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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 26, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 20

August 27, 1990

By Editorial Staff

Dynamic Chiropractic
21541 Surveyor Circle
Huntington Beach, CA. 92646

Dear Don:

The August issue of The Chiropractic Journal, which is published by Dr. Terry Rondberg, contains a letter to the editor which attacks my integrity. The publication, which claims to be "Dedicated to Fairness in Communication," on its masthead violated some cardinal rules of truth and propriety in its carrying of the so-called "letter," for investigation points the fact that the critical letter was probably a malicious concoction by the publication or parties unknown.

Let me give you the basis of my accusation.

When I read the "letter" in The Chiropractic Journal which stated falsely that I was an owner of a competitive publication, Dynamic Chiropractic, and the perpetrator of some kind of imaginary plot to destroy Dr. Peter Fernandez' operation, I decided to call "Robert Marsh, D.C." of Los Angeles, the purported writer of the letter.

In an effort to reach the good doctor, I found that I could not find him in either the ACA or ICA directories. So I called the Los Angeles area phone company and checked with information operator, only to learn there is no Dr. Robert Marsh listed. Next, I attempted to locate the chiropractor by contacting the California Board of Examiners, but then I learned to my surprise (really no surprise at all) that there was no Dr. Robert Marsh licensed in the state of California. (See letter from the director of the California Board of Examiners).

Now, this looks very suspicious, doesn't it?! A highly critical letter in The Chiropractic Journal defending Dr. Fernandez, making libelous charges against me -- and the writer can't be found! Highly unusual, isn't it?!

Can it be that Robert Marsh, D.C. of Los Angeles doesn't exist? Not a pretty picture for the publication, is it?

I submit that The Chiropractic Journal has a responsibility to not only PRINT THE TRUTH, but and obligation NOT TO MANUFACTURE STORIES, INVENT DOCTORS, PERPETRATE A PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO ATTEMPT TO DESTROY THE CREDIBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS, and finally, BE RESPONSIBLE AND HONEST WITH ITS READERS.

Could it be that there never was a letter to the editor? Could it be that the entire matter was fabricated in an attempt to deceive the profession? Could it be that The Chiropractic Journal feels the heat of consensus building across the profession which is counter to its sponsors' goals and objectives? Could it be that the self-interest of The Journal OWNERS... (who reap the profit of their enterprises) is at stake and they are trying to re-direct criticisms which have begun to build around some of their positions on various issues? Or, giving The Journal the benefit of the doubt, could it be that some outside individual or group is behind this "plan" and are manipulating The Journal into publishing this type of manufactured "letter to the editor" knowing that The Journal does nothing to verify the facts or assertions of these letters? Regardless of the reasons for why things are done, there needs to be some accountability for the actions of a "publication" which purports to bring news to the field.

The Chiropractic Journal accused me of owning Dynamic Chiropractic. That's pure rubbish; it's the typical type of lie used to smokescreen the truth; it's an age-old tactic, the same used by the AMA when it accuses chiropractic of "quackery".

Anyone with even sub-marginal intelligence would know that Dynamic Chiropractic is a wholly owned entity of the Motion Palpation Institute, which is a NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION. Therefore, any reasonable person would conclude that it would be impossible for an individual to "OWN" controlling interest in that publication. This is not the first time that this tabloid has attempted to insinuate that I own Dynamic Chiropractic. If anyone is interested, all they have to do is check with the California Non-Profit Corporation Bureau, and the facts will demonstrate that I, nor any "individual," OWNS Dynamic Chiropractic. But why would a publication that calculates to twist the truth bother to obtain the real facts?!

Secondly, in an attempt to build a case where none exists, this "fictitious" doctor (or publication) states that I have attacked Dr. Fernandez. Is the unknown writer who is defending Dr. Fernandez suffering from a guilt complex? Please have the anonymous writer show where I or the ACA has in any way attacked individual practice promoters? The ACA and I have spoken out with vigor and determination to expose those practice consultants who are exploiting young, impressionable students with contracts they can ill afford and are unprepared to evaluate from a true business perspective. Unfortunately, also many DC's in practice are enticed with "million dollar promises" and end up giving a percentage of their yet to be earned gross to the "consultant." By the time they realize they made a mistake, they also realize that they signed a non-cancelable legal contract.

I have my opinions about some of the abusers. But attack specific promoters -- no, I have not done that; their actions speak for themselves.

While I have never pointed to anyone specifically, I have sounded a warning to students and doctors in an effort to help insulate them from possible financial ruin. As a service to the profession, I have asked them to self-discipline, to keep from tarnishing their professional image. I have cautioned them against getting into situations which may cause personal stress and despair.

My efforts are not directed against individuals. Rather, they are to motivate state and national journals to print editorials supporting the leaders of our profession who have the courage of their convictions to speak out against those procedures which may be profitable for the individual entrepreneur, but destructive for the profession. And don't let anyone tell you I am against practice education and development counsel. What I am against are promoters who teach unscrupulous methods to victimize patients and/or victimize the doctors who sign up for their courses.

