The War on Chiropractic
You’ve Been Drafted
Like it or not, the war on chiropractic didn’t end with our victory over the AMA, led by Chester Wilk.
It’s ongoing – and chiropractors are the only line of defense in a war between Big Pharma and the AMA for the soul of the American people.
Listen to Dr. J.C. Smith, interviewed by Dr. Guy Riekeman, explain why the time has never been better for chiropractic to break through the media blackout on chiropractic – but only if we all do our part.
See a full transcript of the video below
Dr. Riekeman: JC, we’ve known each other a long time. I consider you one of the most prolific writers in chiropractic and one of the most politically conscious and active people, especially as it relates to the war against chiropractic, especially by the media. What I’m hoping to get out of the interview with you today are two things. One is, what does this war look like? Some people think it’s just a series of random acts that have affected the profession. I interviewed Dr. David Koch and we went back and looked at the first two original court cases, one with D. D. Palmer and the other one with Morikubo.
On a more important level I guess one of the things I’m hoping is … What has been the impact of this on the development, or lack of development you might say, in chiropractic? How’s it impacted the profession? Then secondly, I’m hoping, which I consider you to be the profession’s leading authority on this, the media’s effort as a co-conspirator in this war on chiropractic.
That being said, why don’t we start with the first part of this. I know you’ve written a number of books on this and they’re compelling but maybe we could start with a brief overview of this actual organized conspiracy to slow down or, in some cases, even eliminate the profession.
JC: Yeah, most people don’t realize that this was a conspiracy that went back to early 1900s. In the first half of the 20th century, over 12,000 chiropractors were arrested 15,000 times and 3,300 were sent to prison for practicing without a license. In fact, that was because they … Chiropractic was not licensed in many states, but even when they did they still were throwing them in jail. The last chiropractor was imprisoned in 1975, the year after Louisiana legalized chiropractic.
It all started back with The Medical Mussolini, a man by the name of Morris Fishbein, who actually was the AMA Executive Director from 1924 to 1949. So, for 25 years he controlled the AMA and that’s how … He was such a effective tyrant that he was dubbed The Medical Mussolini; his attitude was such that … For example, here’s a quote, “Scientific medicine absorbs from them that which is good, if there is any good, and then they die.” And he and the AMA decided in 1931 that chiropractic should die and it was them that created this monstrous campaign against us, including Ann Landers and others that were writing for them.
Actually as one writer says, “Fishbein converted a panty-waist professional society into the most terrifying trade association on earth,” which continues today. He was the man who created the medical monopoly which is basically the fourth branch of government, unelected. Nonetheless, during the trial, the Wilk trial, which is what led to his actions, that the chairman of the Committee on Quackery said that “rabid dogs and chiropractors fit into about the same category … they kill people.”
That was the tone that they had; it was like they were persecuting us because it was unscientific and dangerous. But during the Wilk trial, as George McAndrews pointed out, they didn’t produce one injured person. There was no proof of that and it was like an urban legend: unscientific, cult, dangerous, it’s like alligators in the sewer. They just perpetuated that over and over again and that’s what led to the Wilk trial and where all this information came out.
Even the judge, she said in an interview that the hidden agenda in this medical war was money. She said, “Chiropractors compete with doctors, there’s no question about it, it’s basic competition.” It had nothing to do with science or cults or danger, it had to do with money. That’s basically the same thing today considering medical spine care is the leading income maker in all of medicine and there’s no way in high heaven that they want us to cut into that lucrative market even though many, many experts are suggesting that medical spine care is the poster child for inefficient care.
Unfortunately the media is part of the problem because, if you look at it, all the medical shows are hosted by MDs, like Sanjay Gupta, and are all sponsored by Big Pharma that in no way wants a non-drug solution to anything being promoted on their shows. That’s why in my book, The Media War against Chiropractors, I asked a basic question, when was the last time we’ve seen a fair and balanced article about the benefits chiropractic brings an ailing society where back pain is the number one disabling condition in general society, in the military, in the workplace, and now worldwide.
We’re the third largest health profession in the world that deals specifically with non-drug solutions and, of course, we’ve never seen an in-depth … If we do, they usually are articles that are just ripping us; causing strokes or abusing babies or whatever, you know, sex abuse, fraud. That’s the only time we seem to make the news and so consequently the non-drug solution to this worldwide pandemic of pain, which chiropractic has gone unmentioned, which what has that led to? This opioid pandemic. You know that 2,500 teenagers every day begin using opioids that they steal from their mother or buy at schools? This opioid problem is not going away, it’s only going to get larger.
And, of course, there’s an epidemic of epidural shots that are totally unproven, as well as surgery which has been proven to be only effective in less than 25% of cases. Even there, they’re still taking opioids, so this medical war against chiropractors and the media war, is really a war against all people because the best solution is just not getting out there.
