Martha Rosenberg is a former advertising copywriter who knows a lot about marketing. She began as an investigative journalist and since has been on TV and radio as a health expert. Martha has taught about drug marketing tactics at a Chicago medical school and is part of the FDA press corps. Her book "Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health," exposes what goes on behind the scenes in the food and drug industries.
Latest by Martha Rosenberg
By Martha Rosenberg | March 21, 2015
It has been exactly two years since Jacqueline Bouvier Hardy was pulled off a city bus in Northern Indiana by a former boyfriend and shot to death in front of horrified bystanders, including children. “Jackie” as she was known, was a mother of three who had filed an order of protection against the shooter, Kenneth Knight.
More recently, horrified Black Friday shoppers at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Nordstrom’s watched Marcus Dee shoot and kill his girlfriend, Nadia Ezaldein, while she worked at the cosmetics counter.
Nearly half the women killed every year in the United States are murdered by intimate partners, mostly with guns, reports the New York Times. Intimate partner homicide increases by 500 percent when a firearm …
By Martha Rosenberg | March 17, 2015
The year was 1975. Actress Sally Struthers had charmed her way into America’s living rooms as Glorida Stivic Archie Bunker’s daughter on the hit sitcom All In the Family, married to “meathead.” But Struthers was known for something else. More prevalent than her appearances on All in the Family were her cloying pitches for the Christian Children’s Fund for which she was trying to use her “Family” fame.
Finally a glib SNL-writer wannabe came out and said what many were thinking when they saw her entreating, eternally earnest face: people were more interested in paying money for Struthers to shut up than helping the hungry children. Ouch.
The same phenomenon happened a few years ago with another charity: …
By Martha Rosenberg | February 6, 2015
Who knew? The government uses our tax dollars to help the meat industry get more CPC (cash per carcass) in cruel and clandestine experiments at the 55-square mile U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. Even reporters who cover the livestock industry and animal research were shocked at the revelation of the government’s brazen and cruel service to private industry. The taxpayer largesse is especially shocking since the USDA also tells consumers to “Limit red meat” on its food pyramid page. According to the expose, even veterinarians and workers at the Research Center themselves were shocked at the ruthlessness toward animals which has characterized the Center from the start.
“You don’t have to be …
By Martha Rosenberg | January 22, 2015
January brought implementation of the California law mandating more room for egg laying chickens. But larger cages do nothing for the suffering of hatchery chickens which are ground up alive at birth. Yes, you read that right. Until the egg industry ceases to buy its layers from hatcheries which the industry admits kills “200 million male chicks” a year, there is no such thing as an ethical egg. Hatcheries also risk human health by injecting the eggs of future egg layers with antibiotics. Yum.
Earlier this month, video obtained from a Whole Foods egg supplier, Petaluma Farms in Petaluma, CA, shows just how bad the situation is on commercial egg farms. Hens are depicted in disturbing states of sickness …
By Martha Rosenberg | January 14, 2015
By Martha Rosenberg | January 14, 2015
By Martha Rosenberg | January 1, 2015
1. We will stop referring to ourselves as a “civil rights” organization that defends “human rights.” It is a sacrilege to people actually killed or harmed by civil and human rights abuses.
2. We will stop pointing at Chicago and saying gun laws don’t work. We will admit the majority of Chicago crime guns are trafficked from states and counties with loose laws.
3. We will stop saying “the government is going to take your guns” to block federal laws. The confiscation we announced 7 years ago never happened.
4. We will stop blaming “mental health” problems for U.S. gun violence. We admit every country in the world has mental health problems but they don’t have Newtowns and Virginia …
By Martha Rosenberg | December 28, 2014
CHICAGO—At first blush, 2014 might have looked like a bad year for gun laws. Certainly Georgia’s guns-everywhere-all-the-time law sailed through, prompting two “carriers” to draw their weapons at a convenience store days after it was passed, each thinking the other was a bad guy.
Certainly Illinois rolled out “concealed carry” with 88 early applicants having records for domestic violence, 77 for gun crimes, 52 for battery/assault, 27 for aggravated battery/assault and 29 with orders of protection filed against them. Nice.
But even as stand-your-grounders and castle doctrine enthusiasts “defended” themselves, the courts sent them to jail.
In September, Theodore Wafer, a suburban Detroit man who shot and killed an unarmed woman on his porch instead of calling police was sentenced …
By Martha Rosenberg | November 28, 2014
There’s nothing like a celebrity endorsement to move a drug off the shelves and into the nation’s medicine cabinets. TV personality Joan Lunden and former baseball star Mike Piazza stumped for the allergy pill Claritin, ice skater Dorothy Hamill and track star Bruce Jenner for the pain pill Vioxx, and Sen. Bob Dole, of course, pushed Viagra. Dr. Robert Jarvik hawked Lipitor, singer Wynonna Judd stumped for the diet drug Alli and Brooke Shields pushed the eyelash lengthener Latisse. Celebrities even pushed psychiatric drugs like NASCAR figure Bobby Labonte who promoted the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL. And who can forget Kathleen Turner sharing her battle with rheumatoid arthritis on CNN? Ka-ching.
But what happens when things go awry? Did Dorothy …
By Martha Rosenberg | November 22, 2014
This month, mental health and correctional professionals from all over the nation gathered in Chicago to address a problem that many are not aware of. People denied mental health services who end up homeless or incarcerated as criminals. The conference, called “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” sponsored by the Kennedy Forum was held at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. The Kennedy Forum was founded to enlist business leaders and government agencies in fully implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which has been amended by the Affordable Care Act, to guarantee equal access to medical care and help patients understand their rights.
“I have been out to Cook County Jail myself,” Rep. Kennedy …
By Martha Rosenberg | November 18, 2014
After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 33 died, the National Rifle Association supported a federal law to make it harder for people with mental illness to get guns. Killer Seung-Hui Cho had been declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice but was still allowed to purchase guns because he was not institutionalized.
There was just one catch. The NRA’s support was contingent on legal provisions to restore “gun rights” to those who lost them for mental health reasons.
An early example of such restoration was Virginian Sam French who was hospitalized by court order four times in five years and told authorities he hears voices and talks to bears but got his guns back anyway…
By Martha Rosenberg | November 10, 2014
A few years ago, a polling group made a startling discovery about America’s dog love. A surprising number of dog owners called their answering machines during the workday to talk to their dog. Many celebrated their dogs’ birthdays with gifts and parties. And most slept with their dog–unapologetically. It’s no dirtier than sleeping with a shoe said one respondent.
And speaking of dirty, no poll was required to know that many dog owners also kiss their dogs on the mouth.
It is easy to love dogs. They are the last of the optimists, humorist Erma Bombeck used to say. They rush the door when the bell rings and the visitor is never there to see them. They …
By Martha Rosenberg | November 6, 2014
Just in time for Halloween, Heifer International’s new catalogue arrived in the mail. Heifer International is a Little Rock-based Christian charity that “ends hunger and poverty” through sending live animals to poor people overseas. The charity is known for its Unicef style photos of cute kids hugging their cute animals which will soon be dinner.
In a recent documentary, Cowspiracy, even CEOs and feedlot managers say animal agriculture is too resource and land intensive to feed the world. Yet Heifer thinks it is a great idea to send live animals to countries without veterinarians, paved roads, health systems, education (to prevent animal-to-human disease transmission) and refrigeration for the animal products. If the countries had the food and resources to care …
By Martha Rosenberg | November 4, 2014
Since its founding in the 1940s, McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant, has navigated many threats to its bottom line. Other fast food companies have imitated and sought to improve on its concept. Labor activists have decried its treatment of workers. Food and environmental activists have assailed the way it has industrialized food production. The international community has deplored McDonald’s trade practices and protectionism. Animal welfare activists oppose its wholesale commodification and mistreatment of animals. And, of course, public health experts condemn its hawking of unhealthy, fattening food to children and adults.
But despite public relations risks to its people-loving, children-loving image, McDonald’s has continued to please Wall Street thanks to its billion dollar advertising budget and 14,000 …
By Martha Rosenberg | October 28, 2014
The cruelty against pigs videotaped at West Coast Farms in Oklahoma last year was so sickening Tyson Foods immediately dropped the supplier. The National Pork Producers Council demanded that authorities “bring criminal charges against workers who abused animals.” Yet a year later, workers have apparently not been charged and may have fled town as the Creek County District Attorney’s office drags its feet.
Video shot at the West Coast Farms in Okfuskee County by an undercover worker for Mercy For Animals last year “shows pigs being kicked, hit, and thrown, as well as pigs being slammed into the floor to kill them,” said NBC news. “On three separate occasions, I reported abuse to the owner,” said the undercover …
By Martha Rosenberg | October 21, 2014
At least seven women’s bodies have been found in Indiana since Friday in what appear to be serial, sex-related murders of women in high-risk lifestyles. Hammond police are holding Darren Vann, a convicted sex offender, in connection with the murders and say charges are possible in at least six other murders still under investigation.
Many in the Chicago and northern Indiana area remember similar killings in the 1990s which produced a veritable reign of terror for women in high-risk lifestyles and their families. At least four men arrested in Chicago during that time–Gregory Clepper, Geoffrey Griffin, Hubert Geralds and Andre Crawford–were linked to the deaths of women in high-risk lifestyles who were often found in …
By Martha Rosenberg | October 16, 2014
A dairyman and career capitalist are trying to unseat Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois, respectively, with screeds against “career politicians” and higher taxes.
The “career politician” epithet sounds populist and appealing until you look at its opposite: bumbling, naïve, politician-wannabes who embarrass themselves like the Tea Party Congressman who mistook U.S. government officials for foreign diplomats from India and the Tea Party candidate who mistook a bus full of YMCA kids for immigrants last summer.
Capitalist, “let’s run this country like a business” politician-wannabes like H. Ross Perot to Mitt Romney are even worse. In addition to lacking political savvy from ever being in Washington, these “richies” lack basic understanding of the common man, …
By Martha Rosenberg | October 8, 2014
Guns have killed over 10,000 in Illinois in the last ten years and in Chicago, it is a daily blood bath, especially in minority neighborhoods. Yet five weeks ago, two prominent religious leaders from crime ridden communities, Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church and Pastor Corey Brooks, Sr. of New Beginnings Church endorsed a senate candidate who is, amazingly, against universal background checks!
Jim Oberweis, an Illinois Republican State Senator from the 25th District who is challenging Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin actually told the Chicago Tribune editorial board this week that he has not seen “evidence” that background checks would reduce crime. Since guns sold without background checks represent 40 percent of all gun sales, Sen. Oberweis must …
By Martha Rosenberg | September 24, 2014
States Make Money off Deer Despite Safety Questions
It has been ten years since a “hunter-terrorist” ruined deer season in Wisconsin. In the fall of 2004, instead of shooting deer, Chai Vang, a Hmong immigrant from Laos, shot and killed hunters. Eight hunters were shot in northern Wisconsin, six of whom died including a father and son. No clear motive for the murders became apparent but Vang, a hunting enthusiast, was tried, convicted and sentenced to six consecutive life terms plus seventy years.
Vang’s rampage was especially disturbing because Wisconsin was just pulling out of an epidemic of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in its deer and elk, a fatal disease similar to Mad Cow. State officials assured …
By Martha Rosenberg | September 20, 2014
by Robert Wilbur and Martha Rosenberg
Last year, a coalition of animal lovers seeking to ban Manhattan’s carriage horse industry helped defeat Christine Quinn, once the front-runner for mayor, because she opposed such a prohibition. Mayor de Blasio, who beat Quinn, pledged his first action as mayor would be to ban the controversial rides. Yet where is the ban?
Last month about 30 protesters gathered across from Gracie Mansion to exhort Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his campaign promise. New York’s carriage horses are “stripped of the ability to do anything horses would naturally do. They don’t belong here in the city,” said Donny Moss, a member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages “It’s in humane and unsafe.”…