Making false claims is the essence of medical quackery. Those who do it just for the money are considered charlatans. Until recently, nutrition health claims have been rated that low. Any physician, who claimed that nutrition could be a treatment for disease was automatically considered to be a quack. Do we have similar titles in other professions? In court we call it perjury; most everywhere else we just call it incompetence, but if it is done knowingly and for profit, we classify the perpetrator as a crook. Do we have a name for writers who make false claims? If you can prove it in court it is called libel, slander or swindle. Usually it is just being dumb. When it is obviously at someone’s expense, however, it is ignorance or error compounded by hostility and anger—arrogance. Journalistic arrogance is not nice, even when disguised as public service. I know. In my files I recently came across a dormant folder marked "New York Times." In it is a 1981 article by food writer, Jane Brody,1 entitled "The dangers of nutritional misinformation."
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