Harvey Weinberg: Rosemond off track
In last Sunday’s Tribune, the Strausses provided an excellent critique of John Rosemond. Although Rosemond has a wide following, he also has been the target of legitimate criticism during his career. At times, he has strayed from fundamental mainstream psychological and medical science, and promoted controversial ideas that potentially have had adverse impact on his readership.
When a highly visible influencer uses his persuasive skills to deter individuals from seeking potentially beneficial care, this is not only wrong, but also harmful to the well being of many.
The controversy over the link between childhood vaccinations and autism is another example of how false information can detrimentally affect community health. In 1998, a British physician, Andrew Wakefield, published research suggesting such a causative link. This belief unfortunately led to a marked decline in childhood vaccinations and a surge in measles cases in different parts of the world. Years later, this conclusion was proven false and we learned that Wakefield falsified the data in his study.
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If it is fair to criticize these high profile influencers, is it also fair to criticize the platforms that give voice to their misinformation? Whether the platform be social media, broadcast journalism, print journalism and even local newspapers, they too must bear responsibility for providing a stage that spreads dubious health information. I believe that the La Crosse Tribune is capable of putting profits aside, and prioritizing the necessity of hosting columnists who have standards that best serve the interests of the community.