When you’re need answers to an important health concern, what sources do you consult? Do you seek published content from mainstream media outlets like CNN, government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, or popular spokespersons such as Dr. Oz? If so, do you simply accept their statements without conducting further research and investigation?
On a per capita basis, Americans spend more for health care than any other nation, bar none. Yet, when compared to the rest of the world, the United States ranks 37th in terms of its health care system.
WHY AREN’T AMERICANS HEALTHIER?
There was a time in the distant past when millions of Americans lived on farms or rural communities and were not threatened or fined when they attempted to grow and sell their own food. Their fertilizers originated from organic materials, rather than petrochemicals. Their crops were sourced from seeds which had not been patented and genetically altered in laboratories. Microwave ovens didn’t exist and American families shared their meal preparation and preservation methods with their children and grandchildren. Packaged products were in limited supply in grocery stores and fast food restaurants had not yet been invented and popularized.
My sense is that the power and reach of the mass media has had a major influence on the health practices and beliefs of many Americans today. During the Roaring Twenties and continuing through the Great Depression, corporations took advantage of the opportunity to run their product ads on popular radio shows. After World War II, these corporate interests were able to use television advertising as a promotional tool. During the mid-1990s and continuing to today, they’ve added Internet advertising to the mix.
In the entire world, only New Zealand and the United States allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines on mass media outlets such as television. If prescribed medications were the answer to America’s health challenges, shouldn’t their use and media promotion correspond to a lofty health care ranking?
WHO OWNS THE MEDIA IN AMERICA?
Several famous anti-trust cases have been decided in the United States courts over the past century: Standard Oil, AT&T, and Microsoft immediately come to mind. While their interlocking businesses don’t fit the legal definition of a monopoly, the fact that a mere half dozen mega-corporations (General Electric, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, TimeWarner, CBS) own 90% of the media in America should serve as a wake-up call.
Because the number of mainstream news outlets is extremely limited, I believe it’s in everyone’s interest to take the time to seek out other information sources to obtain a more balanced viewpoint. Health-related websites that I log onto regularly include:
Green Med Info – http://www.greenmedinfo.com/
Natural Society – http://naturalsociety.com/
Natural Blaze – http://www.naturalblaze.com/
Prevent Disease – http://preventdisease.com/
CureZone – http://curezone.org/
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