Huffington Post Health Watch: Dr. Dean Ornish's Infomercial
Dr. Dean Ornish seems to be getting too much inspiration from other Huffington Post Living Section bloggers, who appear on the site when they need to promote themselves and their friends.
In what can be described as nothing other than an informercial, Ornish, the Post's Medical Editor, posted "Sharecare Builds a Web 3.0 Bridge to Better Health." In it, Ornish basically talks up a venture that he seems to believe is a cutting edge idea: a website that offers health advice and information to patients.
You can read the ad if you have the stomach for such blatant press self-promotion. Basically, Ornish describes joining forces with the likes of Oprah's Dr. Oz and Deepak Chopra to provide expert advice. In addition:
"Sharecare will include many points of view from people who have similar interests, concerns, and experiences. Peer to peer social networking functions will allow users to talk with one another about common issues, problems and successes within the context of expert content. Being able to communicate directly with others who have gone through the experience of illness not only gives different perspectives but also provides a level of compassion, empathy, intimacy, and shared strength that is itself healing."
Of course, Ornish doesn't exactly describe what he means by "web 3.0." Does he mean social networking and support groups? That's web 1.0-2.0. Revolution Health, founded by former AOL head Steve Case, has been at it for years now.
It's not clear how anybody--whether it be readers, other HuffPo editors, or those who pay for legitimate advertising on the site--can find Ornish's post credible or newsworthy. If anybody at the Post took their journalistic responsibilities seriously, or cared about the information they were peddling to patients looking for serious health answers, then Ornish would probably have been reprimanded for abusing his authority the minute he posted this.
"No one has a monopoly on truth," Ornish ads.
Indeed. So here's the truth for Arianna and company: Ornish's post is a vacuous-self-congratulatory-cliche-littered-plug, one that promotes a venture based on a recycled idea.
The only thing missing is where to mail your check (or does "web 3.0" use PayPal?)