Wednesday April 1, 2020

Polio History and Misinformation on Digital Journal

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Photo: uanews.org

By Ernest Dempsey

Nothing divides the medical community and the public more on public health issues today than vaccination. Media is a major player in this divide and when it comes to polio vaccination, even citizen journalism sources take to policies of censorship of some information as well as allowing questionable information that fits the vaccine industry’s model of truth.

Take Digital Journal, for example – the popular Canadian citizen journalism site where I wrote hundreds of articles over the course of 5 years and was one of the top content producers for a few months. But last year when I published my article on the history of polio incidence, it was removed. The article titled “The millions of polio sufferers who never existed” was published on November 23, 2014 and remained published for two weeks before it was removed from the website. On December 8, 2014, I received the editorial staff’ email telling me:

“We have received several complaints about the article, and it’s been raised that your sources are not reliable and your qualifications are not related to relaying the efficacy of these vaccines.”

396px-Polio_vaccine_posterBy that time, the article had been liked and shared hundreds of times on social media and many news sites and blogs were linking to it. Its removal signified outright censorship of information that questions the superficially but intensively fed story of millions of polio patients prior to the advent of polio vaccines.

Upon writing to back to the editors, I asked what was their policy on the number of complaints they needed to receive to make information disputed and what were the qualifications of the editors in the field of public health. I did not receive a reply. The site provided no explanation or justification of the censorship that I deemed very unprofessional and prejudiced.

Though I put the same article on my own blog, questions remained about the neutrality of Digital Journal when it came to debatable issues. Was the site actively suppressing dissident voices on questions of polio incidence?

Recently, my doubts were verified when an article “Nigeria beating polio, Africa closer to eradicating disease” appeared on the site. Near the end of the story, the writer includes: “Back when the polio eradication initiative was founded, the disease was endemic in 125 countries and caused paralysis in nearly 1,000 children a day.”

This raised a frown from me since from my research on the topic as shared in my article censored by Digital Journal, I knew these stats were questionable. To my knowledge, there is no verifiable source that shows such large numbers of polio cases causing paralysis in people at any time in human history.

I decided to contact the writer of the article to inquire about the source of the information. The reply I got from the writer said her source was Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Upon my asking whether she looked up to verify the information, I received the reply that she didn’t fact-check the information and the foundation is “respected”, but that they could be wrong so I could always check with them myself.  Poliodrops

Next step, of course, was to contact the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to inquire where they had received their information on polio incidence. Their reply – “WHO and CDC are the sources for this data.” Having known the questions about the reliability of WHO and CDC as stakeholders in the vaccination business brought my doubts closer to the belief that the information is unreliable. I did write to the media cells of CDC and WHO with the same question about polio stats – and to date, I haven’t received a response!

But how far did Digital Journal go to verify the stats themselves? Were the qualifications of the writer of this article, claiming a thousand people paralyzed daily by polio prior to the vaccine’s introduction, enough to back up the information when the writer herself says that she didn’t do any fact-checking on the information?

The case of information censorship on Digital Journal regarding polio history is the tip of the iceberg that goes to unfathomable depths of media’s interests in certain industries, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. And while mainstream media is an active advocate of vaccination, mostly downplaying the case against the efficacy and safety of vaccines, citizen journalism sites like Digital Journal are also following the same route. Yet, alternative news sites and blogs as well as some citizen journalism sites that are independent in the real sense of the word provide hope for continued skepticism and critical analysis of information fed to the public.

About the Author

Ernest Dempsey is a writer, editor, blogger, and journalist based in Orlando, FL. He runs a popular blog Word Matters! at http://www.ernestdempsey.com/ and edits the journal and its blog Recovering the Self. Dempsey is a sceptic, vegetarian, and advocate for animal and human rights.

Next Story

Why You Should Avoid Gas Station CBD

Wondered why you shoud avoid buying CBD from gas stations? Here is the answer

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CBD gas stations
Here’s what you need to know about gas station CBD items and why you should avoid them. Pixabay

Shopping at a gas station is convenient. You can run in, grab a drink and a few snacks. Just as gas stations sell cigarettes, these mini stores have also started to stock other convenience items, including CBD products.

With all of the benefits that you’ve heard about CBD, you may be tempted to pick up a bottle of CBD oil or a bag of CBD edibles in order to get some relief. But, should you buy CBD products from a gas station? While these items are cheap and convenient, chances are that they’re also low quality.

Here’s what you need to know about gas station CBD items and why you should avoid them.

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Lack of Oversight & Regulation

While the 2018 Farm Bill set forth certain rules, requirements, and regulation for hemp-based CBD plants, the fact remains that there is still very little oversight. There’s no federal Agency that is responsible for ensuring that all CBD products that hit the market are high quality, let alone safe.

