In the Parents` Best Interests
by Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham
Tom Cruise – “the world’s most powerful celebrity” according to Forbes
Magazine – was unceremoniously sacked in 2006. His dismissal was
particularly shocking for the fact that it was carried out not by his
immediate employer, Paramount Studios, but rather by Paramount’s parent
company, Viacom. Viacom’s notoriously irascible CEO Sumner Redstone –
who owns a long list of media companies including CBS, Nickelodeon,
MTV, and VH1 – said that Cruise had committed “creative suicide”
following a spate of manic public activity. It was a sacking worthy of
an episode of The Apprentice.[i]
The Cruise case points to the overlooked notion that the internal mechanisms of Hollywood are not determined entirely by audience desires, as one might expect, nor are they geared to respond solely to the decisions of studio creatives, or even those of the studio heads themselves. In 2000, The Hollywood Reporter released a top 100 list of the most powerful figures in the industry over the past 70 years. Rupert Murdoch, chief of News Corporation, which owns Twentieth Century Fox, was the most powerful living figure. With the exception of director Steven Spielberg (no. 3), no artists appeared in the top 10.
Each of the dominant Hollywood studios (“the majors”) is now a subsidiary of a much larger corporation, and therefore is not so much a separate or independent business, but rather just one of a great many sources of revenue in its parent company’s wider financial empire. The majors and their parents are: Twentieth Century Fox (News Corp), Paramount Pictures (Viacom), Universal (General Electric/Vivendi), Disney (The Walt Disney Company), Columbia TriStar (Sony), and Warner Brothers (Time Warner). These parent companies are amongst the largest and most powerful in the world, typically run by lawyers and investment bankers.[ii] Their economic interests are also sometimes closely tied to politicised areas such as the armaments industry, and they are frequently inclined to cozy-up to the government of the day because it decides on financial regulation.
As Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Professor Ben Bagdikian puts it, whereas once the men and women who owned the media could fit in a “modest hotel ballroom,” the same owners (all male) could now fit into a “generous phone booth.” He could have added that, whilst a phone box may not exactly be the chosen venue for the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone, these individuals do indeed meet at plush venues such as Idaho’s Sun Valley to identify and forge their collective interests.
Of course, the content of a studio’s films is not, as a rule, determined entirely by the political and economic interests of its parent company. Studio CEOs typically have considerable leeway to make the pictures they want to make without direct interference from their ultimate masters. At the very least, however, the content of Hollywood studios broadly reflects their wider corporate interests, and, at times, the parent companies behind the studios take a conscious and deliberate interest in certain movies. There is a battle between “top down” and “bottom up” forces, but mainstream media and academia have traditionally focused on the latter, rather than the former.
Consider last year’s blockbuster Australia, the epic from Baz Luhrmann. Two of the film’s most salient aspects were that, firstly, it glossed-over the history of Aboriginal people, and, secondly, it made Australia look like a fantastic place to go on holiday. This should come as no surprise – Twentieth Century Fox’s parent company (Rupert Murdoch's News Corp) – worked hand-in-hand with the Australian government throughout the film’s production for mutual interests. The government benefited from Luhrmann’s huge tourist campaign, which included not just the feature film itself but also a series of extravagant tie-in advertisements (all in apparent support of its ham-fisted Aborigine “reconciliation” programme). In turn, the government gave its favourite son tens of millions of dollars in tax rebates. The West Australian newspaper even alleged that Murdoch had his "journalistic foot soldiers" ensure that every aspect of his media empire awarded Australia glowing reviews, an assessment nicely illustrated by The Sun, which enjoyed the “rare piece of good old fashioned entertainment" so much that its reviewer was "tempted to nip down to the travel agent."
There are historical precedents for such interference. In 1969 Haskell Wexler –cinematographer on One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – had considerable trouble releasing his classic Medium Cool, which riffed on the anti-war protests at the Democrat Convention the previous year. Wexler claims he has Freedom of Information documents revealing that on the eve of the film’s release, Chicago’s Mayor Richard J. Daley and high sources in the Democratic Party let it be known to Gulf and Western (then the parent company of Paramount) that if Medium Cool was released, certain tax benefits and other perks in Gulf and Western’s favor wouldn’t happen. “A stiff prick has no conscience,” Wexler told us angrily, referring to Hollywood’s business leaders, “and they have no conscience.”
