Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007
Subject: Attn: Editor?
Hi, I just want to know why you continue to forward negative media articles about supplements and our industry - especially in the first headline articles? Like today's McClatchy newspapers spreading fear and doubt about supplements.
The appropriate action for an industry media source to take is to:
a) SLAM the articles and their authors/publishers as irresponsible reporting
b) Do NOT forward links to them to all the people in the industry - this just boosts them up in the ratings on the Net!
b) Address any actual negative truth that might be there with industry facts that show quality control, reliability etc.
c) Issue a news release asking WHO is behind this latest attempt to discredit natural health products? And get a spotlight turned squarely on the perpetrators of the attack.
Because these ARE attacks - and forwarding their "bullets" far and wide is the WRONG action to take. Yes, we need to know that there has been an attack and we need to know the source, but we don't validate it by sending it out without a rebuttal.
I don't know who at NPI Center is the right person to address this, but I've seen it too many times to believe - it is what's called "Glutz" PR. (order and read the booklet Fundamentals of Public Relations to understand why this is not good).
from someone who cares about the survival and prosperity of this industry,
From The Editor:
First of all, thank you for your note. Secondly, I will note this correspondence in our publications as a letter to the editor, framing a more complete response.
To quickly answer your question, the NPI newsletters are industry targeted rather than mainstream consumer and so our intent in publishing the stories is not to validate primarily, but to let industry know what the consumer press is hearing and saying. Not forwarding links to these articles propagates the illusion that all is well - when it most certainly is not.
Ignoring the negative issues, and propagating only the positive distorts the picture, distorts the reality that is science (there are all of positive, neutral and negative studies that should be reported) and ignores some of the fatal flaws that characterize today's natural health products / dietary supplements marketplace. There are inferior products on the market and to put on rose-colored glasses and pretend this situation does not exist does no good to our industry -short term or long term.
I do agree that these articles should be challenged by competent persons,and NPIcenter has attempted to facilitate that with blogs and other efforts. I also would suggest that all those involved in product testing with contrary data do ante up with their own findings and that these be positioned to discredit (or at least question) Consumerlab.com claims that 1 in 4 products present safety or quality issues.
Industry has its unreasonable detractors, organizations that definitely bear us no good will. I've been taught that you can't challenge someone's fundamental convictions, but what you can do with them is lead them along an incontrovertible path such that the logic and evidence will provide most of them with an argument that will shake their convictions. There are definitely those that are absolutely convinced that our industry has no merit, no standards, no control, no responsibility. We must show them persuasive logic and evidence that shakes this conviction.
Once again, thank you for your letter.
Len Monheit, NPIcenter
President & Editor