Robert Feder writes that the whoring out of local television news continues without letup — this time courtesy of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
Thursday’s “Good Day Chicago” featured a satellite interview with actress and model Shari Belafonte, who turned up to hawk a diet pill called Qsymia. Presented in the form of a Q&A with news anchor Natalie Bomke, the segment was paid for by biopharmaceutical company Vivus Inc., which hired Belafonte to promote the weight-loss drug.
“The idea that there’s now something that’s on the market that’s FDA approved that can help people who are overweight such as Qsymia is tantamount,” Belafonte said. “Patients in particular need to know that they can go to their doctor and ask about it.”
When it was over, Bomke mentioned that the interview with Belafonte was “sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Vivus Inc.” But to most viewers, I suspect, it came off as anything but a commercial.
Unmentioned in Bomke’s brief disclaimer, of course, were any of the numerous side effects the drug could cause, including (according to its website) birth defects, increases in heart rate, suicidal thoughts or actions, serious eye problems, mood changes and trouble sleeping, concentration, memory and speech difficulties, increases of acid in bloodstream, low blood sugar, possible seizures, kidney stones, decreased sweating and increased body temperature. Or that it can be abused or lead to drug dependence.
These days practically every satellite interview on “Good Day Chicago” is sponsored by somebody selling something. But this one was about as shameless as they get.