Wexler explained how this corporate plot was enacted so as to minimize attention: “Paramount called me and said I needed releases from all the [protestors] in the park, which was impossible to provide. They said if people went to see that movie and left the theatre and did a violent act, then the offices of Paramount could be prosecuted.” Although Paramount was obliged to release the film they successfully pushed for an X rating, advertised it feebly, and forbade Wexler from taking it to film festivals. Hardly the way to make a profit on a movie, but certainly an effective way to protect the broader interests of the parent.
Then there’s the more famous case of Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), the Michael Moore blockbuster which the Walt Disney Company tried to scupper despite it “testing through the roof” with sample audiences. Disney’s subsidiary Miramax insisted that its parent had no right to block it from releasing the film since its budget was well below the level requiring Disney’s approval. Disney representatives retorted that they could veto any Miramax film if it appeared that its distribution would be counterproductive to their interests. Moore’s agent Ari Emanuel alleged that Disney’s boss Michael Eisner had told him he wanted to back out of the deal due to concerns about political fallout from conservative politicians, especially regarding tax breaks given to Disney properties in Florida like Walt Disney World (where the governor was the then US President’s brother, Jeb Bush). Disney also had ties to the Saudi Royal family, which was unfavourably represented in the film: a powerful member of the family, Al-Walid bin Talal, owns a major stake in Eurodisney and had been instrumental in bailing out the financially troubled amusement park. Disney denied any such high political ball game, explaining they were worried about being "dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," which it said would alienate customers.
Disney has consistently spread pro-establishment messages in its films, particularly under subsidiary banners such as Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone Pictures (although Oliver Stone’s 1995 Nixon biopic is a notable exception). Several received generous assistance from the US government: the Pentagon-backed In the Army Now (1994), Crimson Tide (1995), and Armageddon (1998), as well as the CIA-vetted Bad Company (2002) and The Recruit (2003). In 2006, Disney released the TV movie The Path to 9/11, which was heavily skewed to exonerate the Bush administration and blame the Clinton administration for the terrorist attacks, provoking outraged letters of complaint from former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
The nature of Disney’s output makes sense when we consider the interests of the higher echelons of the corporation. Historically, Disney has had close ties with the US defense department, and Walt himself was a virulent anti-communist (though reports about him being a secret FBI informant or even a fascist are rather more speculative). In the 1950s, corporate and government sponsors helped Disney make films promoting President Eisenhower's “Atoms for Peace” policy as well as the infamous Duck and Cover documentary that suggested to schoolchildren that they could survive an atomic attack by hiding under their desks. Even now, a longtime Directors Board member of Disney is John E. Bryson who is also a director of The Boeing Company, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defence contractors. Boeing received $16.6bn in Pentagon contracts in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan[iii]. This would have been no small incentive for Disney to avoid commissioning films critical of Bush’s foreign policy, such as Fahrenheit 9/11.
It is hardly surprising that when Disney released Pearl Harbor (2001) – a simplistic mega-budget movie made with full cooperation from the Pentagon, and which celebrated the American nationalist resurgence following that “day of infamy”– it was widely received with cynicism. Yet, despite lamentable reviews, Disney unexpectedly decided in August 2001 to extend the film’s nationwide release window from the standard two-to-four months to a staggering seven months, meaning that this ‘summer’ blockbuster would now be screening until December. In addition, Disney expanded the number of theatres in which the film was showing, from 116 to 1,036. For the corporations due to profit from the aftermath of 9/11, Pearl Harbor provided grimly convenient mood music.
