“The UltraMind Solution: The Simple Plan to Sharpen Your Mind; Boost Your Mood; Increase Your Memory; and Even Reverse Autism, ADD, Depression, Alzheimer’s and More…”
I was a little dismayed this past weekend to see such trash playing on my local PBS. As this Salon.com article notes, PBS is discrediting itself by running such dubious claims. (Fair disclosure: the author disputes the Salon.com article here.)
In a fit of mild rage, I wrote to WVPT. My letter follows:
I turned on WVPT this morning to see you were running a show by a man claiming to cure Alzheimer's, depression and ADD with some breakthrough vitamin method.
I don't have to do much research to realize that his claims are overblown, and thus, highly suspect. Surely if he had found a solution to deal with issues like Autism or dementia, he would have a Nobel prize by now.
I'm very disappointed to see my local PBS playing an infomercial like this. Most folks trust that PBS will air shows that are of a high quality and that have been, in a sense, "peer reviewed" for substance and factual content. By seeing this infomercial played on WVPT, viewers may assume it's a legitimate health program.
Assuming the cost of this show was very cheap or even free, and that this may have had a part in it being played, I would suggest instead filling that time slot with a re-run of Virginia Farming, an old movie, or even just the station call letters with music.
Thank you for your time,
And they wrote back! (contact info removed to protect the writer from spammers and malcontents....)
Good morning, Amanda. Thank you for taking the time and interest to write.
I hear and understand your concern. It is true, Dr. Hyman would love for our viewers to buy his book – and of course, we would like viewers to do so through WVPT where the money will support the programming cost. The UltraMind Solution program fully outlines for viewers the ideas presented in his book and there is no attempt to sell viewers a specific vitamin or food for which he makes a profit. It is hard to turn on the news today without hearing someone proclaim that making more healthful life choices can improve many aspects of our lives. Dr. Hyman has earned the respect of many of his colleagues in making that point in a manner that most of us can do and understand.
Just like those who give news analysis, financial strategies or exercise tips, this is simply one more piece of information we can all use in making our own decisions about how we can live our best life.
Again, thank so much for writing.
I hope you always find many entertaining, educational and informative programs on WVPT.
Director of Programming
WVPT/WVPY - Virginia's Public Television
"Our job is to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking." Fred Friendly
Only on WVPT! Only because of you!
I'm really disappointed in their response. It clearly indicates that the money takes precedence. I encourage everyone to write to PBS about this show.