This has just landed in my email inbox:
I removed the link for the download, since it’s only valid for 72 hours. Yes, I downloaded the pdf. Yes, it will be passed around for gleeful evisceration. The rest of the email was yet another attempt to attract subscribers, so I left it out as well; if you subscribe to WDDTY emails, you’ll get reduced-price subscription offers impressively often, so it would be a waste of space printing it here. In any case, the points I wanted to address are in the four relatively short sentences reproduced above. Let’s be having them:
The campaign to get What Doctors Don’t Tell You (WDDTY) banned in stores across the UK is relentless.
Uh-huh. It’s already been pointed out many, many times to the Great McTaggart that nobody is seeking to ban WDDTY. All that has been asked is that supermarkets and newsagents cease stocking it until such time as the editorial team clean up their act and stop presenting half-truths and whole lies as incontrovertible fact.
A small group of pharma-supported trolls just don’t want you to read vital information about your health; bad for their paymaster’s pockets no doubt.
Interesting. Now this was in an email sent out to subscribers: i.e. a public list. Wisely (for once) she doesn’t name the alleged “pharma-supported trolls”. Unfortunately, McTaggart has already named and given the home and/or work addresses of people she believes to be skeptics who have been part of the campaign. In fact, it’s mostly people who had bugger-all to do with the campaign that she seems to have exposed to potential abuse and harassment from her fanatical band of swivel-eyed loony followers. Way to go, Lynne.
Anyway, we all know who she means: Simon Singh and the Sense About Science group, Alan Henness, Guy Chapman, “Josephine Jones”, Jo Brodie etc. It’s as well for the Blessed McTaggart that none of them is at all litigious, as the unequivocal allegation that they are being paid by a pharmaceutical company to blog and tweet about WDDTY and its love of potentially lethal quackery is probably actionable. Given the precarious financial situation of the WDDTY group companies based in England and Wales, McTaggart and Hubbard couldn’t afford to defend a libel claim.
But sometimes the information is so important that we want you to have it.
Ye-e-es. This is WDDTY we’re talking about. They’re not strong on information. Misinformation, yes; disinformation, certainly. Information, not so much. See the rest of this site for details.
Now, I learnt a new term last night: native advertising. It’s a vaguely racist-sounding term for what are, basically, heavily-disguised infomercials. Some online newspapers are increasingly using them in place of real journalism, on the basis that they have to eat.
There’s an awful lot of native advertising in WDDTY, when you look at it closely. Not only does it carry the usual amount of ordinary advertising, not infrequently from businesses already in trouble with the ASA – see the figures lovingly calculated by wandering teacake – but it also contains a lot of stuff written by the editorial team that boils down to glorified adverts for their own quackery practices. This suggests that WDDTY is being used as free publicity by the entire editorial team. No wonder they’re screechingly sore about losing access to passing gullible idiots in local supermarkets. Speaking of free publicity for the editorial team:
Our July issue featured the extraordinary work of Dr Patrick Kingsley, who explains the six major causes of cancer (and most aren’t the obvious ones).
This is probably the bit where we steeple our fingers and assume an interested expression. What are Kingsley’s 6 major causes of cancer, then? I’ll compile a list. Brace yourselves.
1. A lack of digestive enzymes
Kingsley bases this on some vague extrapolation from the correlation between the tapering-off of growth of the placenta and the development of the fetal digestive system. No, I am not shitting you. He argues that a chronic lack of digestive enzymes – due to modern foodstuffs, of course – can lead to cancer because digestive enzymes control cellular division, according to him.
“Stress of any sort is a major cause of cancer,” sez Kingsley, who then clearly specifies mental stress. Environmental stress doesn’t get a look-in in the tiny paragraph devoted to this “major cause”.
3. Too much acid
And in at Number Three is that firm favourite, alkaline diet! It’s been debunked over and over. The quacks love it, because it sounds vaguely plausible – acids are aggressive, right? So if you have too much acid, like when you get heartburn, it must be bad for you, right? – and they can sell supplements for it. Next up is another traditional quack mark-catcher:
4. Free radicals
These things were all in the news some years ago and were thought to contribute to ageing. There were ads everywhere for expensive moisturising creams claiming to combat free radicals and make your skin look 23% younger, or something. Diet hucksters published recipe books claiming to combat free radicals. Foodstuffs on supermarket shelves were claiming to combat free radicals. About the only thing not claiming to combat free radicals was the Army. Again, there’s no evidence to support it, but since when did that stop quacks from selling anything?
