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Monday, February 22, 2010
WND's Unruh Misleads About Nutritional Supplement Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has a bad habit of telling only one side of the story, despite his touted previous experience as a reporter for the Associated Press, which typically does not tolerate such bias.

Unruh exhibits that bias again in a Feb. 21 WND article on a "Christian nutrition ministry" called Daniel Chapter One, which has faced sanctions from the Federal Trade Commissionfor making unsupported claims about the nutritional supplements it sells. Unruh quotes only attorneys for Daniel Chapter One who, according to Unruh, "responded to a series of written questions submitted by WND." Unruh doesn't quote any FTC official in the article or even substantively directly quote any FTC documents on the case, even though the FTC has posted numerous documents regarding the DanielChapter One case on its website. Further, Unruh made no apparent attempt to contact the FTC for a response to the charges made in the article.

Unruh misleadingly asserts that it's not until "after the full penalties of being found guilty are scheduled to apply" that "the principals will be able to present their first defense to the charges." In fact, the FTC record contains several documents by Daniel Chapter One's attorneys responding to the FTC that include what most people would call a defense.

Unruh also curiously fails to offer specifics about the claims Daniel Chapter One made that drew the FTC complaint, framing the issue as about "how the federal government demands studies of nutritional products such as vitamins be done before the products are advertised to consumers." In fact, in a September 2008 FTC press release summing up its case, the FTCstated that Daniel Chapter One has made "deceptive and false claims that these products effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer" and that "one of their herbal formulations mitigates the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy."

The original FTC administrative complaint goes on to state that Daniel Chapter One claimed one product "inhibits angiogenesis ­ -- the formation of new blood vessels" which "can stop tumor growth," that another product "battles cancer," and that yet another product can serve "as an adjunct to cancer therapy." Even though Daniel Chapter One's claims that its products treat cancer is central to the FTC's actions, the word "cancer" appears nowhere in Unruh's article -- nor did it appear in an August 2008 WND article Unruh wrote on the case.

Unruh features "Herb Titus, a key constitutional expert working on the Daniel Chapter One case," complaining that the FTC wants "someone marketing dietary supplements must substantiate any health-related claim with 'scientific evidence' – forcing the company to affirmatively prove its statements instead of defending any statements suspected of being incorrect." Neither Unruh nor Titus explain why scientific evidence of efficacy is a bad thing.

Indeed, it seems that Daniel Chapter One has an aversion to "scientific evidence." In an answering brief, the FTC states:

Respondents did not conduct or direct others to conduct any scientific testing of the effects of the Challenged Products, and offered no evidence of any such testing having been performed by others. F.308. Instead of relying upon scientific testing to substantiate their advertising claims, Respondents claimed that they relied on personal observations, customer testimonials, and a variety of books, magazines, and aricles about how certain substances in the Challenged Products could be utilized. F. 316-18. Their proffered experts were not medical doctors and had no specialized training or experience regarding cancer or cancer treatment. F. 335-337. Even Respondents' purorted experts admitted, however, that because the Challenged Products have not been tested, their effectiveness in the prevention, treatment, or cure of cancer is not known.

Rather than tell the truth, Unruh misleadingly portrays the case as one of the "Goliath-sized" FTC unfairly targeting a "small Christian nutrition ministry" and obscures the actual issues involved. It's this kind of biased, misleading reporting that seems to indicate why Unruh is working for WND instead of the Associated Press.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EST

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