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Dynamic Chiropractic – March 26, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 07

From the Bully Pulpit

By Garrison Pomeroy, President, ChiroUSA.com
Dr. Rondberg announced in his "Publisher's Perspective" in the February issue of The Chiropractic Journal that he was launching an "investigation" of Chiro America and myself that forces a response. I, and the organization I represent, join a litany of dedicated people and organizations that have recently fallen out of favor with Dr. Rondberg.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Dr. Rondberg's agenda is to cause dissention to further fragment the profession through antagonism and dogmatic self-promotion of his own products and causes.

I contacted Dr. Rondberg in March 1994 to ask for his support of my idea: to begin a public relations and advertising campaign that would be affordable for all doctors yet reach millions in popular magazines with the chiropractic message.

He absolutely refused to support the project unless I promised him two percent of the monthly gross income from Chiropractic America. In 1994, he led me to believe that without his support I could never accomplish what I saw as a critical step for the future of chiropractic.

Although he stated that he never endorsed any product or service for less than two percent of the gross income, we settled on 1 percent of the company's gross income paid monthly, plus we agreed to buy a full-page ad in The Chiropractic Journal every month. This bought me a column in his journal and the endorsement of the WCA.

In his "Publisher's Perspective," Dr. Rondberg made some very inaccurate and misleading statements that were malicious, but, more interestingly, made no sense. For instance, he insinuated that I held back information; that he had no knowledge of my activities. For over two years, Chiropractic America ran more than 24 national, full-page, four-color ads in People Magazine, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Working Mother, Country Living, Redbook, Home Magazine, Women's Day, etc., and well over 1,000 television and radio commercials on national cable and syndicated radio talk shows, all telling the consumer public about the benefits of chiropractic. We had several PR articles published in thousands of newspapers during that same time. I not only personally talked with him about this, but published this information in his newspaper.

He asserted that "I discussed plans for a national toll-free number to route calls to the nearest doctor." He knows perfectly well that in 1996 we set up a telephone platform to route callers to doctors' offices. (This system is still in place. Call 800-888-7871 today and test it.) Again, this was something I wrote about in his paper and information he published for nearly five years.

Unfortunately for the program and for chiropractic, managed care was costing the project many members, because the doctors did not understand the importance of advertising, even if they weren't listed in some of the HMO provider directories in their community. The doctors decided to spend their advertising dollars on HMO applications instead of joining our advertising cooperative. There wasn't much I could do about that other than use my column to let chiropractors know what was being done.

Each month I wrote my column in his paper and ran a full-page advertisement. The point of the column was to update the profession on what Chiropractic America was doing and accomplishing. Reading Dr. Rondberg's comments, one would come to the conclusion that he never read his own newspaper!

Dr. Rondberg knew all this. All he had to do for an updated report of the membership numbers was to apply a little second-grade math to his monthly commission check."

The back issues of The Chiropractic Journal demonstrate that we kept the profession well informed via our full-page ads and the articles in my monthly column. Additionally, Mark Victor Hanson was featured nearly every day for two years in national television commercials that I produced. This too was published in my column, as was my desire to hire a national health care PR firm to create and air public service announcements (PSAs), etc.

Unfortunately, I was not able to sell the profession on the idea using his newspaper as a forum.

By 1997, the membership numbers dropped due to the economy of the profession. I wrongfully deduced that by running full-page chiropractic ads in People, Newsweek, Better Homes and Gardens, etc., the chiropractic profession would join the effort in droves. Instead, doctors continued to drop out of the program, citing lack of support from their colleagues.

Dr. Rondberg knew all this. All he had to do for an updated report of the membership numbers was to apply a little second grade math to his monthly commission check. Through his insinuations, Dr. Rondberg has purposely misled the profession on these issues.

Staying with my goal of bringing chiropractic to the forefront of the natural health care revolution, I changed gears. We built the very first chiropractic website for the membership and offered individual websites - the nation's only advertised website at the time. The program could no longer afford full-page ads or television commercials, but we still provided valuable services that we believed would attract enough doctors to allow resumption of the full-page ads. We provided websites and negotiated for added services, like free subscriptions to In-Touch (our newsletter), free web hosting, and the Neuro-Patholator( for the member's websites. We spent what we could afford to promote the website and provide newsletters and PR for the members.

While doing all of this I took the initiative to protect the rights of chiropractors and their patients in the courts. I fought in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in New Jersey to reverse a bad law that victimized chiropractors and their patients. "Dateline NBC" reported this lawsuit as it resulted in the reversal of bad laws in 17 states.

"I still firmly believe that a national PR and advertising campaign is essential for the future of the profession."

This is why I stay with it and work to convince the profession that it is essential that the public understands all that chiropractic offers.

Now I have several questions for Dr. Rondberg:

  1. In reviewing the WCA's 1999 nonprofit tax return, I discovered that The Chiropractic Journal is apparently not part of the WCA. Can you explain the relationship of the two entities? Where and to whom does all that advertising revenue from The Chiropractic Journal go?

     

  2. What percentage of your CBS Insurance Company income is used for promoting chiropractic to the public?

     

  3. How many times did you ask me to use my column to denounce the ICA and others, or to publicly renounce my relationship with them?

     

  4. To what extent have you gone into the legal arena to protect the rights of the practicing doctors that you "report" to, sell insurance to, or take donations from?

     

  5. Have you ever sued anyone other than your own colleagues or competitors for reasons other than your own gains?

     

  6. When have you worked to increase public awareness of chiropractic, its cost effectiveness and health benefits to society, other than by selling something?

     

  7. From what other companies and products do you take a percentage of their gross income in exchange for an endorsement from you and the WCA?

     

  8. Why aren't my endorsement payments or anyone else's listed anywhere on the 1999 tax return the WCA filed with the state of Arizona?

     

  9. Have you ever reported these arrangements to the WCA members or the WCA Board of Directors?

     

  10. Do you think this behavior is ethical or gives you credibility?

     

  11. How do you justify not financially supporting a PR campaign for chiropractic?

     

  12. What is your insurance underwriter's rating, and how many companies have dropped you or made it financially impossible for you to compete?

     

  13. Do any of your political efforts directly benefit your readers or do they primarily benefit you?

     

  14. Do you think that constantly bashing and fighting with your colleagues from your bully pulpit will have any lasting positive affects on society and the chiropractic profession?

I only wish you would spend as much time trying to make your own candle burn brighter, rather than try your best to blow everyone else's out.

I feel that my lack of signing on to your jihad against the ICA and others is the most likely motive for your attack on Chiropractic America. As a result, I have simply become one more in the long and growing list of chiropractors and chiropractic supporters that you have decided to "expose."

I only wish you would spend as much time trying to make your own candle burn brighter, rather than try your best to blow everyone else's out. Chiropractic can ill afford to have many more candles blown out.

Lastly, who's next, which advertiser, which well-intentioned, supposed friend of yours is next to fall out of favor and be exposed to your irrational wrath? Who will immediately follow the ICA and Chiropractic America?

The saddest part of this issue is that your attacks keep the profession's attention away from the real issues facing us.

Garry Pomeroy
President, ChiroUSA.com

 


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