But whilst movies like Australia and Pearl Harbor receive preferential treatment, challenging and incendiary films are frequently cast into the cinematic memory hole. Oliver Stone’s Salvador (1986) was a graphic expose of the Salvadorian civil war; its narrative was broadly sympathetic towards the left wing peasant revolutionaries and explicitly critical of U.S. foreign policy, condemning the United States’ support of Salvador’s right wing military and infamous death squads. Stone’s film was turned down by every major Hollywood studio – with one describing it as a “hateful piece of work” – though it received excellent reviews from many critics. The film was eventually financed by British and Mexican investors and achieved limited distribution. More recently controversial documentaries such as Loose Change (2006/2007), which argued that 9/11 was an "inside job," and Zeitgeist (2007), which presents a frightening picture of global economics, have been viewed by millions through the Internet when corporate media wouldn't touch them.[iv]
Universal studios’ contemporary output has been less rigidly supportive of US power, as films like Children of Men (2006), Jarhead (2005), and The Good Shepherd (2006) indicate. Still, with movies like U-571 (2000) and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), it makes sense that Universal’s parent company is General Electric, whose most lucrative interests relate to weapons manufacturing and producing crucial components for high-tech war planes, advanced surveillance technology, and essential hardware for the global oil and gas industries, notably in post Saddam Iraq. GE’s board of directors has strong ties to large liberal organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Whilst ‘liberal’ may sound like a positive term after the unpopularity of Bush’s brand of conservatism, liberal organizations are cemented firmly in the bedrock of US elites and have frequently been architects of American interventionist foreign policy, including against Vietnam. They are prepared to ally themselves with conservatives over certain issues, particularly national security, so it should come as no shock to find that GE was close to the Bush Administration through both its former and current CEOs. Jack Welch (CEO from 1981-2001) openly declares disdain for “protocol, diplomacy and regulators” and was even accused by California Congressman Henry Waxman of pressuring his NBC network to declare Bush the winner prematurely in the 2000 “stolen election” when he turned up unannounced in the newsroom during the poll count. Welch’s successor, the current GE CEO Jeff Immelt, is a neoconservative and was a generous financial contributor to the Bush re-election campaign.
Perhaps GE/Universal’s most eyebrow-raising release was United 93 (2006), billed as the “true account” of how heroic passengers on 9/11 “foiled the terrorist plot” by forcing the plane to crash prematurely in rural Pennsylvania. Although the film made a return on its relatively low investment, it was greeted with a good deal of public apathy and hostility prior to its nation-wide release. At the time, Bush’s official 9/11 story was being seriously interrogated by America’s independent news media: according to the results of a 2004 Zogby poll, half of New Yorkers believed “US leaders had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and ‘consciously failed’ to act,” and, just one month prior to the release of United 93, 83% of CNN viewers recorded their belief “that the US government covered up the real events of the 9/11 attacks.” With the official narrative under heavy fire, the Bush Administration welcomed the release of United 93 with open arms: the film was a faithful audio-visual translation of the 9/11 Commission Report, with “special thanks” to the Pentagon’s Hollywood liaison Phil Strub tucked away discreetly in the end credits. Soon after the film’s nationwide release date, in what might be interpreted as a cynical PR move and as gesture of official approval, President Bush sat down with some of the victims’ family members for a private screening at the White House. [v]
GE/Universal’s Munich (2005) – Steven Spielberg’s exploration of Israeli vengeance following the Palestinian terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics – raises similar suspicions. Although the Zionist Organisation of American called for a boycott of the film because they felt it equated Israel with terrorists, such a reading is less than convincing. Indeed, by the time Munich’s credits begin to roll its overriding messages have been stamped indelibly into the brain by the film’s Israeli Special Forces characters: “Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values,” “We kill for our future, we kill for peace,” and “Don't f*ck with the Jews.” Predictably, Israel is one of GE’s most loyal customers, buying Hellfire II laser missiles as well as propulsion systems for the F-16 Falcon fighter, the F-4 Phantom fighter, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. In Munich’s 167 minute running time the voice of the Palestinian cause is restricted to two and a half minutes of simplistic dialogue. Rather than being an “evenhanded cry for peace,” as the Los Angeles Times hailed it, General Electric’s Munich is more easily interpreted as a subtle corporate endorsement of the policies of a loyal customer.
