When some people in the audience at the premiere of the new Dr. Suess movie "Horton Hears a Who" started yelling "A person's a person no matter how small," others thought they were just over-enthusiastic Dr. Suess fans. Instead, it turned out that a pack of anti-abortion activists had hijacked the elephant star's famous line to promote their view that abortion should be banned.
In the brave new world of seemingly everyone having a MySpace page, publicity over alleged prostitution gave rise to a new online star at MySpace.
In early January, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce began investigating celebrity endorsements in television ads for brand-name drugs. The investigation was sparked by Pfizer's commercials for its best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor. These direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads feature Dr. Robert Jarvik, a pioneer in the development of the artificial heart. Viewers are not told that Jarvik is not a cardiologist, nor is he licensed to practice medicine. His presentation as a trusted expert, Pfizer presumably hopes, is enough to persuade viewers to ask their doctors for Lipitor by name. And that would help erode the increasing competition from generic alternatives.
"Fibromyalgia is a real, widespread pain condition," stresses a woman in a television ad for Lyrica, a Pfizer drug that recently became "the first medicine approved to treat the pain condition." But some doctors have their doubts. These skeptics "say vague complaints of chronic pain do not add up to a disease. ... The condition cannot be linked to any environmental or biological causes." Even Dr.
The New York Times reports, "When a Saudi court sentenced a young woman to 200 lashes in November after she pressed charges against seven men who had raped her, the case provoked outrage and headlines around the world, including in the Middle East. But not at Al Jazeera, the Arab world's leading satellite television channel, seen by 40 million people. ...
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the year that the Falsies Awards have truly arrived!
Here at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), we've dearly treasured our Falsies since we gave the first awards out in 2004. After 12 months of reporting on the cynical, manipulative and just plain anti-democratic pollution of our information environment, we love adding an extra dash of humor to our work. But this year's Falsies Awards are extra super special.
"Product placement is hardly a new phenomenon, and the morning [U.S. television] shows long ago mastered the quid pro quo of daily television: Actors give interviews timed to their latest projects; authors are recruited as experts just as their books hit the stores," writes Alessandra Stanley. "But the fourth hour of 'Today' has tipped the balance of the program. ...
"What has been known for more than three decades as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association now has a new name, the Personal Care Products Council, and with a new persona comes a fact-laden product safety Web site designed to win consumer trust," reports Women's Wear Daily. The changes come after cosmetics safety studies and pressure campaigns by public health and environmental groups.