Thursday, May 06, 2010

Who matters more to newspapers - readers or advertisers?

That's the question I asked myself when I saw the ad one of my patients cut out of last week's National Post.

The ad was placed by MacMillan Orchards to sell their maple syrup and the copy reads,

"Recent studies have disclosed the remarkable health benefits of dark maple syrup.

They include higher quantities of antioxidants, manganese and zinc and immune boosters.

It also has anti-inflammatory qualities and increases good cholesterol.
They must be really, really recent studies because searching Medline from 1950 through to the 3rd week of April 2010 I can't come up with a single study, well designed, peer reviewed, or otherwise, that describes the effects of maple syrup ingestion on systemic inflammation or on cholesterol.

So it would seem that MacMillan Orchards, the folks trying to sell you their maple syrup, are quite comfortable lying to you to do so. They're happy to just make stuff up to try to entice you to believe that eating maple syrup, basically just liquid sugar, will help reduce systemic inflammation and increase your good cholesterol.

According to the National Posts' parent company Canwest, their core values are to,
"Serve the customer
Strive for quality and excellence
Win, but fairly with integrity and honesty
Empower citizens with knowledge
Give back to the community
Not sure how printing outright lies geared to dupe readers into making misinformed choices represents those values.

Shame on MacMillan Orchards, and shame on the National Post. Both should know better.