Copyright: The Dairy Education Board Text Only

Sunday, September 19, 1999


      To read every word in each daily edition of the New York Times would take the average reader many hours. In this day and age, most people do not have time to do that. How do most people read newspapers? They usually scan them, that's how, taking in headlines, accompanying photographs, reading a paragraph or two of each story.

On Tuesday, September 14, 1999, the New York Times reported the calcium/milk controversy. While it takes courage for a newspaper like the New York Times to even suggest that such a controversy exists, their coverage of the ongoing debate was anything but heroic or balanced.



      Author Mary Murray's story began on page one of the Science section and continued on page 4. Illustrating the story were photographs of two advertisements. One was a dairy industry GOT MILK mustache ad. The other was an ad placed by the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine.


      The single caption shared by both photos was:

"Dueling ads make contradictory claims on milk and osteoporosis."

One ad took up 7.8 square inches, while the other was nearly three times as large at 21.7 inches.

In one ad, the text could not be read, save with a powerful magnifying glass. The other ad was blown up large enough so that New York Times readers could read every single word including the small print.

Guess which ad was the tiny one, impossible to read?



      The lead story in the entertainment section of Tuesday's New York Times contained a headline running the entire page, and part of that headline read:


A review of that story makes absolutely no reference to the land of milk and honey. The story is a book review of a man who left Ireland for the dream of America. The United States represents a land of opportunity to immigrants, but Israel was the land of milk and honey.


      Even sports fans received their daily dose of milk by the New York Times free plug in Tuesday's Sport Section. A page-4 column by Richard Sandomir reported the on and off court successes of Venus and Serena Williams.

The Williams Twins

The author writes:

"CBS should have taken out full-page newspaper ads to thank the Williamses for their good Nielsen deeds. But that was left to…the National Fluid Milk Promotion Board which used the sisters to ask, 'GOT MILK?' With the two sisters together, the ad says: "One cup. Two straws, Please."


      The New York Times will be rewarded by their shilling, by many thousands of dollars of future milkstache ads.


      Mary Murray interviewed me three weeks before for her story. I offered her study after study, reference after reference demonstrating that in order for calcium in food to be absorbed, an equal amount of magnesium must also be present. Green vegetables are high in calcium and magnesium in just the right proportions. Milk has plenty of calcium but very little magnesium. Nations with the highest rates of bone disease are the ones consuming the greatest amounts of milk and dairy products.

These important points were conveniently left out of her story.

The New York Times article reported the 78,000-nurse study by Harvard researcher, Diane Feskanich, Ph.D. Dr. Feskanich studied 78,000 nurses over 12 years, monitoring their diets and keeping track of their bone fractures. Contrary to dairy industry propaganda, the Harvard Nurse study revealed that the women who drank two or more glasses of milk a day had a significantly increased risk of hip and forearm fracture compared with those who drank less milk. Although this TRUTH runs counter to dairy industry lies, the New York Times writer incredulously attempts to degrade the largest study in the history of mankind! Her agenda is made clear by such biased reporting.

In order to dispute the study, she interviewed two scientists/employees of the dairy industry. Dr. Bess Dawson Hughes is the director of Tuft University's Bone Laboratory. Her colleague, Robert Heaney, appears on the back of a National Fluid Milk Mustache brochure as the dairy industry expert.

Dr. Heaney has a long history of receiving financial support from the dairy industry, despite the fact that he published a paper indicating that only 25% of the calcium in milk is actually absorbed.

Mary Murray also ignored the protein link. Too much protein (milk is liquid meat) creates an acid-condition in the bloodstream which must be neutralized. The body does so by leeching calcium out of the bones.


That's the conclusion of most physicians, Murray tells us in the opening paragraphs of her article. What reporting! She gives us the conclusion before we read the contrary evidence.

Doctors of America, please answer this question. If a woman loses one percent of her bone density each year after menopause, that must mean that the calcium comes out of the bones, is carried by the bloodstream, and is lost forever.

Why does the body not re-absorb this calcium?

Do you imagine that calcium ions from milk wave hello and goodbye to calcium ions from bones? Does this make medical or physiological sense?

T. Colin Campbell's is a respected nutritional biochemist at Cornell University. Dr. Campbell's comments were also included in the story:

"When you look at the research you have to start wondering what it is about this food."

Dr. Campbell points out that in other countries, including China, where he performed the China Study (referred to by Jane Brody of the New York Times as the "Cadillac of Nutritional Studies)," women consume significantly less calcium than American women yet suffer fewer fractures late in life. If calcium is so important, he asked, how can that be?

"If you look at intakes of calcium around the world, you find the higher the intakes, the higher the osteoporosis rates," he said. "Dairy won't protect against osteoporosis."

Thanks, New York Times!

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK - The Deadly Poison
Executive Director
Dairy Education Board

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