“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”
Mark Twain, author, humorist
More than a million people in Paris marched on January 7, 2015, in support of 12 people murdered at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine. Their rallying cry of “Je Suis Charlie” (French for “I Am Charlie”) instantly became a slogan adopted by supporters worldwide as a show of support for freedom of expression by people who refused to be intimidated by terrorists.
The Je Suis Charlie march nearly coincided with the 50th celebration of the 1965 Selma march for civil rights when racial bigots attacked thousands of protestors in Alabama. Both events left an indelible impression upon the minds of many as an international call for justice continues from decades ago to the present.
I might add freedom of expression should also extend to the heretofore obscure medical profession, a medical Bastille and bastion of bigotry that denies the freedom for patients to choose their treatment of choice and the freedom for health care providers to practice without intimidation from medical slander, political suppression or media censorship.
The original call for health care freedom began with Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1776, a founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who foresaw the rise of a medical monarchy. Dr. Rush, also known as the Father of American Medicine, believed in “medical freedom” — giving citizens freedom of choice to select their own type of health provider:
“The Constitution of this Republic should make specific provision for medical freedom as well as for religious freedom. To restrict the practice of the art of healing to one class of physicians and deny to others equal privileges constitutes the Bastilles of our science. All such laws are un-American and despotic. They are vestiges of monarchy and have no place in a republic.
“What mischief have we done under the belief of false facts and false theories! We have assisted in multiplying diseases; we have done more, we have increased their mortality.
“Conferring exclusive privileges upon bodies of physicians and forbidding men of equal talents and knowledge from practicing medicine within certain districts of cities and countries are inquisitions — however sanctioned by ancient charters and names—serving as the Bastilles of our profession.”
Unfortunately, his wish was not fulfilled since medical freedom was not included in the Bill of Rights. Consequently, we see a medical monopoly that has dominated health care in America with policies that seemingly favor Big Pharma and the medical “corporatocracy.” This medical Bastille remains a huge issue since the American Medical Association (AMA) has a proven tyrannical history, never known for its political fairness, ideological diversity, or egalitarian attitude toward other healing arts.
Indeed, the AMA was aptly dubbed the “most terrifying trade association on earth” in 1949 by writer Milton Mayer in Harper’s magazine. Like a one-world religion, the AMA has maintained by all means its one-profession healthcare system dominated by drugs and surgery to the exclusion of all else.
This medical despotism was unashamedly restated in courtroom testimony during the Wilk v. AMA antitrust trial by Dr. David Stevens, a member of the AMA’s illegal and subversive Committee on Quackery: “We weren’t out to be fair. We were advocates. Our job was to destroy chiropractic.”
If the public only knew, this attitude would ruffle a few feathers among those who believe in free enterprise, diversity and fairness. But to members of the Medical Bastille, this discrimination goes without saying — neither integration nor equality for chiropractors will ever be acceptable to the medical profession guarding its $3 trillion market, especially in the lucrative spine care market.
This paradox is analogous to solar as an emerging energy source. Regretfully, the consensus on Wall Street is that solar energy will take off only when Big Oil owns the sun!
Just as Big Oil has no interest in solar energy despite its potential ability to lower costs and improve energy needs, likewise Big Medicine and Big Pharma have no interest in seeing chiropractic succeed since they do not own it. In fact, it would take money out of their pockets by improving outcomes and reducing costs, both bad ideas in the current reign of economic terror of the medical monopoly.
The parallel between racism and medical bigotry are shockingly similar, but “medical racism,” if you will, remains an unspoken bias that has become an acceptable prejudice.
Although racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia have emerged from the dark corners in America and have all met with increasing criticism as our country evolves to a more egalitarian society, the chiropractic experience has never seen a similar enlightening.
Nor has the chiropractic experience had a balanced history in the media or acknowledged by the government that chiropractors have helped millions of Americans and people worldwide. Never have doctors of chiropractic been given a tribute to their contribution to the achievements of America. For the most part, the public has constantly heard medical slander and media defamation unlike any other healing profession has endured for nearly a century.