On the most liberal end of the spectrum for movies in recent years has been Warner Bros. – JFK (1991), The Iron Giant (1999), South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999), Good Night and Good Luck (2005), V for Vendetta (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Rendition (2007), and In the Valley of Elah (2007). It is indicative that following complaints about racial stereotyping in Warner Bros.’ Pentagon-sponsored action adventure, Executive Decision (1996), the studio took the unusual step of hiring the services of Jack Shaheen, an on-set adviser on racial politics, resulting in what was critically received as one of the best films of its genre in a generation, Three Kings (1999).[vi] It may be no coincidence that Warner Brothers’ parent company, Time Warner, is less intimately tied to the arms industry or the neoconservative clique.
But to have an idea of what happens to movies when you remove multinational interests from the industry, consider the independent distributor Lions Gate Films, which is still very much a part of the capitalist system (formed in Canada by an investment banker) but not beholden to a multibillion dollar parent corporation with multifarious interests. Although Lions Gate has generated a good deal of politically vague and blood ‘n’ guts products, it has also been behind some of the most daring and original popular political cinema of the past ten years, criticizing corporatism in American Psycho (2000), US foreign policy in Hotel Rwanda (2004), the arms trade in Lord of War (2005), the U.S. healthcare system in Michael Moore’s Sicko (2007), and the U.S. establishment in general in The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006).
It hardly needs re-stating that Hollywood is driven by the desire for dollars rather than artistic integrity. As such, cinema is open to product placement in a variety of forms, from toys, to cars, to cigarettes, and even state-of-the art weaponry (hence the “special thanks” to Boeing in the credits of Iron Man (2008)). Less obvious though – and less well investigated – is how the interests of the studios’ parent companies themselves impact on cinema – at both systemic and individual levels. We hope to see critical attention shifted onto the ultimate producers of these films to help explain their deradicalised content, and ultimately to assist audiences in making informed decisions about what they consume. As we peer up from our popcorn it is as well to remember that behind the magic of the movies are the wizards of corporate PR.
Matthew Alford is author of the forthcoming book “Projecting Power: American Foreign Policy and the Hollywood Propaganda System.” Robbie Graham is Associate Lecturer in Film at Stafford College. References available on request.
[i] Most memorably, Cruise declared his love for Katie Holmes whilst bouncing up and down on Oprah (the chat show, not the woman).
[ii] The 2008 Fortune Global 500 list placed General Electric at no. 12 with revenue of $176bn. Sony was at 75, Time Warner at no. 150, The Walt Disney Company at no. 207, and News Corp at no. 280. By way of comparison, Coca Cola is at no. 403.
[iii] Interestingly, Disney’s CEO Michael Eisner was personally involved when it pulled Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect show after the host committed the cardinal sin of saying that the US use of cruise missiles was more cowardly than the 9/11 attacks, with Eisner “summoning Maher into his office for a hiding” according to Mark Crispin Miller in the Nation.
[iv] A less convincing but nevertheless intriguing case can be made for high political/economic influence over the distribution of John Carpenter's satirical sci-fi They Live (1988), which depicted the world as being run by an invading force of evil space aliens, allied with the US establishment. The film was well received by critics (with the notable exceptions of the NYT and Washington Post) and opened at number one in the box office. It easily made its $4m investment back over the weekend, and although by the second weekend it had dropped to fourth place, it still made $2.7m. The distributing studio, Universal Pictures, published an advertisement during its run that showed a skeletal alien standing behind a podium in suit and tie, with a mop of hair similar to that of Dan Quayle, the new US Vice-President-elect. The Presidential election had been just a few days previous, on November 8th. Co-star Keith David observed: “Not that anybody’s being paranoid but… suddenly you couldn’t see it [They Live] anywhere – it was, like, snatched”.
[v] We stated elsewhere that representatives from Universal attended the screening. This was erroneous.
[vi] Shaheen also later assisted on Warner Bros.’ Syriana (2005).
