicine. Media outlets like CNN, Fast Company and Popular Science have even gone so far as to parade a study in which health “experts” deemed healthy eating habits a mental disorder. In other words, according to the mainstream press, if you do not care for low-quality processed foods with cancer-causing additives, you just might have an eating disorder.
The media hierarchy
Ignorance only goes so far with respect to the mainstream media’s coverage of health, nutrition and science in general. According to MIT professor Noam Chomsky, there are three sectors to the media whose practices expose their agenda. These include the entertainment industry, the mass media and the elite media.
Entertainment is fairly straight-forward. It consists of gossip about the meanderings of Hollywood Boulevard and promoting the latest television, movie and music stars. Their target audience is the masses in general.
The mass media essentially try to distract people from what matters. Their job isn’t too much different from the entertainment industry in this respect. The mass media report on anything and everything so long as it isn’t important, including the latest sex and sports scandals. They motivate the public just enough to vote (thereby lending a semblance of legitimacy to the U.S. government) but not enough to do anything that effects real political change.
The elite media set the agenda for other media outlets. They consist of news outlets like The New York Times and CBS and are owned by much bigger corporations like General Electric and Westinghouse. Their target audience is privileged people that actually participate in the political system, like political mangers, business men, university professors and journalists.
According to Chomsky, “Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience; if you don’t do that, you are a troublemaker. So, it is kind of a filtering device which ends up with people who really honestly (they aren’t lying) internalize the framework of belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society.”
Since the elite media is a major power, they tend to report on and only interact with other centers of power, including major universities. For every story, reporters are supposed to go and consult an “expert” down at the university. But universities aren’t independent institutions. They are fed and manipulated by outside sources, including grants from the government and corporations, which often determine what the results of a study will be before it is conducted.
Government and corporation funding and corruption
This is perhaps no more true than with respect to the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies and their public relations consultants have media strategies that are tuned to highlight the alleged benefits of a product instead of provide sound health information to the public. Consequently, mainstream health stories often lack the majority of relevant information. Complex research data tend to be overlooked or misinterpreted.
Ben Goldacre, author of the book Bad Science notes: “Patients are so much more easily led than doctors by drug company advertising that the budget for direct-to-consumer advertising in America has risen twice as fast as the budget for addressing doctors directly. These adverts have been closely studied by medical academic researchers, and have been repeatedly shown to increase patients’ requests for the advertised drugs, as well as doctors’ prescriptions for them. … This is why drug companies are keen to sponsor patient groups, or to exploit the media for their campaigns.”
When seen from this perspective, it should come as no surprise that the media largely ignores the work of citizen scientists. In many cases, reporters and scholars cast citizen scientists to the lunatic fringe because they do not fall within their particular milieu. In actuality, the work of citizen scientists has helped classify galaxies, detect signs of disease and set heavy metal standards for various food products – the latter of which should have been conducted by the FDA.
In summary, the work of citizen science is ignored – not because it lacks merit – but because the mainstream media is mandated to only consider the work of those shackled to the towers of academia, which is corrupted by grants and government funding. Fortunately, science is universal. Anyone with the scientific know-how and means has the ability to contribute to the scientific enterprise.