If you haven’t seen it yet, Carl V. Phillips has been recently been posting his thoughts on the strangeness of the odd use of peer-reviewed journal articles in the field of public health, and in the midst of doing so, rightly criticized the CDC and the FDA for their complicity in the pursuit of junk science and harmful public health policies. You should go and read his posts “What is peer review really” (part 1) and (part 2), followed by CDC refines their lies about kids and e-cigarettes (which contains a copy of the article in question!), his post on the very embarrassing CDC press release, and his post about the FDA’s complicity in the CDC’s lies.

Briefly, Phillips questions the integrity of the peer review process in academic journals putatively dedicated to the field of public health, with special notes towards the CDC’s claims in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research erroneously reporting that trying e-cigarettes is the same as using them regularly, and argues convincingly that articles published on these topics are rarely, if ever, free from ideological bias.

What Phillips does not touch on in these excellent posts is why this kind of bad science, and bad scientific reporting, is being promoted. Phillips mentions ANTZ (anti-nicotine/tobacco zealots) as one possible reason. However, it seems to me that any system that rewards lies, improper summaries of facts, incorrect reporting of evidence, and weak analysis of data, can only work to the benefit of those organizations already entrenched within the circles of power: the big tobacco companies.

Why, exactly, the CDC and the FDA are misleading the public and funneling money into the pockets of organizations which are already that powerful is a mystery yet to be resolved.

What do you think?