Dan Umanoff, M.D.
National Association for the Advancement and Advocacy of Addicts, Inc.
Re: On Journalism, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-moyers/on-journalism_b_95444.html#comments
It would be nice if Moyers lived according to the journalistic ideals and principles he espouses in this interview and elsewhere, but he doesn't. I quote Mr. Moyers, "The job of trying to tell the truth about people whose job it is to hide the truth is almost as complicated and difficult as trying to hide it in the first place. We journalists are, of course, obliged to cover the news, but our deeper mission is to uncover the news that powerful people would prefer to keep hidden." "But I also tell them there is something more important than journalism, and that is the truth. They aren't necessarily one and the same because the truth is often obscured in the news."
Ten years ago Moyers did a PBS series on addiction, what he agreed is America's number one health problem. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/closetohome/home.html He went to the country's consensus addiction experts from NIDA and the addiction treatment industry and put together his impressive TV series. I watched the series in horror and disbelief. The series pushed the same theory (hijacked brain hypothesis - HBH), philosophy, and practices that were killing addicts in droves and ruining the lives of millions of addicts and their families. This series was not the truth. This was propaganda directly from the government (NIDA and NIAAA) and the monopolistic treatment industry that was currently completely unsuccessful in dealing with addictions. Their theory, the HBH, was provably wrong and damaging even then, and their treatments, prevention, and public policy methods were harmful, ineffective, and unsuccessful. None had ever been proven otherwise scientifically. Despite this, Moyers uncritically believed the experts lock, stock, and barrel and put on his series. As angry as I was, I wrote him a very respectful letter to give him an opportunity to revise his journalism: http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/28alettertobillmoyersclosetohomeandpbs/ I never heard from him or PBS despite resending the letter several times. So, I put the letter on my web page and left it at that.
Since then, Moyers and his son have written a book still pushing the HBH and NIDA continues to push this wrong theory as well. Nothing has changed in the field of addictions since then. It is still ineffective in all aspects and unsuccessful in turning anything around. Today addictions are as bad as or worse than ever.
So, how did Moyers break his journalism principles on this issue? 1) He went to one source for all his information despite their being completely ineffective and scientifically incorrect in dealing with the issue at hand. He blindly believed these experts despite existing scientific contradictions. 2) He used his son as an expert and advisor, a son who was an employee of one of the expert sources, Hazelden. 3) He ignored conflicting scientific information. 4) He continues to do these same things even ten years later despite no change in the outcome of every issue raised by his PBS series and that the HBH (the plasticity theory) has been definitively proven wrong: http://www.nvo.com/hypoism/hypoismhypothesis/ and Genetic susceptibility to substance dependence, Molecular Psychiatry (2005) 10, 336–344, by N Hiroi and S Agatsuma.
The effects on addicts and their families by this series and the perpetuation of the HBH have been astronomically damaging. This is what bad journalism does and he knows it well. It's too bad his biases and closed mind prevented him from living up to his journalistic standards. If he had lived up to his own standards things would be a lot different today in the area of addictions which happens to be still stuck in the HBH and all its damaging implications.
"Love is an action not a feeling.8779 Misty Creek Dr.
Integrity is an action not a thought.
Anything less is too little." ---
Dan F. Umanoff, M.D.
Author of Hypoic's Handbook - The Hypoism Paradigm of Addiction.
President and founder of The National Association for the Advancement and Advocacy of Addicts, Inc. (N4A), a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization of addicts for addicts offering free educational and legal services to discriminated against and abused addicts of all varieties, "substances" and "behavioral," and their families.
Sarasota, FL 34241