Paul Joseph Watson
New Hampshire state representative Dan Itse, who is one of many lawmakers leading the charge to assert state sovereignty against federal encroachment, has warned that the Obama administration seeks to institute “involuntary servitude”.
Appearing on Fox News to discuss the states’ rights movement, Itse told hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, “This is about drawing a line in the sand and saying we’ve tolerated usurpations for so long but we’re not going to tolerate you violating the constitution, we’re going to hold you accountable.”
Asked if his warning about involuntary servitude under Obama meant young people being forced to attend community service, Itse responded, “Exactly, I mean, if you are required to do a job against your will with a pay scale not set by you or not agreed to by you, that’s involuntary servitude.”
Despite denials that Obama plans to institute a mandatory program of national service, his original change.gov website stated that Americans would be “required” to complete “50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year”. The text was only later changed to state that Americans would be “encouraged” to undertake such programs.
In addition, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, publicly stated his intention to help create “universal civil defense training” in 2006. Such fears were also stoked when Obama himself said that a “national civilian security force,” that is “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military was required.
Itse cited the No Child Left Behind program as an example of the federal government encroaching on states’ rights.
“They dangle a dollar in front of us and we chase it like the donkey with a carrot on a stick but ultimately they are infringing upon our domestic policies in the states, manipulating our domestic policies and we need to stand up and say that’s not your job, that’s our job,” said Itse, adding that if enough states stood up to Washington then they would have to pay attention.
In response to increasing federal encroachment, a growing number of states have passed and proposed resolutions to assert the Tenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California, and Georgia have all introduced bills and resolutions declaring sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada, Maine, and Illinois are considering such measures.
“This is about enforcing the constitution which states to the government, you’re not the boss of us, we’re the boss of you,” concluded the lawmaker.
Watch the clip courtesy of Raw Story below.
Abilify, for example, is heavily advertised for depression, and Risperdal is often prescribed to children with autism and other behavioral problems. Giving Risperdal to children is especially troubling, because Risperdal may be even worse than Haldol in causing movement disorders like akathisia, dyskinesia and parkinsonism.
1) Dr. Bonkers, you have this online gallery at the Bonkers Institute which lampoons the current "state" of psychiatry. What is your latest addition?
The Institute's "Marvelous Mental Medicine Show" is an online museum where visitors may stroll through the galleries, viewing outlandish examples of psychiatric drug advertising.Some of the exhibits, such as Bayer Heroin and Eli Lilly Cannabis, are dated from the 19th century, while others feature more familiar products like Ritalin from the 1950s.
This month we opened our newest gallery, "A-typical Scam," highlighting atypical antipsychotics, so-called "new generation" drugs with brand names like Abilify, Risperdal and Zyprexa.Everything in "A-typical Scam" is from the modern era, and some of the ads are less than a year old.
2) It seems that these "atypical" antipsychotic medications are no more useful than the old standbys of 20 or 30 years ago... in fact the research seems to indicate they have MORE side effects and are even MORE dangerous to patients. What is going on?
When atypical antipsychotics were first introduced in the 1990s, they were widely claimed to be far superior to older drugs, and less likely to cause movement disorders like tardive dyskinesia and dystonia.In fact the manufacturers relied on rigged clinical trials lasting only a few weeks, biased studies, and other unethical practices to deceive doctors and the public.
Now after more than a decade on the market, and after earning billions of dollars in profits, the truth is finally being told that by almost every standard the new drugs are no improvement over the old.In some ways, such as their tendency to cause weight gain and diabetes, the new drugs are actually much worse.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the old drugs and the new is their price.Because their patents haven't yet expired, the new drugs cost 20 or 30 times more.That's the real reason the atypicals have been promoted so heavily.They're not any better clinically, they're just a lot more profitable commercially.
3) It seems that marketing and promotion are helping the drug companies to push these "a-typical" medications. Is the current state of advertising overcoming good common sense?
