My parents used to read the Daily Express. That was bad enough, you used to be able to guarantee there’d be a picture of Princess Diana, another royal, or Madeleine McCann on the front together with a fear-mongering headline about some made-up health emergency or miracle cure, or some bullshit story about nig-nogs. Ok, that sounds very much like the Mail, and they’re almost indistinguishable, except the Mail sells a lot more for some reason. Anyway, whilst I’ve been away my parents have switched to the Mail, and I’ve been having a quick flick through the pages. I suppose I needed to throw up, especially after the Mail is yet again cashing in on the recently-deceased. Here’s one taken from the health section of the Mail website.
Yes, the Mail is revealing to the world 5 of the best cures for your winter cough. So how have they figured out what the best cure is? Well, let’s see… let’s see… oh right! Here we are, at the top it says:
A study from the American College of Chest Physicians says there is no evidence that over-the-counter cough syrups work. But herbal alternatives have been used for generations. Here are five options to soothe nasty coughs.
Nothing else, no studies, not even a testimonial from a patient, nothing. Just ‘these have been used for generations’ and therefore they’re “5 of the best”. I wonder how they define “the best”. Are all cough remedies counted underneath the banner of “the best”? Because that’s the only way I can think of that means they can justify counting these as “5 of the best”. It’s rather telling that they lead with a little jibe at the usual cough remedies which may or may not work anyway, it’s the only possible justification they could come up with for a story which is less like journalism and more like false advertising. I did a search for “American College of Chest Physicians over the counter cough” and found various articles about the same study, published in January 2006. That’s just under 4 years ago. And this is from a news service. Last night.
And it’s without a touch of irony that they start the article with ‘there’s no evidence that these usual treatments work, but here’s a list of alternative remedies with no evidence behind them’. That’s impressively stupid. That’s pretty much the whole article, all the rest of it is a little description of the products which could have been taken right off the website selling them, with no critical thought put into it whatsoever. So seeing as the Mail haven’t done any work into this, I’m not going to do any more on it either.