Dr. Riekeman: You and I have talked off and on, and I remember one of the most impressive things was you did an analysis on … I believe it was NPR, and how many hours of chiropractic coverage, quote chiropractic coverage, versus other areas. I thought it was a really compelling argument.
JC: I know, we’re just missing in the media. I went to the six favorite shows I listen to, and I love NPR, but of the six all totaled they’ve had over a quarter of a million segments and yet [inaudible 00:06:59] with how many times was chiropractic mentioned? It was like 15 times, which equates to 0.0007 times we’ve been mentioned on NPR. In my next book I have a chapter called “All Things Not Considered.” I mean how can they do articles about back pain, the opioid epidemic, they even talk about unnecessary back surgeries, but they never mention chiropractic. When I’ve written to their executives, I don’t get a response.
Again, so I did a little research, I found out that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which we hear being touted as a sponsor for NPR, well guess who owns that? It’s Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals that owns Purdue Pharmaceuticals which is the biggest manufacturer of opioids. So again, there’s a conflict of interest at NPR, CNN, and [inaudible 00:07:46] because again, that’s the big sponsor, the drug companies.
Dr. Riekeman: One of the names you brought up, I’m glad you brought it up first because I was going to bring it up but I was actually afraid it would throw you into an emotional fit, is Sanjay Gupta. He seems to be a metaphoric target …
JC: He’s a neuro-surgeon and he works at Emory, and yet Doctor Scott Boden who’s a director at Emory Spine Center … He’s the man in 1990 that did the original research debunking the disc theory where they did MRIs on people with and without back pain and in both groups they found bad discs. That was the start of this trend that’s saying maybe it’s not the disc. Then it culminated in 2014 when the Mayo Clinic did a systematic review of all the studies since 1990, which is like 33, and they came to the same conclusion that bad discs are like grey hair, just part of the aging process, totally debunking all these disc surgeries that they’re doing.
Yet Sanjay Gupta has never mentioned that fact to his viewers, nor did he mention he works side by side with Scott Boden at Emory University in the same damn department. When I wrote to him saying why aren’t you mentioning this, I was told that … I was not told anything, but what my book publicist was told is that those are baseless accusations and that I had been banned at CNN. So that’s where investigative journalism gets you if you try to rile the medical giants; they just don’t want to talk about it or they kick you off the air altogether.
Which reminds me of an old saying by Mark Twain, he said it so adeptly, he says, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read them, you’re misinformed.” That’s about how I feel about NPR and CNN now even though I watch both of those programs. It’s a mess.
Dr. Riekeman: I’m surprised that you even got a response.
JC: Well, you know, I never have. The only response I got was through that book publicist and otherwise they just don’t want to talk to you; they’re just not going to do it. I’ve got numerous … In my program, I have numerous articles proving that it’s not just my opinion, but … It’s trash, they just don’t want to talk about it and if they do, it’s only when we’ve done something wrong and even then they make up things like abusing babies and causing strokes or …
We just haven’t had any fair and balanced journalism, that’s the big problem, and I don’t know how we’re going to do it as long as we don’t pay them like Big Pharma is paying them.
I was hoping that … Actually your sports program, the success you’ve had with rugby has gotten more good publicity for us than anything else as far as I can see. That’s just been super that you’ve been able to do that.
Dr. Riekeman: Yeah. One of the things that was always shocking to me when I realized it, that the … Back when Fishbein was around, the AMA made its money by doctors doing cigarette commercials.
JC: That’s right! Lots of people don’t know that, but in 1930 Fishbein made a deal with Big Tobacco that put millions of dollars in his war chest, that’s what financed his war. They were able to use doctored images in public ads touting cigarettes and then Big Tobacco was allowed to have booths at their conventions and ads in the medical journals. That relationship lasted 56 years until 1986, they were still taking money from Big Tobacco even though they knew in 1950 that tobacco was causing cardio-pulmonary disease; lung cancer and heart disease.
Finally, due to the public outcry, they had to give it up, divest themselves. All they did though was jump in bed with another group they call Big Pharma, and that’s where they’ve been pushing the drugs since then.
Dr. Riekeman: Yeah, right, and that’s … Everyone’s always shocked at … It seemed like overnight there were … One day there were no drug commercials, or very few, and the next day there were 90 every hour on the television networks. It seems like it ties back to this contract and this agreement they made with the AMA; as long as they put the side effects in that the AMA was fine with endorsing them to do these drug commercials.
JC: It’s amazing, isn’t it, that they’re in bed with two of the biggest killers mankind’s ever known: Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. You know the opioids alone kill 78 people a day; you combine them with all of medication it’s about 124 people a day die from pharmaceutical drugs and that’s as many as the civilians in Paris who were killed in that bombing last year. That’s happening every day in America but nothing is said because, again, who sponsors the news? Drug companies. Who are the medical journalists? Usually it’s MDs. That would be like having Republicans in charge of all the news media; do you think they’ll ever say anything good about Democrats? That’s the predicament we’re facing, we just don’t have a voice in the media right now.
