Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Unarticle: Regarding censorship of article about Terry Polevoy

Ross Sargent has kindly permitted me to post his comments here. Please visit his excellent website - The View from Number 80.

- an ugly word for an ugly concept. In George Orwell's novel 1984 those who fell foul of a dictatorial government became erased from existence - they became, in the official language of Newspeak, an unperson. 80 has taken this idea and applied to to a modern phenomenon - the UNARTICLE. "Dr. Terry Polevoy is a self-appointed health watchdog. He investigates and challenges products, services and theories that are marketed with claims he believes to be false, unsubstantiated or even illegal." So runs the intro to an article about the work of Polevoy, an indefatigable opponent of quackery in all its forms, by Barbara Kermode-Scott, and originally published online in Medical Post (MP). Don't bother to go there to read the piece for it has mysteriously disappeared and a search of MP's site using the word Polevoy will only reward you with a link to a blank page. Kermode-Scott's item has become an unarticle. It would appear that Rogers Publishing, which publishes many "vertical trade publications and information products", including Medical Post, also does a lot of business with the sCAM (so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine) industry. In the past, because of his activities exposing the crooks, frauds and kooks that abound in alternative medicine, Ontario-based physician Polevoy has been the subject of libellous attacks and all manner of abuse in order to silence him. His stated mission as quoted in the unarticle is "I think that medicine-generic medicine-any kind of medicine-healing arts medicine-has a responsibility to be honest, to publish and to study things that work and disprove them if they don't work." Those who attack or try to silence Polevoy fall into two broad categories (although with many crossovers) - the sCAM evangelists, convinced of the rightness of their therapies, usually in the face of contradictory evidence or no evidence at all, and the sCAM profiteers, who profit from promoting questionable alternative medicine products and wish to protect their bottom line. It would seem Rogers Publishing is one of the latter, hence the disappearance, or to be more accurate, censorship, of the Polevoy article. A classic example of greed triumphing over ethics. For the background details to this sinister and worrying episode take a look here. The original article is posted here so that you may judge for yourself whether it transgresses any bounds of truth or accuracy. The interpretation of these events as an example of blatant censorship is convincing, and shows a disregard for truth that is deeply troubling - naturally, if Rogers Publishing has an alternative explanation they wish made known, 80, and other members of the Anti-Quackery Web Ring and the Skeptic Web Ring, would be happy to publicize it. Make it your New Year's resolution to let Rogers Publishing know your opinion of their behavior - contact addresses and phone numbers are here - scroll down. Don't hold your breath for an answer or explanation...........

(thanks to the Sitemaster of the excellent Quack-Files site for the heads-up on this)