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Erik Tolsma
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141 followers
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Erik's posts

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The song that's been stuck in my head today

I really need Mars to orbit out of its easy to spot location in the sky so I'll stop wanting to watch The Martian every night.

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It's done!
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I don’t know how many CAA-ers are on G+ anymore but I wanted to spread the word about something that really pissed me off this morning. Charlotte Five is a website and daily newsletter run by the Observer, mostly aimed at reaching millennials I think. This morning they featured an article titled “Reflexology 101 for the uninitiated” which read like a press release for reflexology. Absolutely no effort at questioning the claims made about it. http://www.charlottefive.com/reflexology-101-uninitiated/

Reach the editors at charlottefive@charlottefive.com if you’d like to tell them that this is unacceptable. Also it would be great if someone could post this to the CAA facebook page for me so we can put some real pressure on them.

Here’s the reply I hammered out this morning as soon as I read it (and yes, I stole a couple of sentences from the Skeptoid episode transcript on reflexology).


I read agape the Reflexology 101 article you featured in your newsletter this morning, unable to believe you would really publish such an unquestioning paean to a faux-medical foot masage. This article is irresponsible and endangers the health of your readers. I scoured the page for any sign that it was at least sponsored content, but the only hint of it is that the writer is listed as a “public relations and marketing pro.” However, as a news source, you have a duty to at least present facts in anything you publish, and you failed in this primary mission.

Did you follow the link to the Charlotte Reflexology website that you included in the article? Did you notice they have to include a long disclaimer at the bottom of every page pointing out that reflexology is not to be used as a medical treatment – because making medical claims about it is illegal? And yet your article naively tosses out that reflexology can help with “multiple sclerosis, cancer and coronary issues.” Maybe next time you’ll check the Observer’s own archives: the article at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/article9123020.html at least tries to provide a rational viewpoint, if only as a footnoote. Consider the point therein, “a 2011 review found there is not good clinical evidence to suggest it’s effective ‘for any medical condition'”, and then consider the credulous tone of your new article. This is the central risk of reflexology: that a person will turn to reflexology in the belief that it can treat an illness, at the expense of proper medical treatment. This delay of treatment can result in serious injury or death.

In the end, I can’t tell if this was a press release from local reflexologists looking for free press and you guys bit on it for easy content, or if this was actually meant to be a researched article to educate your readers. Honestly, I don’t know which is worse. All I know is I’ve lost all faith in the editorial oversight of Charlotte Five, and you’ve probably lost me as a reader. Do you have it in you to research and publish a piece on the potential dangers of so-called “alternative medicine”?

Erik Tolsma, Charlotte

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Who wants to play newspaper photo caption mad libs?!?!

The <Person> greets <Person> before a <Event> session <Day of week> at the <Event> in <Location>.
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Glad I played such a big role in helping Charlotte win this very prestigious award.

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Tonight I celebrated with a duchesse
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Just got marshmallow on my phone. First impression: everything looks too cartoony

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Just when I think I've come to terms with living in the South, I encounter this monstrosity in the paper
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I got mail today addressed to four different households. One was mine, one was down my street, and two were packages addressed to houses on a completely different street. Go home mail carrier, you're drunk. #USPS.

(and how much of my mail is now scattered through the neighborhood?)
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