The line between deliberately manipulating a story or poorly reporting the facts is perilously thin, and often based on the subjectivity of the reader.

During Sunday’s Academy Awards presentation, the United States’ ‘paper of record’, the New York Times, launched an advertising blitz positioning itself as the highbrow ethical responder to the spate of so-called ‘fake news.’ “The truth is hard…to find…to know,” the add proclaimed, somberly.

It’s a powerful message, one that the public and the media should reflect upon—including the leadership at the Times itself. That a journalist...

December 10, 2007: A Nice Note of Support, a Less Than Nice Flu Season

- Quote to Note: "I've been a constant reader of [ACSH's website], loving every minute, learning valuable information, finally agreeing with something I read about science/health, and rolling my eyes at the rabid misinformation out there with the knowledge of how much this costs me and ignorant or scared people everywhere." --Anthony, a fan of ACSH.

- A big story this weekend was about big kids -- well, the fear of childhood obesity, that is. An editorial in today's New York Times called an amendment that would curb junk foods sold in elementary and high schools "worthy but imperfect." We agree more with the latter adjective.

One objection we have is that the...

Letter from the Editor It has been over 18 months since our last ACSH News, released winter 2002. A constrained budget continues to limit and delay the release of ACSH News. But as you will see inside, ACSH remains as prolific as ever. We hope that you are...

MORNING DISPATCH 9/12/08: McDonald's, FDA, Botox, Helmets, Drinking Water, and Religious Diets

McDonald's counters attacks on its role in obesity epidemic
Peter Bush, the CEO of McDonald's Australia, spoke out against the idea that fast food is the main cause of rising levels of childhood obesity. "He points out that a majority of children's meals do not come from McDonald's and that lack of exercise also contributes," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava points out that even though the causes of obesity are complex, "the media, especially in the U.S., tend to blame obesity on food intake only -- especially fast food."

"While the...

MORNING DISPATCH 9/5/08: McCain vs. Pharma, Science vs. Cancer Claim, plus Smoking, Shots, and Obesity

McCain's anti-pharma stance is misguided
ACSH staffers were extremely disappointed by John McCain's promise to "take on the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries" if he becomes president. "It's offensive and preposterous to equate an industry that kills over 400,000 Americans annually with an industry that saves countless lives," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

McCain has a contentious history with...

January 7, 2008: A Long Way, Baby, Albeit While Coughing

- Quote to Note: "A man may take out a woman who smokes for a good time, but he won't marry her, and if he does, he won't stay married." --A 1914 Washington Post editorial.

- Did you know that it used to be illegal for women to smoke? Neither did several ACSH staffers. In the early part of the twentieth century, women could get expelled from college for smoking, and policemen would warn a woman if they saw her taking a puff on the side of the road. Smoking cigarettes used to be taboo for women.

So what changed? The advertising and marketing of cigarettes did.

Edward Bernays, in particular, created a campaign to start women smoking -- and it worked wonders. One example...

I. Introduction

Some old scares refuse to die. This year finds us with revivals of more than a few stories that we had hoped would stay in the junk scares graveyard, where they belong. But from phthalates to genetically modified fish, consumers continue to be needlessly frightened about safe products. Still, we’ve also been kept on our toes with plenty of new scares — we’ve been told that the apple juice we give to our kids every day has dangerous amounts of arsenic, and that vaccinating teenagers against HPV to prevent cervical cancer can instead cause “mental retardation.”

At the American Council on Science and Health, our goal is to increase people’s awareness of actual threats to their health — smoking, for example...