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Mar-30-2011 18:28printcomments

Hypochondriac Heaven: Drug Makers Blitz Media, Exploiting Insecurities

Nobody ever said that politicians have a monopoly on fudging the truth when convenient.

Pill user

(SALEM, Ore.) - How are you feeling today, sir or madam? If you're inclined to regard yourself as in fine shape, the drug makers of America would love to plant a much different thought in your mind.

Turn on my any TV channel during the course of the evening and you'll stand witness to media manipulation in action.

You shall be browbeaten into submission. There's some pharmaceutical on the market for almost any malady the mind can conceive of. You are that target of pocketbook seduction. But notice the professional touch of Madison Avenue's hand. The engaging background music. The super-soft inviting voice that stresses the product's good points while neatly glossing over the drawbacks and complications that could happen if your body chemicals get turned into that unwanted witch's brew.

Take extra care to notice the setting, usually outdoors and scenic. These drug makers are out to suck you into identifying their products with your deep fantasies. Being active and alert usually becomes the intended sub-text.

Recreation and amusement with friends becomes the focus. But what human being can say with certainty that taking the prescribed pill will bring you friends and recreation? Guess again.

Sometimes the product being pushed has mental health implications. Here it is quite simple to arouse fear and anxiety in the viewer by hinting that you'll deteriorate unless you purchase that Brand X. All of this is couched with the pretense that they are out to help you. There is no mention that it's all a strategy to help hike their gross corporate income to new heights.

Finally, might we not get fooled by seeing someone in a doctor's white smock telling us that you'll be black-and-blue unless you run out and purchase that product? How often will the ad agency disclose it's a smooth-talking professional actor making the deal? Nobody dares to note the salary component of that actor, either.

Nobody ever said that politicians have a monopoly on fudging the truth when convenient. Such flim-flam is but an updated version of hocus pocus.

_________________________________ Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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hugh mannity March 31, 2011 3:52 am (Pacific time)

on target and tantallizingly true, for sure. drug makers are often fakers and we the public merely the pawns!

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