HuffPo spews CAM-poo

I don’t read the Huffington Post for tips on health and fitness, but I do remember a couple of months ago being taken aback that one of their health writers recommended colonics as a preventative for swine flu.

Turns out this wasn’t an isolated incident.  It’s part of a trend at HuffPo to publish articles by “experts” that promote Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (“CAM,” or as I like to call it, “Not Medicine”), or sometimes even flat-out bad health advice.

Now Salon.com has published an analysis of Huffington Post’s selection process for their health pundits.  It turns out the problem is…Huffington.  Arianna Huffington.  In “The Huffington Post is crazy about your health,” Rahul Parikh points out that Huffington runs the site like a combination newsfeed and blog; it’s a mixture of news and unvetted opinion, sort of the internet equivalent of Fox News or MSNBC.  According to Parikh, Huffington hires friends and random people she meets to write columns.

This can be entertaining, but ultimately it calls into question the credibility of HuffPo’s content.  And it’s part of an overall problem with the internet: how can you know that what your reading is properly vetted news-fact or someone’s unsubstantiated opinion, or even outright lies and propaganda?  (This is a charge that even AmericanFreethought.com is subject to–I don’t pretend not to have a bias, but I’ve never lied or consciously skewed the truth.)

HuffPo is taking a lot of fire over this stuff.  Will it influence them to move toward more objective reporting?  Only the vigilant will know for sure.

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