We need to support those individuals who are trying to create awareness in the profession; to motivate practitioners to refrain from, as Mark Twain so ably stated, "taking the path of least resistance which makes men and rivers crooked."

When are all the chiropractic journals going to issue serious challenges to the exploiters who cause the entire profession to retrogress and be stigmatized by procedures and promotions which cannot withstand close scrutiny?

It seems to me that an ethical standard among journals might be in order. I believe that every journal has a responsibility to check out as thoroughly as possible each and every story. In those instances where character assassinations are part of the story or letter to the editor, then the journal should at least provide the individual with an opportunity to respond, if so desired. Surely, The Chiropractic Journal could have inquired as to the validity of the comments on ownership, as well as having checked on the facts relative to the other issues, if the publisher had wanted to (as if they did not already know the truth).

It seems to me that The Chiropractic Journal is the worst offender of all the publications in chiropractic. It thrives on THE DOUBLE TALK SYNDROME. It speaks of "Live and Let Live," then spends the greatest part of its tabloid space denigrating, denouncing and disparaging individuals who do not agree with its philosophy or position on issues. It is hard for an individual to win in a battle against a publication which is determined to present its viewpoint. Unquestionably, the pen is mightier than the sword, but one publication such as The Chiropractic Journal will not be successful in its yellow reporting if the remaining publications seek to print the truth and editorialize the issues for the entire profession to judge on their merits.

This letter, which is being sent to all journals, will in no way change the situation relative to The Chiropractic Journal, but hopefully the clear and undisputed fact of knowing that The Chiropractic Journal had to know that the letter was from a fictitious doctor, and that the content was totally and completely without validity make it clear to all the other chiropractic publications that there is more to this than meets the eye. It is one thing to make an honest error; it is quite another to undertake a deliberate campaign to discredit someone. In this case, the facts should be patently clear to anyone who is knowledgeable about the INTENT, OWNERSHIP, GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND POSITIONS of The Chiropractic Journal.

It is clear to me that The Chiropractic Journal's publishers want to create:

  1. A third chiropractic organization, which in my opinion is destructive to the entire profession -- a move which is ego- motivated.

  2. A national tabloid which is dedicated to publishing a jaundiced view of chiropractic, supportive of FSCS, SCASA, and the "straight movement." (That is their prerogative, but they should not try to hide behind a banner of "UNITY AND PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE.")

  3. A method of patient recruitment which will not only generate significant dollars for its OWNERS under the guise of research ... but thank goodness is currently being questioned and challenged in many states.
Be that as it may, the issue is not that they are doing whatever they are doing, but an attempt is being made to cover up these questionable activities. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion; I have mine, they have theirs. However, mine is stated clearly with my signature, theirs is masqueraded as a "letter to the editor" or as a majority opinion and objective editorial, when it is neither. It is all a charade, and should be recognized for what it is.

For me, I will stand on my record of accomplishment for ACA and the chiropractic profession. I will continue to speak out when issues of ethics and exploitation are uncovered. I will continue to bring to the forefront those procedures and scams that will undermine the credibility of the entire profession for the sake of the financial gain of the exploiter.

The mere fact that my position is causing some distress to those who might be "uncomfortable" about exposed, could cause them to alter their programs so as to lessen their vulnerability and exposure. I hope so.

Those practice consultants who are honest and ethical are not screaming "FOUL" ... rather, they are trying to develop guidelines which practice consultants can follow in order to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding. They should be given credit for their courage in beginning this professional cleansing, which has been needed for so long. Haven't we learned from the lessons of the antitrust trial, where we initially lost not because the AMA was any less guilty, but rather because a JURY who heard the same evidence was so outraged by the practice management procedures (which were not even part of the legal issue) that they found in favor of the AMA.

In conclusion, I offer the following challenge to those detractors who delight in yellow journalism: Let's take our cases to a jury of our peers. You defend your position and I will defend mine; I am willing to risk it ... are you? The jury selection should be determined by random selection of field practitioners who are the ultimate victims of the guest for money by exploitation, dollars be deceit, and patients by propaganda. I believe that the vast majority of our profession is composed of honest, ethical, and clinically competent practitioners who feel frustrated because they are incapable of doing anything to change this course of destruction, which has been charted by those with less than honorable intentions.

In the final analysis, the court of public opinion will determine who are the guilty, who are the innocent and who have had the integrity to speak up.

Sincerely,

Louis Sportelli, D.C.

LS/jas
Enclosure

cc: National Journals
College Presidents
ACA Board


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This is to certify, pursuant to Section 162 of the Business and Professions Code, that I, Vivian R. Davis, Executive Director of the California State Board of Chiropractic Examiners have custody of official records reflecting chiropractors licensed to practice in California, and that I am charged generally with the Administration and Enforcement of the Laws relating to the practice of Chiropractic under the direction of the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

I do hereby certify that a thorough search of the above records of this board shows that Dr. Robert Marsh of Los Angeles, California is not licensed to practice chiropractic in the state of California.

BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS

Vivian R. Davis
Executive Director

 


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