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Skeptimedia

Manipulating the Media

to Promote Quackery
 

7 July 2010. Rashid Buttar, the osteopath who promotes the fantasy that the cause of all chronic disease is "toxicity," now promotes himself as a "World Renowned Controversial Doctor" with a bestseller providing "Information that Mainstream Media Is Unwilling to Air." You, too, could join in the deception by buying space on PRWeb. For as little as $80 you could send out an announcement about your Nobel prize nomination. (I'll nominate you for free.)

Buttar's press release begins:

It’s rare for new authors to become best sellers quickly, yet that’s exactly what Dr. Rashid A. Buttar has done with his book, “The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away: Simple Actions to Shift Your Body and Mind to Optimum Health for Greater Longevity.”

What Buttar doesn't reveal is his intricate scheme to provide some basis for his claim to quick fame. Dr. Stephen Barrett has that story. Buttar asked those on his e-mail list to download a free electronic copy of his book and promise to post a review on Amazon.com or elsewhere. In exchange, he would send them a free hard copy of the book. Here's an excerpt from Buttar's e-mail request:

For anyone receiving this email, you have "earned" a copy of the actual book as far as I'm concerned. So if you want your actual hard back copy of the book as well as the electronic copy, all you have to do is go to this link below and simply enter your email and mailing information. There is absolutely NO charge, not even shipping or handling. Why am I doing this? Because I need your help to spread the word about the book and it's message. I'm looking at the book as the seed and you as the farmer who will plant and nourish this seed and help it sprout roots and branches and become a mighty tree.

Now, a few people have already wanted to pay for the book so as to contribute to the foundation and the cause. That is truly appreciated. But you don't have too...in fact, I don't expect you to. But I DO expect you to keep the promises you make me. And by requesting a hard back copy of the actual full edition of my book, the promise you are making is the following:

....You promise to immediately begin reading the electronic copy of the book and write an authentic review for Amazon.com or any other book review site....

Buttar's staff then bought hard copies from Amazon for all those who responded. Boom. The book rose "to #58 in the "Health, Mind & Body" category and #246 overall, and 22 out of 23 reviews were "5-star" (the highest rating)."*

Somebody may not be telling the truth. There are only 25 5-star reviews (out of 28) on Amazon.com, but Buttar's website for the book says that more than 7,000 copies have been sold already.*

On 8 July 2010, Buttar's book ranked #721 in books. There was only one one-star review (the lowest ranking possible). It reads:

Dr. Buttar is a well-known anti-vaccinationist who sells extremely dubious "de-toxification" treatments, including dangerous chelation. People complain about Big Pharma while snake-oil salesman rake in money left and right on useless, and often dangerous, "alternative" treatments. Be skeptical of practitioners like this guy. They only consider you cured once your wallet is empty.

The single 2-star review says:

I don't question Dr. Buttar's competence as a physician; however, this book largely repeats what can be learned elsewhere. Eat properly, excercise, avoid stress and environmental toxins. Much of the text is taken up with touting his chelation therapy and proprietary products, both of which are very expensive.

The single 4-star review says:

Among his many, many talents, I think Dr. Buttar and his staff excel in marketing. Those who consider his marketing techniques might have more to learn about selling a product than curing disease.

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* AmeriCares *

 


Skeptimedia is a commentary on mass media treatment of issues concerning science, the paranormal, and the supernatural. Skeptimedia replaces  Mass Media Funk and Mass Media Bunk. Those blogs are now archived. »Skeptimedia archives

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