Dr. Riekeman: What do you suggest we do? I know that probably this is going to be a lot of grass roots and long term effort. I remember reading Ayn Rand, someone had sent in a letter and said, “Given the need for the massive changes in our society, what can one person do to actually make a difference.” She wrote back a beautiful seven page letter, I actually call it … It’s almost a guide to being an intellectual revolutionary. Her first comment is that the first thing you can do is when you hear things being stated that are inaccurate, that you stand up and you just say, “I disagree.” She said if people are intellectually honest they’ll want to know why and change, and if they’re not at least you’ve undercut their confidence the next time around. Then she went though a number of things but a lot of it had to do with writing, sending in pieces to local newspapers, et cetera.
Given that I consider you probably the number one person in our profession on this issue, how does the average chiropractor go about doing this, and how do we organize ourselves together to do something as a profession?
JC: Well, for years now I’ve suggested that we have a PR boot camp to where we get chiropractors, the more outspoken ones, in every state association up the learning curve; bringing in our leaders, talking about the political science or sociology of chiropractic, and talking about the events in this war that we’ve been through.
Dr. Riekeman: By the way, I’ve agreed with you at Life to do that; we are going to put something together with you very quickly, but go ahead.
JC: You mentioned this last year: cognitive dissonance, that’s making people upset with their core values. This is what the Black Lives Matters and Women Matters … In other words, whereas as racism and sexism and anti-Semitism and homophobia and Islamophobia have diverse origins, we can trace chirophobia back to one man. Again, that’s Morris Fishbein. The thing is that the public’s never been informed that this medical bigotry is the function of a political war; it had nothing to do with reality. Until we make that a well-known concept, that you’ve been lied to by the AMA for years, and your favorite medical doctor is not trustworthy, especially when it comes to spinal care, that’s how we’re going to create a cognitive dissonance.
In my book, I actually have all this research showing how MDs are inept at medical training, they don’t know what they’re doing, they just railroad people, and it’s left this wake of disaster and disability behind. But no one in the media is mentioning it, so somehow this is like Jason Deitch, through his social media might be able to do that, if you can do it in 124 characters, I don’t know.
But until we make this idea of chirophobia more pandemic here, that people know that there is a medical bigotry and you’re the collateral damage in this medical … What do say to somebody who’s had three back surgeries they never needed? That’s what I see in here often: people just getting ripped off with surgeries that, again, based on the Boden disc theory, then they live on opioids for the rest of their life, then they’re depressed, they’re unemployed, they’re suicidal. Sometimes they mix all that with too much alcohol and they just don’t wake up. For example, 22 veterans a day die from suicide and, as I mentioned before, 78 people a day die from opioids.
Most of those people … Because the number one reason people take opioids is due to back pain, 30% of them have back pain that has been mismanaged. That’s why we just need to somehow …
If we had a PR boot camp and we had leaders in every state and we have publicists to go and say, look, we need to talk about this and here’s the chiropractic solution. Right now, we’ve been kind of mum, it’s like … Can you imagine civil rights without Martin Luther King? That’s how I feel. We have chiropractic rights and medical rights, but we don’t have an outspoken public figure who can carry the ball in.
I say you and I are getting long in the tooth and we need to start developing some youngsters, if you will, to carry the ball though I don’t find most of them are really that keen about it; most people don’t even read anymore. That’s the real problem we’re having is we have to get some exciting new leadership coming up through the tubes that want to know more than just how to build a practice, which seems to be most of the seminars that I see.
Dr. Riekeman: Sure. Anything else you’d like add? Anything else relative to what we can do, any flags you see out there that are coming for us, things we need to get prepared for versus just reacting?
JC: Well, in the journals, the scientific newsletters and all, as I will present, there’s a lot of criticism of medical spine care. Like I say, when the leading…when Marc Schein (sp?), the leading editor of the back letter says that it’s the poster child for inefficient care, that’s quite a statement. It could have been a lot more harsh but nonetheless … The evidence is there; there’s just a big disconnect between the science evidence and what the public knows because, again, the link between those two is CNN; these medically biased reporters.
That’s why I say with the boot camp, we need to get our own people up the learning curve because that’s why most people … Most people don’t even know who Morris Fishbein is and although he’s the most important non-chiropractor ever to affect the chiropractic profession, and his ghost lingers on.
We need some energetic young chiropractors who want to get involved with political science and pubic speaking and writing and things that you and I’ve been doing for 35 years. We need more, a lot more.
Dr. Riekeman: Thanks. Well, I wish it was only 35 years but I appreciate the compliment. Thanks, JC, I appreciate it very, very much.
JC: I’ll see you then.
Dr. Riekeman: All right, thanks.