Prescription for Bias
What 48 Hours Didn't Tell the Public About Dr. Mary Ann Block

By Michael Fumento

February 26, 2002
Copyright 2002 Michael Fumento

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Medical stories should rely on expert medical sources. 48 Hours positioned Dr. Mary Ann Block as its primary expert on ADHD. Dr. Block is shown at length with patients in her Texas clinic. She wears a doctor's coat. Desperate parents seek help for their son. But there's a problem. Here's what 48 Hours didn't tell viewers about Dr. Block.

Dr. Block has a commercial interest in saying ADHD is not a biological disorder that can be effectively treated with medication and behavior therapy

Rather's reporting team did not reveal that she sells her own unregulated line of dietary supplements, including CONCENTRATION For-Your-KidsTM. The label on CONCENTRATION For-Your-KidsTM says "Enhances Attention." The marketing blurb describes the product as being "designed to support your child's ability to focus."

Dr. Block is not a M.D.  

Viewers weren't told that she is neither a psychiatrist nor a pediatrician – the most qualified source for a journalist who is reporting on ADHD. Dr. Block is an osteopath whose specialty is listed by the Texas medical licensing authorities as "manipulative therapy." View the record.

Dr. Block's views are contradicted by the nation's leading medical authorities

In the 48 Hours show, Dr. Block tells a reporter ADHD is a "made-up, psychiatric label." Viewers are told that Dr. Block is part of a "vocal minority of doctors who oppose medication" for ADHD treatment. She claims these children are suffering from food allergies, too much sugar or poor parenting. But "48 Hours" doesn't tell the public that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Surgeon General, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Medical Association have reviewed the scientific data and concluded that ADHD is a brain disorder that can be effectively treated with medication and behavior therapy. Even the American Osteopathic Association, representing Dr. Block's specialty, recognizes ADHD.

Dr. Block worked with a group that was founded by the Church of Scientology

In 2001 Dr. Block was a keynote speaker at a Hollywood seminar on children and attention issues hosted by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a group established by the Church of Scientology. In 1999, the vice president of CCHR reportedly coached Dr. Block for an interview about child violence and ADHD drugs on CNN.

Dr. Block has claimed to suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)

Medical authorities, notably the American Medical Association, do not recognize MCS as a clinical disorder. 48 Hours didn't tell the viewers this either.