Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lost Opportunity to Save Lives

The sudden death of journalist Tim Russert was a shock to everyone. He had just passed a heart stress test two weeks prior to collapsing at work. His loss is shared by family, friends and his many media colleagues and my condolences go out to those who knew him.

In reporting on his death the news media has gone into great detail about how heart disease kills 300,000 Americans every year and is still our #1 cause of death. The news stories have gone into great detail on all of the surgical options, diagnostic tests, even prescription medications on this popular topic. In other words they've covered the story from every possible angle ... but one.

I've seen stories in almost every major media and not once has there been any mention of any complementary and alternative therapy for heart disease. I expected to see at least some mention of the Ornish Program which is the only medically-proven treatment to reverse heart disease. Or perhaps Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School or some other proven CAM therapy. Instead all of the media chose to stick to their AMA-approved script. I'm sure all of the drug companies cheered all the reporting on their wonderful medications, they consider it free advertising.

This is just the latest example of how shallow journalism has become. It's sad and ironic that a journalist who always wanted to get behind the photo-op and underneath the press release became the latest example of the surface reporting that passes for journalism today in our country. Tim Russert, of all people, would've scolded his colleagues to do their job and get the WHOLE story, not just the sound bite.

The result of this media failure is another lost opportunity to help hundreds of thousands of people find better health with complementary and alternative medicine.

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