The Press Is Never Free
When Mark Twain warned “Never to pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel,” he perfectly described the situation the chiropractic profession has experienced over the past century, fighting against the domineering medical profession and the complicit mainstream media sponsored by Big Pharma.
One thing is certain about freedom of the press: It is free only if you own it.
For example, let me ask you a simple question to illustrate my point: When was the last time you’ve seen an in-depth, “fair and balanced” article in the mainstream news media touting the benefits the chiropractic profession brings to a world disabled with back pain and a society overwhelmed by narcotic painkillers and back surgeries?
I can answer that question for you: Never.
My investigation found two straightforward reasons to explain why chiropractic remains missing in the media: 1) Nearly every health reporter is an MD who will never praise their chiropractic competition just as Republicans will never promote Democrats (or vice versa) and 2) These biased reporters will never bite the hand that feeds them — Big Pharma – nor will they promote a nondrug treatment for any condition, especially chronic back pain.
Clearly, the virtual censorship of chiropractic in the media is not by chance, but by choice when you consider these two factors along with the reality that nearly all health reporters on the major networks suffer from the typical medical bias that I have coined “chirophobia.”
At the same time while these medical media shills have been mute to the benefits of chiropractic care, they have also not exposed the most obvious corruption and billions of wasted dollars in the medical back pain industrial complex that includes the pharmaceutical industry, medical device manufacturers, MRI imaging centers, pain management centers, spine interventionalists, hospitals and, most of all, the billions made from spine surgery based on an outdated “bad disc” premise.
To ignore these issues in the back pain industry with the plethora of research undermining medical spine care and the ascension of chiropractic care is equivalent to ignoring racism, sexism, or homophobia in the general society, yet the medically-tainted media refuses to mention this “elephant in the news room.”
Undoubtedly the biggest cover-up is the ongoing failure of the media to inform the public of the paradigm shift in spine care, such as the opioid painkillers that were thrust upon the public by Big Pharma twisting arms of MDs to over-prescribe opioids that have killed more people annually than car accidents; the fact that the FDA has never approved epidural steroid injections for back pain; and, most of all, the debunking of the “bad disc” diagnosis for back pain and the subsequent unnecessary need for disc fusions.
In fact, abnormal discs are now seen by experts as commonplace in the normal aging process like gray hair or wrinkles, yet spine surgeons continue to lie to unsuspecting patients about the non-importance of these “bad discs,” even after a damning Mayo Clinic review in 2014 that found “bad discs” in pain-free people.
It’s past time to free the public from these medical terrorists.
One thing is certain about this medical war: prejudice, politics and profit drive spine care in the U.S., not evidence-based guidelines, “best practices” or doing what is best for patients.
These are high barriers for chiropractors to overcome alone in the commercial media. We cannot buy ink by the barrel to get our point of view across to the ailing public. And medical mouthpieces like Sanjay Gupta at CNN have no interest to tell our story for us.
Without a doubt, the medical Bastille is a huge prison that has captured too many unsuspecting patients who have been railroaded onto a medical gravy train that goes unreported in the mainstream media. There is simply too much money and too few ethics to stop this gravy train although millions of people have already wrecked on this wild ride. Indeed, you know these victims because many of them are your family members, friends and certainly many of our patients.
Today we see the same dilemma with a medical Bastille controlled by the medical monopoly and its complicit press that denies people the freedom of choice in treatments by not following the guidelines calling for conservative care before opioid painkillers, epidural steroid injections and disc fusion surgery.
Certainly, millions of people daily are imprisoned in the medical Bastille with little hope of entering back into society due to the failure of medical spine care. Indeed, the lack of coverage should be an outrage since more than 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain daily. And yet the complicit media stays mute on one of the best nondrug solutions — chiropractic care.
“Je Suis Charlie” became a rallying cry of support for freedom of expression by people who refused to be intimidated by terrorists. Perhaps the medical Bastille needs another rallying cry for the pandemic of pain that has led to the present opioid crisis and the “wake of disability left behind.”
This cry should be “Je Suis Chiropratique!”