So, You Didn't Like the "60 Minutes" Jim Shortt MD Story...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Saturday, January 15th, 2005
"60 Minutes" Producer Andy Court believes, strongly, that the piece on Alternative Medicine practitioner Jim Shortt that ran Wednesday January 12th, 2005 was "fair and balanced." He called me, and told me so.
But from the phone calls, and e-mails, I'm getting, much of the real world doesn't agree with him. They say it was a typical CBS - Dan Rather, "make up the news as you go along" report. Something CBS is publicly known for.
Let me make something clear. I believe Andy Court when he says he, himself, believes it was "fair and balanced." A producer is only as good as his network.
And, just exactly how good is CBS? Well, let me put this into perspective.
I turned my TV on just before 6:00PM, and I dialed in CBS News, knowing that "60 Minutes" would be on at 8:00PM. I wanted to get the flavor of CBS - since I don't do much network television - for obvious reasons. And, here is what I found...
Before the 12 minute Jim Shortt segment came on - CBS News ran almost two hours of somebody named Brad Pitt (whoever that may be) wearing blue sunglasses (at night), and a camel coat, arriving in a Japanese airport, signing autographs for screaming Japanese women - then going up an escalator, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, again - for two hours... That, virtually, was the sum total of their Network news.
Except, of course for commercials. 50% of which were from Big Pharma.
In the "lead in" to the Jim Shortt story there were six commercials - three of which were Big Pharma ads.
Have I made my point? Need I say more?
Right after the CBS Jim Shortt segment, My wife, Jan, switched the channel to whatever network is running the series called "Lost." She enjoys it, and so do I in some strange, unchallenging way. The show is clearly, and obviously, a fantasy and unlike "60 Minutes," doesn't try to bill itself as a News program. "Lost" is way, way ahead of "60 Minutes" in the ratings, too.
Was the "60 Minutes" story on Jim Shortt "fair and balanced?"
Nope. It definitely was not. Sorry Andy - You blew it...
You can read about the original attack on Jim Shortt MD by clicking on "The Long Story About Jim Shortt."
But let's be specific. We'll start with the good parts. (1) The opening part of the segment wasn't too bad. It did show a lot of Jim Shortt's patients and supporters - and it was very clear they felt they wouldn't be alive without him. (2) In overall balance it was WAY more balanced than the reporting done by "The State" newspaper in South Carolina. (3) Andy Court's capture of "quackbuster" attorney Richard Gergel's slyness, and sleaziness, came across like a sledgehammer. (4) Andy Court's clear portrayal of Jim Shortt as a caring, sincere, and honest man was evident. (5) Andy Court's portrayal of the whole case against Shortt being instigated by Gergel, for money, came through - although the point could have been a lot stronger.
The bad parts - (1) CBS News doesn't seem to have much interest in determining facts or "real news." It is apparent that they have no investigative sense, at all. In the Shortt story, and in the handling of it (I was there with them for 35 hours) it became clear they had done NO RESEARCH of their own to determine the validity of the story, in the first place. They had been handed "a piece," by persons unknown, and ran with it, without backgrounding it.
Just like in the story about George W. Bush's service record.
If I hadn't been there, constantly explaining, handing them hard data, showing them who, and what the "quackbusters" were, and how the New York ad agency manipulated the media - frankly - the Jim Shortt story would have been a lot worse.
(2) SHALLOW reporting seems to be what CBS is all about. Two hours of Brad Pitt? Give me a break. CBS - camera angles are a nice thing, but THEY ARE NOT NEWS - you need to hire some investigative reporters.
(3) There was NO balance of so-called "experts." Speaking against Shortt in the piece were an attorney, a coroner, and a medical examiner. Although we provided over thirty (that's right - 30) highly qualified scientists and doctors to be interviewed - even offering to fly them to New York, "60 Minutes" declined to film them. Why?
(4) CBS simply failed to examine, on camera, the scientific issues, at all, regarding Hydrogen Peroxide therapy - even though we carefully provided it to them - with world renowned experts making it simple enough for a lay person to understand. CBS was made aware, and ignored the fact that over a million recorded intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide treatments have been administered worldwide. Jim Shortt, on camera, in front of Anderson Cooper said "Anderson, even if this treatment DID cause this woman to die, and it didn't, one death in a million treatments would make Hydrogen Peroxide therapy the SAFEST treatment in the history of medicine." "60 Minutes" left this part out. Why?
(5) CBS failed to pick up on the victimization of the two patient's survivors who were manipulated and convinced by the "quackbusters" into believing that Jim Shortt MD did something wrong - and consequently filing charges against him. CBS failed to follow up on the fact that both of these distraught individuals had been contacted, in their time of horrible grief, by some of the sleaziest people ever to walk the planet - the "quackbusters." CBS never asked those victims how they happened to be filing these charges at all - an important part of any story.
(6) Even though they were carefully, and continuously, informed, CBS failed to deal with the "human filth" (the "quackbuster") aspect of the story .. I made sure that CBS had details of the constant attack, in North America, on health practitioners that spurn the use of drugs, drugs, and more drugs. I provided doctors for interview, some of those doctors WERE interviewed, but NONE of the material was used.
(7) Even though CBS was carefully informed about the original "source" and validity of the allegations (the "quackbuster" information the medical examiner relied upon) against Hydrogen Peroxide, CBS never questioned the perpetrators about that data, its validity, and authenticity. Just like they did with the George bush reports.
It wasn't a "fair and balanced" report. Not even close. And, that situation is worth a complaint to the right people. Here's how you do that.
Andy Court can be reached at email@example.com. The associate Producer who handled the interviews, Jessica Haddad, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) CBS News can be reached at:
524 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019
CBS Evening News with Dan Rather:
60 Minutes II: 60II@cbsnews.com
FAIR (www.fair.org) would like a copy of what you send. They DO act on
complaints. Send a copy to email@example.com.
While you're at it - go look at the www.fair.org
And, invite "60 Minutes" to show up at the next Jim Shortt event, a hearing January 21st in Columbia South Carolina. His supporters want to be on camera...
Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate
This "Millions of Health Freedom Fighters - Newsletter" is about the battle between "Health and Medicine" on Planet Earth. Tim Bolen is an op/ed writer with extensive knowledge of the activities of a subversive organization calling itself the "quackbusters," and that organization's attempts to suppress, and discredit, any, and all health modalities that compete with the allopathic (MD) paradigm for consumer health dollars. The focus of the newsletter is on the ongoing activities, battles, politics, and the victories won by members of the "Health Freedom Movement" against the "quackbusters" It details "who the quackbusters are, what they are, where they are operating, when they appear, and how they operate - and how easy it is to beat them..."
For background information on the "Battle between Health and Medicine" go to: http://www.savedrclark.net/by_whom2.htm. A copy of THIS newsletter, and older ones, are viewable at the website http://www.quackpotwatch.org/default.htm.
For EVEN MORE interesting and related articles go to http://www.bolenreport.com.