Alternative Medicine in the Press

Steven Barrie-Anthony

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the American News Media

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395068
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Alternative Medicine in the Press


In the last few decades, stories about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) have increasingly become a staple of domestic and international newspaper health coverage. These are often pegged to the dramatic upsurge in the use of alternative health practices or to scientific research on the efficacy of particular treatments. Newspapers reporting the rise of alternative health practices do not generally overplay the trend. However, reporters rarely situate CAM within the shifting tides of contemporary spirituality and religion. This article examines journalistic coverage of CAM in light of this disconnect between the religious/spiritual nature of CAM, on the one hand, and the paucity of journalistic attention to such on the other. Drawing particularly on categories of solidarity developed by Charles Taylor, it argues that mainstream newspaper journalism in the United States tends to be more in line with one style of solidarity, and the particular spiritual quality of CAM with another.

Keywords: complementary and alternative medicine; newspapers; journalism; United States; religion; solidarity; Charles Taylor; spirituality

Article.  6473 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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