The current state of medical advertising, and modern medicine in general, has nothing to do with healing and everything to do with business.It's a colossal money-making industry.But a system based on maximizing quarterly corporate profits may not be the best way to promote the health and well-being of our citizenry.
Modern-day pharmaceutical advertising is harmful in two distinct ways.
First, ordinary citizens are bombarded with advertisements promoting the view that any conceivable discomfort or imperfection is a medical condition, disease or disorder requiring drug treatment, and they're exhorted to "ask your doctor if the purple pill is right for you."
Second, beginning the moment they enter medical school and continuing non-stop after that, doctors are bombarded with an onslaught of pharmaceutical industry propaganda and insidious forms of industry pressure that strongly shape the way medicine is practiced.This two-pronged strategy aimed at consumers on one hand and medical providers on the other has reaped enormous benefits for drug manufacturers but untold harm for everyone else.
4) What are some of the medications out there that give you concern?
I'm concerned about the widespread over-prescribing of all psychiatric drugs, including stimulants like Daytrana and Adderall given to children diagnosed with ADHD... antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft given to young mothers diagnosed with postpartum depression...tranquilizers like Klonopin and Xanax given to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress... and the list goes on.
Increasingly, these drugs are prescribed in combination with one another, mixed-and-matched in "drug cocktails" with unpredictable consequences for patients.
Antipsychotics (whether an old standby like Haldol or a new bestseller like Zyprexa) belong to the most potent class of psychotropic medications, yet many doctors think nothing of prescribing them to almost any patient for almost any reason.
Abilify, for example, is heavily advertised for depression, and Risperdal is often prescribed to children with autism and other behavioral problems. Giving Risperdal to children is especially troubling, because Risperdal may be even worse than Haldol in causing movement disorders like akathisia, dyskinesia and parkinsonism.
5) Has anyone ever found a germ, virus, bacteria, or any other infection that could be causing psychosis, bi-polar or schizophrenia?
No, I think it's safe to say mental illness is not a contagious disease like influenza or chicken pox, and I'll add there's no evidence of genes causing any mental illness either.Nowadays, mental illness is commonly believed to be an organic, physical, biological and/or genetic ailment, but I believe these so-called mental disorders are nothing more than pseudo-scientific labels attached to unwanted behavior and unpleasant emotions.Simply calling something a disease doesn't make it a disease!
For example, obesity was once understood to be a condition resulting from any variety of factors, but today obesity itself is considered a disease. Consider this: if your only exercise is walking from the sofa to the refrigerator, and you consume 5,000 calories per day without gaining any weight, then maybe you have some kind of disease -- but if you DO gain weight, would that be a surprise? Where's the disease here? It's the same with mental disorders. Recently I heard a news report about the high number of prison inmates who suffer from depression. So, when individuals are deprived of their liberty they feel depressed -- is this a surprise to anyone?Yes indeed, there may really be an epidemic of mental illness: our society has gone crazy!
6) What is the current state of the art of psychiatric drug advertising?
In one sense, I don't think the advertising has changed much from a hundred years ago, except that now it's more sophisticated technically.On the other hand, I think the extent to which drug promotion has infiltrated every level of medical science, academic research, and even government regulation, has surpassed anything ever seen before.Also, any distinction between drug promotion and disease promotion has now virtually disappeared.
7) I have seen a lot of advertising for ADD medications. In these ads, the kids all seem to be studying, and enjoying their homework. Is this all glitter and gloss or bells and whistles?
Ads for ADHD drugs are aimed not at the patient, but at the patient's parents, because ultimately it's the parents who decide to put their kids on drugs.So I guess it's natural for ad agencies to use idealized images of happy, well-adjusted children.They're selling an idealized image that every parent hopes for their child.This is no different than the images of perfect, flawless models seen in all pharmaceutical advertising.In the ads promoting Abilify for depression, we see good-looking, energetic, and successful adults -- none of whom exhibit the typical side effects associated with antipsychotics like Abilify: tremors, weight gain, lethargy, etc.
8) I looked at the Geodon advertisement and was astounded at the number of side effects. They are all listed quite clearly. Yet, some doctors use these pills in spite of all these possible side effects. Do they not read these adverts clearly?
