Astroturf and Homeopathy

Homeopathy has an over 200 year history of effectiveness and safety. It is used by tens of millions of people with satisfactory and even brilliant results for both acute and chronic conditions. In the early 2000’s, pharmaceutical companies, worried about homeopathy’s impact on  their marketing efforts in countries like India and Brazil, hired public relations people to develop and implement hidden strategies to attack and denigrate homeopathy and homeopaths.

In this Ted Talk, Sharyl Attkisson a media expert, describes how these manipulative media methods have impacted public perception and “truth.” and particularly how this has been used by the pharmaceutical industry. She gives the term “astroturf” to the method of making something artificial seem like a real grassroots’  movement on public media when it is not. This sponsored “astroturf movement” against homeopathy and the distortion of information as described by her has impacted the public perception of homeopathy.

Sharyl Attkisson also talks about the problematic situation with Wikipedia where many times experts in a particular field are not allowed to edit entries, and where Wikipedia allows special interests and favours them. This is evident in the homeopathy wikipedia entry, where Dana Ullman MPH, who is a world wide expert in homeopathy and has a Masters in Public Health has been prevented completely from editing and contributing to the Wikipedia entry on homeopathy. Instead, non experts on homeopathy and pharmaceutical representatives are only allowed.