Basically reporting all the “news” from our dysfunctional “system.”
And that adds up to a steady stream of “confusion over clarity” every single day. On July 10, 2012, an article in Sci-Tech Today caught my attention. Heart Disease in Men Can Be Fought Head-On (See link below). The article was written by Nanci Hellmich, who also writes frequently for USA Today.
My immediate thought was hopeful—thinking that maybe the mainstream media is actually beginning to tell us the truth about reversing heart disease. NOT. The article led off with this worthless, lame advice from a cardiologist who would be out of business if everyone got healthy:
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men (and women) in the USA, so it’s no wonder that cardiologist Gordon Tomaselli dispenses direct, no-nonsense advice: “Get up and move more, don’t smoke, make sure you control your blood pressure and cholesterol, and don’t ignore symptoms of heart disease, particularly if you have a family history.”
No-nonsense advice? What about diet? Mentioned in one sentence, but not explained. Not in the first paragraph—not ANYWHERE in the article. Does our media not watch television? Have they not seen “The Last Heart Attack?” Do they not know how President Clinton reversed his heart disease by following the dietary advice of Campbell, Esselstyn and Ornish? Do they not know about how Dr. Esselstyn reversed heart disease in 95% of his patients at the Cleveland Clinic by changing ONLY their diet?
So who is Nanci Hellmich and why does she not even mention the overwhelming importance of food in an article that’s supposed to help men learn how to fight heart disease? What is it with the mainstream media in America? It’s almost like they’re being paid by the countless pieces of our “system” whose livelihood depend on us being sick.
From her LinkedIn page, I found that Ms. Hellmich is a Nutrition and Fitness Reporter for USA Today and that she’s been widely recognized for her excellence in reporting—for the last 25 years.
Two media excellence awards from the American Dietetic Association (1987, 1993), an award for excellence in reporting on obesity as a chronic disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000), the nutrition science journalist award from the American Society for Nutrition (2006) and the Atkinson-Stern Award (2008) from the Obesity Society
After reading her heart disease article and reading about all her awards for excellence, I decided to take a look at some of Nanci’s other work. That didn’t take long as I immediately found her article entitled “Americans need to try harder to eat fruits, vegetables” in USA Today (also on July 10, 2012, see link below).
Try harder to eat fruits and vegetables? It only took one or two paragraphs to realize that Nanci is nothing but a parrot for the USDA guidelines and our entire dysfunctional “system” of health care (disease management). “Confusion over clarity” reigns supreme in her work without ever offering any true health-promoting information. The USA Today article led off:
No one said eating enough fruits and vegetables was going to be a piece of cake — even if you’re giving it your best shot.
The majority of Americans say they’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables over the past year, according to a poll of 1,057 adults for the International Food Information Council Foundation.
But most people are consuming less than half of what the government recommends.
What the government recommends? The media is not telling the general public EXACTLY what they need to do to take charge of their health. They generally preach the USDA “balanced diet” food pyramid—which has been solidly in place during the recent explosion of obesity and type 2 diabetes in this country. Are there any journalists out there who are consistently reporting the powerful truth about nutrition?
Sanjay Gupta of CNN has done some powerful work in the past few years and I truly believe that he really “gets it.” His Last Heart Attack documentary that aired around the time of Hurricane Irene last August was perhaps the very best piece of work—ever—from the mainstream media.
Given all that’s on the line in terms of our health, the cost of health care and the host of environmental and social issues driven by our toxic western diet, it would be great to see Sanjay start doing this kind of work on a full-time basis.
As for writers, I believe that Mark Bittman of the New York Times is the best that we have right now. As I reported yesterday in my blog, he recently announced to the world that he has given up dairy products—as a test. And so far, he likes what he sees. I am confident that he will continue to enjoy the benefits of plant-based eating and that he will eventually begin delivering the consistent clarity that the world so desperately needs. Of course, you remember what happened to Oprah when she announced on her show that she would “never have another burger?” She got sued by the meat producers.
Another great reporter is Jane Brody, also with the New York Times. She was the one that coined the term “Grand prix of epidemiology” (5-8-90) to describe Dr. Campbell’s work in China–fifteen years before The China Study was published in 2005. But like Mark Bittman, even though she occasionally reports powerful, health-promoting truth; often she flip-flops more than Mitt Romney when she writes a pro-dairy article.
The Bottom Line. Our media is failing us. Maybe it’s the way whole industry is structured. Maybe a hard-hitting reporter of truth can’t make it in the big leagues of journalism in the land of the free anymore. But thank God for the blogosphere where we can easily find the life-saving information that we need—every day. And we don’t have to deal with the “confusion over clarity” that prevails in the mainstream. Here, we can boil the whole discussion down to two words: Whole Plants. Presto! Take charge of your health—save the planet!
Just in case you want to read more from Nanci Hellmich:
- Nanci Hellmich in Sci-Tech. Heart Disease in Men Can Be Fought Head-On
- Nanci Hellmich in USA Today. Americans need to try harder to eat fruits, vegetables
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation