Thursday, March 08, 2012
All news comes to us with a slant

By Dr. Anthony Policastro When I was in college, there was a joke about the Soviet Union's newspaper Pravda. It was a play on the New York Times' motto: "All the news that's fit to print." The joke was that Pravda's motto was: "All the news that fits we print." The aim was to suggest that the newspaper was a government propaganda vehicle. They chose what to publish which prevented the public from hearing about things that they should know. We now have similar opinions about the Arabic news agency Aljazeera. We think that it slants the news. We think that it does not give the full story. The implication of these thoughts is that we are different in the United States. We have freedom of the press. For that reason, we feel that the news tends to be what we need to hear. We need to recognize the fact that there is as much opportunity to slant the news to make people think what we want them to think in our country. It is not something that is done intentionally. However, news agencies spend a lot of time and effort to find out what the public wants to hear. They have to do that in order to sell their product. Their main product is selling advertising time. For that reason, they have to know the psychology of the individuals they are dealing with. They use that understanding to have people listen to what they are presenting. As individuals we need to realize that many of the things we listen to have some kind of slant. We need to realize that we need to be rational human beings and make decisions for ourselves. That forces us to weed out what the underlying news is. It means that we have to do a lot more than just listen. We have to analyze. Some people are better than others at doing that. For example, there is a long running TV news show. I know people that watch it religiously. I have seen them do segments on things that I know about first hand. In most cases these are medical topics. What I notice is they set up the show to suggest that they are telling both sides of the story. However, because of my knowledge of the subject, I know that there is a slant to the story. Not everybody that watches the show has the same vantage point. I will have people tell me that they watched the show and, therefore, know what was said was 100% accurate. A similar example has to do with the current news about the Republican primary elections. Each primary is front page news. Most of the debates are televised. The suggestion is that if we follow all this, we will be better informed. In reality, only one of the many candidates is going to be the Republican candidate for President in November. We will have plenty of time between the convention and the election to get to know that candidate. At this point in time, the only relevance to this news is for the people voting on the candidate in their particular state primary. They need to watch the local news leading up to the primary election. Most of the rest of what is being shown is irrelevant. However, I still hear people in Delaware debating about the individual candidates' merits. In the long run it will not matter. They will only get to vote for one of them. There are also things that we need to know. Often these things are not newsworthy. For that reason we do not hear about them. That is because the media feels that it will not be of interest to the demographic. It will not sell advertising. An example of this is related to the fact that most Americans are fed up with the partisan politics in Washington, D.C. However, there is not a lot of information about which representatives voted along party lines most often. That is more important information for the electorate this year. However, it is not interesting enough for anyone to publish. As individuals we need to be aware of the fact that much of what we hear and see in the news is designed to impact us in a psychological fashion. It is important to recognize that. It is also important to take information that we see and draw logical conclusions. Sometimes those conclusions match what we are being told. Sometimes they do not. That is part of what makes us human. We need to be careful about throwing stones at media in other countries. They are not doing things as different as it might first appear.

State program marks fifth year February marked the fifth anniversary of Delaware's needle exchange program in the City of Wilmington, managed by the Division of Public Health (DPH), in partnership with Brandywine Counseling and Community Services. The program, recognized nationally as a model for its coordination with law enforcement, seeks to reduce HIV transmission and provide a link for drug users to addiction programs. Delaware's needle exchange program is the only one in the nation that is operated by a substance abuse treatment agency, providing a seamless transition into treatment for individuals to get clean. The program also provides pregnancy screening for those suffering addiction, providing rapid access to prenatal and HIV treatment to help prevent transmission from mother to baby.

HealthFest on March 31 PRMC and the Wicomico County Board of Education invite everyone on the Peninsula to join them for HealthFest: An event for all ages, on Saturday, March 31 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at James M. Bennett High School on College Avenue in Salisbury. Joining HealthFest as the event's guest speaker is three-time Olympic gymnast, gold medalist and health advocate Dominique Dawes who will speak at 11:30 a.m. on fitness, exercise and staying healthy. Over 30 different and free health screenings will be available. Some require advance registration or fasting. ABI-Lower Body Circulation Screening and Prostate Screening require advance registration. Registration will be open from Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to noon each day or until all available appointments have been filled by calling 410-543-7139. Also available will be Total Cholesterol and Blood Glucose (blood sugar) tests, which do not need advance registration but do require all participants to have nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the screenings. For more information, visit or call 410-543-7137.

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is Tuesday, March 13 at 1:30 p.m., at LifeCare at Lofland Park's first floor Resident Lounge, 715 East King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers and anyone who is affected by this disease. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

NMH offers stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers.

Modeled from the American Stroke Association, the hospital is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, call Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Basket/Bag Bingo event The Mothers Against Cancer Relay for Life Team is holding their annual Basket/Bag Bingo to benefit the American Cancer Society on Thursday, March 22 at the Salisbury Moose Lodge. Doors open at 5, games begin at 6:30 p.m. There will be raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and food. Tickets are $15 if purchased by March 15 and $20 at the door. Call Terry at 410-430-0337 for tickets or information.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Alzheimer's seminar offered The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter is offering a free seminar, "Living with Alzheimer's Disease for Caregivers - Understanding Middle Stage," on Wednesday, March 14, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., at Cadia Rehabilitation Renaissance at 26002 John J. Williams Highway near Millsboro. Dr. Lawrence Kemp, neurologist, will also present a medical overview scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. This is an all-day program that includes information on communicating with a person with dementia and dealing with challenging behaviors. Renaissance is not only hosting this event, but will also provide lunch. All are welcome. Pre-registration is required by either calling 800-272-3900 or Jamie Magee at 854-9788 by March 8.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Tobacco relapse support group Bayhealth Medical Center is pleased to offer a new support group for individuals who recently quit using tobacco products. The "Tobacco Relapse Prevention Support Group" will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on March 20, May 22, July 24, Sept. 11 and Nov. 8, 2012. The group will meet in Bayhealth's BETT Conference Room at 208 W. Water St. in Dover. This support group is designed to help individuals focus on relapse prevention and provides networking opportunities for participants to share their unique experiences and success stories with others. There is no need to register in advance for this support group. For more information, contact Bayhealth Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724.

NAR-ANON support group "Take Heart, Be Strong" is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delaware's newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depression to find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware's BluePrints for the Community program.Southern

Delaware Heart Ball Come dance the night away for a good cause at the Southern Delaware Heart Ball. The ball will be held at the Dover Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. A premier black-tie event, the Heart Ball raises funds for heart disease and stroke. Chairs are Steve and Rosie Rose of Nanticoke Health Services. For more information, visit or contact Karen Gritton at 302-286-5705 or