5. A fungus
YES! Where would a round-up of pop-eyed, straw-in-the-hard quackpottery be without C. albicans? When it strikes, it generally infects the mouth or the genitals. It does not, despite the assertions of Kingsley and similar profiteering fuckwits, regularly infect the whole body and get into the bloodstream. That, fortunately, is very rare. The day you have candidemia raging through your circulatory system, you had better put yourself in the hands of a real doctor in an emergency ward or you will very shortly not be in possession of a single fuck to give, because you will be dead.
Kingsley’s test for C. albicans involves trying to float your spit on top of a glass of water for half an hour. Trust me, if you have an oral candida infection, you will know about it. The perils of eating too many homegrown cherries, since you ask. The cream I had to rub on the inside of my swollen cheeks tasted disgusting (I loathe orange flavouring) and it was a weird sensation to feel the colonies pop and die as the treatment got to them.
… Now isn’t that odd? There isn’t a 6th cause. All that trumpeting and ranting, and they couldn’t even count to 6? What a rip-off.
Here are the main causes of cancer, according to real cancer specialists on a reputable website like Cancer Research UK:
- Cancer causing substances (carcinogens)
- Genetic make up
- The immune system
- Smoking, bodyweight, diet and physical activity
- Day-to-day environment
- Bacterial infection
Not quite the same as Kingsley’s list, is it? Now, this is where Kingsley gets down to the nitty-gritty and you understand why they were so desperate to get this issue out to the mugs, even as a freebie. It’s blatant native advertising:
1. How to diagnose your supposed ailments without bothering your doctor?
There are some blood tests that Kingsley recommends:
- serum ferritin, which he incorrectly states is often overlooked when testing for anaemia),
- thyroid function – another pointless test, as it will be prescribed by a doctor if patient presents symptoms of hypo- or hyper-thyroidism,
- Vitamin D – while most Europeans are said to be low in Vitamin D, it is not considered useful to test for it. Spending 15 minutes a day in outdoors is probably enough, unless you’re daft enough to wear a burka
- candida overgrowth. This is the quack-invented ailment which you test for by floating spit on a glass of water. It’s the second time I’ve typed this and I still cannot believe someone would seriously propound such transparent bullshit.
- stool analysis – of course a quack, member of a breed that’s forever ranting about gut imbalances and such-like nonsense – is going to put the anal back into analysis. According to Kingsley: farting, constipation, the shits or an itchy arse are obviously due to some sort of infection. Not due to eating too many beans, or burgers or not wiping properly.
Now, how to get these tests done? Well, you can use your local lab, as long as you ignore their reference levels as those are just averages and absolutely not tailored to you. This is Standard Quack Ploy No 1: convince the mark you believe they’re extra-special and that only you really understand their specialness and special needs for special treatment. Because they’re so much more special and different to everyone else.
Kingsley recommends 3 labs for this work. One is Genova Diagnostics, which I’d already noted as suspicious but couldn’t get beyond the login page to examine, and Biolab, which I’d already listed as quack-facilitating. Above all, though, he praises Neuro Lab, who have a terrible Web reputation and, when you see the claims the owner makes, you can understand why:
In the late 1970’s (Olga Galkina) was one of the principles in a joint eastern bloc project that utilised Lactobacillius Bulgaricus as an extremely successful product in treating cancer patients.
Admire also this little gem of raging WTF:
schizophrenia is associated with too much memory and the younger age group whereas Alzheimers disease is associated with the ageing process and too little memory.
So, that’s three quack-friendly labs promoted. He goes on to promote various superfluous supplements and homeopathic remedies, usually specifying a brand and always specifying a stockist. More covert advertising. Last but not least, oh deary me no, we have Dr Patrick Kingsley’s Patent IV Vitamin Cocktails.
And all this fuckwittery, of which I have skimmed but the scum-covered upper atmosphere, and more comes from a book written by Kingsley. It is available AT SPECIAL DISCOUNT PRICE (What else?), signed by the author himself, and comes with lots of discount coupons for more pointless quack products.
No wonder WDDTY are so eager to spread their rag around, at a loss if need be. If sales figures continue to plummet, expect them to send people to distribute it at subway exits. With multipage native advertising pieces like that, they’re almost there anyway.