Connect with us

Health

You’re Being Fooled: The Problem With ‘Alternative’ News Websites

Published

on

It has become possible for anyone to start a news website. While this has many advantages, both to the creator and to their audience, it also poses some serious problems. On the one hand, people get a voice — the ability to say and share what they want. On the other hand, people can say and share whatever they want — and other people believe it to be truth.

advertisement - learn more

I’ve been running a conscious alternative news platform for over seven years now. In the course of that time, I’ve seen some truly amazing things, and some troubling things, too. But now, more than ever, I believe it’s important for people to recognize the problem with some alternative news websites and to understand what really goes on. They are harming the face of independent news and I feel it needs to stop.

Why Alternative News Is Necessary

It’s not hard to understand why alternative news exists at this point. With the majority of the mainstream media being owned by just five corporations, diverse viewpoints and interpretations of world events have become scarce. And when you understand that most outlets are serving some sort of corporate or political agenda, you start to notice how those biases play out in the representation of certain stories, and even in how frequently they’re covered. Showing certain stories over others, and showing them repeatedly, goes a long way toward shaping public opinion.

Many are unaware of how often important stories are blacked out completely by all of mainstream media. The major pipeline spill that occurred during the Standing Rock protests or the revelation that the Pentagon paid a PR firm to create fake terrorist videos are just two recent examples. Are these not things the people should know about? Why aren’t they being reported on?

This leads us to wonder if there is in fact an agenda to hide this information. And how might that work? Sharyl Atkisson, a former CBS investigative journalist, explained that “astroturf,” or fake grassroots movements, funded by political, corporate, or other special interests, are very effectively manipulating and distorting mainstream media messages.

Further, here is a document declassified by the CIA that outlines their involvement in manipulating media, journalists, authors, films, and more to have “reporters postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources and methods.” The ‘national security’ play has always been a way for these agencies to justify shady actions.

advertisement - learn more

cia snap

Given the shady dealings, agency manipulation, and ownership structure of most of mainstream media, the need for alternative voices is clear. But how should we view those alternative voices? Do we take their work at face value?

The Problems With Alternative News Websites

I have seen a lot in the past seven years and I have seen a movement that is very important lose a lot of credibility — for GOOD reason. It’s easy to dismiss alternative news websites because so many of them so carelessly carry out their work. There are good ones out there, but they are vastly outnumbered by the bad.

I decided to write this because, as someone working within this movement and who cares a lot about creating a better world, I want people to know the truth so they can make informed decisions. As much as I respect many people for what they do, there is an inherent danger in not raising awareness about this. If we expose mainstream media, we should expose alternative media too; it’s only fair. I hope this encourages many of these outlets to do better work.

Given the ease of creating alternative news websites these days, and the ease of making advertising revenue, it’s easy to see why much of the content that gets posted is questionable.

Usually Run by One or Two People

Many alternative news or health websites are run by just one or two people. While this isn’t bad when it’s a passionate person who’s doing work the right way, it can become a problem when that person is simply doing it for a business. They are driven to make money by exploiting a niche market, not a desire to create change, and so they make low quality websites and content so ads can be placed on the website. As you might imagine, it begins to create some or even all of the following issues that I believe do more harm than good to the movement.

Too Driven by Ad Revenue 

Many of the outlets I’ve worked with firsthand are highly driven by ad dollars. While it would be naive to suggest anyone should run a business without making money, since we need money to survive on this planet and simply hosting a website requires it, a desire to do good needs to remain the bottom line. Many outlets will post just about anything to make ad revenue. They will even go so far as to venture completely outside of their initial intention simply to keep up with making funds. I’ve had people ask us to post something on our page for even just 10 or 15 minutes, even after I told them it was a fake or false story. Even when you let them know that a story or health tip is false, they will post it anyway to get as many hits as they can before people figure it out — if they do. And this leads to the next problem.

Copying Content

Since it is typically only one or two people running each of these huge websites and Facebook pages, they can’t possibly write original content each day. And so, the majority of the time, they simply copy and paste the most viral and trendy stories onto their own website. No adding their own thoughts, opinions, insight, etc. — just taking content and adding a little link at the bottom back to the original creators. Now some have legitimate syndicated content partnerships, but this is rare. What typically happens is websites will copy and paste the most viral content each day or simply change the first few lines so the content looks fresh. This entire process takes away from the few websites that do write original content and pay a lot of money to do so.

Taking other website's content.

Taking other website’s content.

The next time you read an article from an alternative news website, have a look at where the content originally came from. Check to see how many times that thread goes back from website to website to website. Often the content originates from six or seven sites back. Certainly at CE we see our original content posted on other websites all the time, sourced back to another site that took it from us (and another site, and another site).

Risk for False Claims and Poor Fact Checking

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 2.34.40 PM

False Information being spread

Since many of these websites are run by one person, they take their content from other websites. And since their primary objective is to make as much ad revenue as possible, they often look for the most trendy or viral topic and repost without ever checking to see if the story is true. Health research, political scandals, lifestyle suggestions, and more — these topics often contain false information and there is no research behind it! People then spread this ‘exciting’ information, and since things can go viral quite easily, false information about real issues travels all over the web, all in the name of carelessness and profit. The very things they expose the mainstream for doing, they are doing themselves.

Check the article for sources, legitimate ones. Are there any? Do they link to credible information? Oftentimes you will find they don’t.

Why It Has to Change

People are starting to realize en mass that the mainstream media has its own agendas, and rarely, if ever, do they align with our well-being. They are starting to move away from this sponsored, biased content and looking for other sources. The question becomes, what will they find instead? The bevy of alternative news websites that aren’t being run ethically or with integrity? Alternative sites that kill the credibility of the entire movement because of the way they title, image, and spread content that is false?

As a media organization that spends a lot of time doing what we do, hiring the necessary people to make sure work is done right and articles researched properly, we have to stand up and fight against laziness and greed, and we have to fight for the truth. It’s only fair. How could we possibly justify holding mainstream media accountable but letting alternative media slide?

So now you know. You know what to look out for and what to do. My advice is, stop supporting and sharing content that isn’t sourced or well researched. Sharing it only further denigrates this movement and supports these bad habits.


If you recognize how good alternative websites operate compared to the not so good ones, awesome! You are aware and on the ball. Support those sites! If you love what we do here at CE, check out our funding campaign for CE NEWS, as we are taking our high quality media to the next level! http://www.cenews.tv

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Advertisement
advertisement - learn more

Awareness

Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

Published

on

Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

advertisement - learn more

Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading

Awareness

Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

Published

on

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

advertisement - learn more

Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading

Awareness

WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

Published

on

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

advertisement - learn more

It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading
advertisement - learn more
advertisement - learn more

Video

EL