Because the CBD industry isn’t regulated, chances are that the gas station CBD products you see are low quality, hence the low price. There are many dangers associated with low quality CBD.

CBD gas stations
Just as gas stations sell cigarettes, these mini stores have also started to stock other convenience items, including CBD products. Pixabay

First, you aren’t likely to get the results or experience that you want. It takes high quality CBD in order to get high quality results. There is also the risk that the CBD product contains harmful compounds, including a higher dosage of THC than what is allowed.

Risk of Higher THC Levels

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, legal CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC. And while a gas station CBD product may advertise that its THC contents are within the legal dosage, there’s no way of fact checking what is advertised.

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While CBD won’t get you high, too much THC can. This means if you buy a CBD product that contains higher levels of THC, you’re at a risk of experiencing the psychoactive effects. A high dosage of THC can cause many negative side effects including:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Headache/nausea
  • Impairment
  • Lowered inhibitions

Aside from the side effects, using a CBD product that has a high amount of THC can also cause job issues for some. If your employer requires drug testing, you could fail the test because of gas station CBD. Don’t risk losing your job for the affordability and convenience of these CBD products.

Aside from the side effects, using a CBD product that has a high amount of THC can also cause job issues for some. If your employer requires drug testing, you could fail the test because of gas station CBD. Don’t risk losing your job for the affordability and convenience of these CBD products.

Lower CBD Dosage

Consumers buy CBD for in order to get some relief. Whether you’re interested in trying CBD for pain relief, improved sleep, or to help reduce stress and anxiety, the efficiency of the product all comes down to the dosage of CBD. A product may advertise that it contains a certain amount of CBD, but again, there is no guarantee that what’s on the label is the truth.

This means that you could waste money on a product that doesn’t give you the results you desire because it contains low grade CBD or because it doesn’t contain the specified dosage.

Existence of Harmful Compounds

How and where hemp plants are grown has a huge impact on the quality of the CBD that is used to make oil, edibles, or some other product. There are many companies that use low quality hemp plants that are grown outside of the United States. Other brands source CBD from farms that use pesticides and GMOs, which pose potential health risks.

Inferior CBD is also often extracted using a solvent-based product. Solvents, such as butane, are used to extract the oil from the plant. More often than not, some of the chemicals used seep into the oil, which means you then consume it.

How to Choose a High Quality Product

With this said, the good news is that there are tons of premium, high quality CBD products on the market. The bad news is that you’re unlikely to find it at a gas station or any other kind of convenience store.

If you want to buy superior CBD, your best chance of finding it is online. Of course, there are also low quality CBD products on the digital marketplace as well, so it pays to know what to look for in order to decide if a product is worthwhile or not.

Determine Where CBD is Sourced and How

The top CBD manufacturers are all about transparency. This means when you check out the company’s website, you’re likely to see information about where hemp plants are grown and how they’re grown. You’ll also find information about how the CBD is extracted.

CBD gas stations
While a gas station CBD product may advertise that its THC contents are within the legal dosage, there’s no way of fact checking what is advertised. Pixabay

Companies that produce high quality CBD products typically use USA-grown hemp that is farmed using no pesticides and no GMOs. Many CBD brands proudly display USA-grown and non-GMO verbiage on their products.

Aside from learning about where and how the hemp plants are grown, it’s also important to ensure that the company uses a non-solvent extraction process. CO2 extraction is the other process that manufacturers use. CO2 extraction is done inside of a lab in a safe, controlled environment.

Read the Certificate of Analysis (COA)

One of the best ways to determine the quality of a CBD product is to look at the certificate of analysis (COA). A COA is the data that is verified after a product’s contents have been tested by a third party lab.

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A COA will provide all of the information you need, including CBD content, THC content, as well as the existence of other compounds such as pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals. If the product uses full-spectrum CBD, there will also be test results for other naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant such as terpenes, amino acids, and other cannabinoids.

If a product doesn’t have a COA posted, contact the manufacturer and ask if the product has been lab tested. Products that don’t have a COA are extremely risky, as there’s no guarantee as to what the CBD product contains.

Also Read- Ways to Keep Your Kids Engaged During Lockdown

Conclusion

While it may be cheaper, quicker, and more convenient to buy CBD at a gas station, chances are that you aren’t buying a high quality product. In order to experience the benefits that the best CBD oil offers, you must buy a superior product that uses superior CBD.

When buying your next CBD product, be sure to check where the CBD is sourced and how it’s extracted, and of course read the COA. This way you can buy with total confidence.