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Researchers Find U.S. Media Keeps People Uneducated About Health Issues

January 10, 2009 | 27,087 views
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media"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.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Once in a rare while, a story comes across the news that is full of actual useful information. Like when Ron Paul made it to the front page of the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times ran a story titled Sunshine May be Nature’s Disease Fighter.

When this happens, I’m delighted, but from my review of the news, this is by far the exception rather than the rule.

For the most part, the media spreads a lot of misinformation and corporate propaganda. This is not at all surprising considering that Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, Viacom (formerly CBS) and General Electric's NBC are the top owners of the entire media industry, which includes everything you read and hear in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies.

In the last 15 years alone, your sources for news have shrunk drastically. Whereas in 1983, 50 corporations ruled the U.S. news media, by 2004 this number decreased to a minuscule six corporations!

As you might imagine, with just six corporations deciding what’s worthy of news and what’s not, you end up with sensationalized tragedies, celebrity features, and anything else that will capture people’s attention.

There is virtually no competition in the media market today whatsoever, and this spells disaster for all types of news, including health information. These mega-companies wield incredible power when it comes to slamming the natural health industry and boosting their friends and allies, the drug companies.

You may be surprised to learn that even some broadcast journalists, including Aaron Brown of CNN and Walter Cronkite, have been hired to host videos that resemble news programs but are actually paid for by drug manufacturers and other health care companies.

The bottom line is, you simply cannot rely on a news station, newspaper or any other media outlet to provide you with unbiased, reliable information. The fact remains that if you want to know the truth, whether about health or any other topic, you have to do more than a little bit of digging -- and even then take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt.

Is the Tide Turning?

The good news is that a survey in 2008 found that Americans are wising up to the pitfalls of the mainstream media. Close to 70 percent said they believe traditional journalism is out of touch and nearly half are instead turning to the Internet to get their news.

The Internet and technology have seriously leveled the playing field when it comes to having access to reliable, unbiased information, and is one of the primary reasons why I remain highly confident that we are making more than a dent in the media process.

I am proud to be one of the top-ranked independent voices in the vastness of corporate monopoly, offering objective information to empower you with alternative choices that can radically improve your health, open your eyes to the truth, and keep you and your family safely out of the mainstream media madness.

I urge you to take advantage of the information in not only this newsletter but also from the many other independent voices that have sprung up across the Internet, and use it to form your own opinions.

Question everything, including information state. Confirm everything, but be sure you aren’t using sources that are highly conflicted or seriously confused about basic truths.

And remember this important piece of wisdom:

All truth goes through three phases.
  1. First, it is ridiculed.
  2. Second, it is violently opposed.
  3. Third, it is accepted as being self evident.
Keep these in mind as you plow through the mainstream media, and you’ll likely learn a whole lot more than most people ever do!

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