Canadian Homeopaths plan astroturf-war

A quick note about something that popped up on my radar…

The logo of Marketplace (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

This website (and just in case – a freezepage ) reveals that the Canadian Society of Homeopaths are planning a response to a forthcoming CBC show, Marketplace, which is running a documentary on Homeopathy. Without seeing the show (it aires on Friday, Jan 14, 2011),  it seems that the Canuck homeopaths are assuming that it puts homeopathy in a negative light (I wonder why?) and they want to get the message out so any interested parties can watch it. Fair enough.

However, their list of actions (sent out via e-mail to their members) reveals that they are also planning to bombard the Marketplace show’s blog with pro-homeopathy comments:

4. Be prepared to leave a comment on the CBC and Marketplace website immediately after the programme airs. Go to 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

They want to get their points in quickly (“leave a comment on the CBC and Marketplace website immediately after the programme airs”) but have perhaps failed to spot that unlike the Grauniad in the UK, the comments on the Marketplace blog are listed most recent first – so the early comments will soon be pushed off the bottom. They also request that their followers post as many short, concise comments as they can – essentially spamming up the comments board.

In point 7, the CSoH also warn members about falling into the same trap that UK homeopaths have fallen into regarding homeopathic for malaria vaccines.

In the second point 7, they go into full-bore, “la-la-la-I can’t hear you” mode.

la la la - I can't hear you!

How we all react to this criticism will determine how much traction this story maintains in the coming weeks and months. We urge you to be calm, be polite, be underwhelmed. Take the moral high ground. Convey that this Marketplace programme is no more than a mild irritant for homeopaths who are providing an important service in your community. It is disappointing that the CBC journalists chose to ignore the reality that is the basis of homeopathy, but that doesn’t affect what we know to be true.

The strength in homeopathy is that it works. We practitioners know it works because we see it every day in our patients and they obviously know it works because they refer their family and friends to homeopathy and they keep coming back when they get ill. Nay-sayers can say “it aint so” until they are blue in the face, but that doesn’t change the fact that homeopathy does work, even if we still don’t know how it works. Full stop. End of discussion. Let’s say what needs to be said to set the record straight and then get back to doing the important work that we do with homeopathy.

Any Canadian sceptics out there may want to keep an eye on how this astroturfing campaign proceeds 😉

11 Responses to Canadian Homeopaths plan astroturf-war

  1. […] up and lets ride into town… or rather if you are so inclined to rational rebuttal… make your voice heard on Homeopathy, and put your money where your molars […]

    • Janice in Toronto says:

      Homeopathy is fraud. If people would learn the least bit about how it “works” they’d see what a sham it is. Unfortunately there are enough fools out there to support the quacks who peddle this woo.

  2. Crommunist says:

    Oh rest assured, we have a very close eye on it 😛 Thanks for this though – good animal choice also

  3. Gary Allan says:

    There are 2 kinds of people: those who understand what is scientific and those who do not. Since they make their living from homeopathic fraud and aren’t well educated in matters of science, homeopaths can continue to deny evidence and to consider anecdote the equivalent of controlled studies. That won’t likely change, but investigative efforts such as those by Marketplace and continued education of the larger portion of society amenable to it, will always be helpful.

  4. Mojo says:

    Interesting that they imply that homoeopathy must work because homeopathic remedies are manufactured and sold by “Big Pharma”:

    “Skeptics belittle Homeopathy as worthless yet the pharmaceutica giant Merck sell homeopathic products.”

    Meanwhile, in another comment on the same programme by a (presumably) different set of homoeopaths:

    Shocked Canadian Homeopaths and Homeopathy Supporters Ask, “Is the CBC Marketplace Show Infiltrated by Pharmaceutical Company Sponsored Skeptics?”

  5. Peter L says:

    What will the CBC do next? Attack honest proprietors of reptile oil?

  6. TR says:

    The CBC piece was Yellow Journalism at best. Homeopaths have a right to give there point of view and to organize a response, especially when the opposing point of view is presented so vividly in a biased, one sided manner.

    • xtaldave says:

      No-one would argue that the homeopaths do not have a right of reply. Unfortunately they chose to reply before the show had even aired. This is somewhat at odds with the usual definition of ‘reply’.

    • TR: Are you familiar with the concept of “false balance”? If not, you shou dlook it up.

      Unfortunately there’s no evidence supporting the idea that homeopathy works. Ever wonder why homeopaths offer only anecdotes and poorly done studies which have been debunked over and over?

      Or are you the person who wants Flat Earth “theory” taught in high school geography classes as if it were a legitimate contender to the plate tectonics of a spherical Earth?

      This wasn’t yellow journalism – it was corretcly exposing homeopathy for the bunkum it is, as well as could be done in only 20 minutes.

  7. […] However, there are already in excess of 100 comments on the 30-second trailer. Part of this is an intentional campaign by homeopaths to troll the comments section and make it look as though CBC’s reporting is reviled by a […]

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