As wild as claims can sometimes be on broadcast commercial messages, the true contemporary wild wild west is the internet. It is good to see that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention to what goes on there and is taking the snake oil sales operations to task. It is taking enforcement actions against 11 companies for making false claims about cancer remedies via internet advertising. Six are subject to settlement agreements and five are headed for court.
RBR/TVBR observation: According to an Associated Press report, an attorney for one of these companies is defending the advertising on grounds that a remedy is not advertised as being effective; just that it was at one time used by “ancient Chinese and Native Americans.” Great – market something useless to highly distressed people facing the most fearsome diagnosis of our era, people at their absolute most vulnerable – and try to worm out of your comeuppance on semantics. We don’t know what may happen in a court of law, but we hold this attempt to wrap snake oil sales in the First Amendment in contempt. We hope we never see or hear this sort of material on a broadcast outlet, and we’re proud of the fact that to date we never have.