While the claims of safety and efficacy are splashed in bright bold headlines, the side effects are listed in tiny print, so in a patently obvious way the side effects are minimized.I don't know how else to explain why so many doctors seem so unconcerned about possible adverse reactions.Don't forget that advertising is only one way the drugs are promoted to doctors.There are daily visits from drug reps, industry-sponsored continuing medical education courses, industry booths at medical conventions, industry-funded medical seminars and symposiums, etc.
By the way, symposium is a Greek word meaning "drinking party."All this may explain why so many doctors have become such enthusiastic pill pushers, dispensing prescription drugs like they're handing out jelly beans!
9) Now, what is the web site for your Bonkers Institute?
Bonkersinstitute.org is the official web site of the Institute for Nearly Genuine Research.In addition to hosting the Marvelous Mental Medicine Show, our web site publishes the latest studies released by the Institute, and promotes our ongoing mission to explain the origin and etiology of mental illness in ways that sound more scientific than ever before.
10) How would our readers navigate to the exact place where you have your latest expose?
It's quite easy to arrive at the Marvelous Mental Medicine Show simply by following the link that's prominently displayed on our home page at www.bonkersinstitute.org. Entering the Medicine Show is like entering a museum: simply scroll down the page as if strolling down a museum hallway, and select the gallery you wish to visit.If that particular gallery fails to interest you, there are plenty more to choose from!
11) What question have I neglected to ask?
You didn't ask how we obtain the ads that are featured in the Marvelous Mental Medicine Show.We have three main sources:
1. We scour the internet, searching web sites of medical journals and pharmaceutical ad agencies, occasionally stumbling across an item of interest; 2. We browse used bookstores and keep an eye on Ebay for old magazines that might contain drug ads; 3. We receive submissions from our web site visitors, who scan ad images and send them to us by email.In this way we've obtained ads from all over the world, including England, Australia, Sweden and Japan.
If any EdNews readers know of any ads that ought to be included in the Medicine Show, please contact the Institute! There's one ad in particular we'd love to obtain. It's a 2-page spread for Ritalin, originally published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1971 with the headline, "MBD... Medical Myth or Diagnosable Disease Entity?" We know this ad exists because we've seen it referenced in more than one academic paper, but so far we've been unable to track down a copy. If anyone out there can help locate this ad, we'll be thrilled to include it in the Medicine Show!
"Psychiatry is to medicine what astrology is to astronomy." ~ Leonard Roy Frank
Source: Raw Story
The Army's suicide rate is the highest it has been in three decades, and a week-long series of articles at Salon.com has been highlighting what it calls "habitual mistreatment behind the preventable deaths."
Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday, "In January, we lost approximately 24 soldiers in the Army to suicide. That's more folks than we lost in combat. ... We lost more soldiers to suicide than to al Qaeda."
"If we lost that many soldiers to an enemy weapon system, the entire country would be outraged," Rieckhoff continued. "The Pentagon would be scrambling to do something about it. We need the same level of urgency around these suicides."
Rieckhoff's group has been lobbying Congress this week to do more for veterans needs. "We took dozens of veterans from around the country," he told Maddow proudly. "We met with over a hundred lawmakers, we held two press events. ... We highlighted ... the need for mandatory mental health counseling and we called for advance funding of the VA."
Rieckhoff said that there's bipartisan support in Congress for such funding, which is critical because "every year the VA budget is late, and VA's around the country are forced to ration care." However, there's also a critical shortage of mental health counselors.
"This is a place where President Obama can step up," Rieckhoff remarked. "He could issue a national call to service and say, 'If you are a qualified mental health care professional, your country needs you. Help our soldiers, help our veterans. It doesn't matter how you stand on the war. You can step up and make a difference here.'"
"Troops alone are not the answer [to Afghanistan]," he added. "It's not an antidote to violence. You don't just drop 30,000 troops in, wave a magic wand and call it democracy, and make it look like New Jersey."
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Feb. 12, 2009.