Accuracy in Media

World AIDS Day came and went on December 1. Typically, stories questioned whether U.S. taxpayers were spending enough. William Douglas of Knight Ridder Newspapers emphasized that “some public health officials and AIDS activists” were disappointed with the amount of money being spent by the Bush Administration. But if the public realized how much is being spent on AIDS, at the expense of other more serious diseases, they might erupt in protest.

The FAIR Foundation, led by Richard Darling, is trying to get out the truth about the favoritism given to AIDS over other diseases. His group is considering paid ads on cable and network TV in 2006 to expose the exorbitant funding of AIDS.

Trying to appear compassionate, the Bush White House staged an event on World AIDS Day, drawing attention to spending billions of dollars on the disease. But is it too much? And where did World AIDS Day come from anyway? It was declared by the U.N.’s World Health Organization in 1988. The organization that gave us the oil-for-food scandal wants us to believe it’s competent in the matter of global diseases. A global designation causes people to think that the U.N. should have a role in tackling the problem. Hence, more money for Kofi Annan & Company. 

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Ernest Istook raised concerns about disparities in funding back in 1997. “AIDS is a horrible disease, but so are many others which impact many more people,” he noted. In the media, ABC’s John Stossell has dared to question whether AIDS gets too many federal tax dollars.

A March 1, 2004, report made the argument in detail, noting the “already abundant funding for AIDS research” versus that for other diseases. It noted that in 2000, 4.5 million Americans were suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and that, by contrast, the number of people with AIDS was less than 400,000.

The authors say, “Alzheimer’s Disease is an American health care problem that is magnitudes of order larger than AIDS.  The prevalence of AIDS in the United States is increasing for a good reason: treatment is now very effective.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Alzheimer’s Disease.  The prevalence is increasing due to more new cases.  Unlike AIDS, there is no good treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and, unlike AIDS, its cause is still in question.  It is evident that more funding is needed for Alzheimer’s Disease research.  If the funding levels for AIDS research increase, then the opportunity cost will be less funding for a more urgent health problem: Alzheimer’s Disease.” 

According to the FAIR Foundation, NIH research money budgeted per death is $162,790 for AIDS versus $10,245 for Alzheimer’s.

The reason for the disparity is obvious: AIDS affects homosexuals, who are disproportionately powerful in the media. They engineer sympathetic coverage of victims of the disease, guaranteeing more federal funding.

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