Yesterday, the CBC aired a short programme about homoeopathy in its Marketplace series. Homoeopaths launched a smear campaign against the programme and its makers, before it was even aired.
Homoeopathy is often presented as "the gentle way" where friendly, caring people take great care to "heal" people, in comparison to sinister doctors practicing a nasty medicine that doesn't work and happily kills its patients.
However, it turns out that the people operating in this blissful evidence-free homoeopathic environment have a nastier side as well. When it became known that this programme would air, some homoeopaths launched a campaign to discredit the programme before it was even aired.
This was an e-mail sent out by the "Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine":
Dear Homeopathic Community,
It has come to our attention that CBC will be running a newstory on Marketplace on Friday Jan 14th at 8pm that may have deleterious effects on the Homeopathic community. "Homeopathy: Cure or Con" appears to present a biased review of the effectiveness of this 200 year old system of medicine.
We are urging everyone who supports Homeopathy and has had a positive experience with homeopathic remedies to share their position on the following link: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/Positive feedback will help derail the merits of this newstory.
In good health,
Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine
Such campaigns are not entirely unexpected. In an evidence-free environment such as homoeopathy, there are no objective arguments and there is no verifiable evidence to defend the cause. So, the only thing they can do is resort to testimonials, the weakest and most meaningless evidence of all.
What makes this e-mail particularly noteworthy is this sentence:
Positive feedback will help derail the merits of this newstory.
In other words, the august Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine is not interested in getting the truth out. It is interested in destroying the credibility of the programme.
This message was sent out on 13 January, the day before the broadcast, i.e. the homoeopaths are not interested in hearing the story. It must be destroyed, no matter what. This could be a derailment of one particularly deranged homoeopath, but it is not.
Well-known Toronto homoeopath Bryce Wylde published a variant of this e-mail this on his site, as can be seen in the image accompanying this article. It was also published before the broadcast, and seems to have been removed since then.
The site Homeopathyresource was even earlier. They published a negative article about the show on January 6, without providing a shred of evidence for their claims.
The site Conscious Health Natural Therapy published an article instructing its visitors on how to spam the CBC website:
4. Be prepared to leave a comment on the CBC and Marketplace website immediately after the programme airs. Go to www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/ and check out the comment function right now. Sign up now to create a user’s account so that there will be no delay when you are ready to send your comments. Once the programme has aired, you can leave a comment by clicking on the title, which will take you to a summary page concluding with a link “Share your comment”. This leads to a comment box, which requires that you sign in. CBC monitors and reviews all messages so you may want to read the Submission Guidelines page before planning to send your comments.
5. Know what you are going to say so that you can post a response without delay. Choose to focus on a single point per comment, elaborate on it, and conclude with a strong, affirming statement. Often the most effective messages are short, concise, and to the point. Send as many of these as you can.
The page seems to have been removed since the programme aired.
Bryce Wylde's website
Message on Toronto homoeopath Bryce Wylde's website urging people to leave messages on the CBC Marketplace website
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