Researchers Find U.S. Media Keeps People Uneducated About Health Issues
January 10, 2009
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"Blaming the media" is a catchphrase that is used in almost cliché-level proportions. But when it comes to health care, a new study indicates it may be appropriate to fault media coverage for a lack of public knowledge about health care policy.
According to a new report, "News about health occupies a relatively small amount of American news coverage across all platforms: 3.6 percent of news during 2007 and the first half of 2008."
In a list of most frequently covered topics, health came in eighth -- far above religion, education and celebrities, but below the economy, crime, foreign affairs and politics.
These results, while hardly thrilling, don't seem abysmal at first. Health gets more coverage than celebrities, after all, which seems like a victory in our current climate. But compounding the small amount of attention devoted to health, the breakdown within existing health coverage shows a tendency to focus on controversial or sensational aspects of health issues, leaving vital policy information behind.
Within the small percentage of health news, outlets focused 41.7 percent on specific diseases, 30.9 percent of public health issues, and 24.7 percent on actual health policy. This means that health policy news made up less than 1 percent of media coverage during the study’s time period.
What Are GMOs?
From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.
GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
Help Support GMO Labeling
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.
Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.
The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve
Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.
Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.