Another problem is Mercola's sources are represented in a misleading way, giving an impression of credibility. For example "Read K. (March 5, 2008) 'Red flags: Warning signs of suicide'" looks a lot better than "about.com." As far as I'm concerned, Mercola might as well have cited Wikipedia. He also cites figures from a website written by Kevin Caruso, a man who runs many non-profit websites about everything from ending racism to supporting fire fighters. Why someone would consider this information a worthwhile source (when it offers no citations) is beyond me.
The figure on attempted suicides is incorrect. According to CDC numbers about 33,215 people died from suicide in 2006 and for every successful suicide, 25 are attempted. Since the figure is close to the 33,000 cited by suicide.org (and subsequently Mercola), it's safe to assume the number is based on 2006 data. Simple multiplication shows approximately 830,375 attempted suicide, not 750,000. Obviously 80,000 or so isn't a big difference, but isn't this indicative of a bigger problem, one where validity and fact checking are not concerns? It is sloppy to quote from sources that have no citations without double checking those facts!
I posted what I found in the comments on the article. Not only were my comments voted down (why I'm not sure, I backed up what I said) but they were deleted within an hour and my account banned for "spam". I thought the supporters of alternative medicine believe in truth and researching facts for yourself, not just taking somebody's word for things. Other posters who simply disagreed with the article were voted down as well. The website encourages "discussion" of these topics but clearly is only interested in further adoration of Mercola. Even if the article is 100% accurate, it doesn't change the fact that Mercola has done something not only illegal, but morally bereft. Is this a man we should trust? So I'm curious, has anyone else noticed other examples of Mercola plagiarising works and/or using sloppy sources?
Here are the examples of plagiarism from "Five Reasons not to take SSRIs" by Lennard Davis as compared to Mercola's wording. This isn't all of what I found, just the most obvious things. Honestly I'm not sure what is worse, the plagiarism or quoting an opinion piece as scientific evidence.:
DAVIS: "More and more psychiatric disorders are appearing that might be called 'lifestyle' diseases."
MERCOLA: "More and more 'psychiatric diseases' are appearing in the literature all the time, and many could be considered 'lifestyle disorders:'"
DAVIS: "Increasingly the criteria for inclusion in the DSM involves whether the disorder responds to a category of drugs."
MERCOLA: "And increasingly, the criteria for inclusion involves whether or not the disorder responds to a category of drugs."
DAVIS: "We have no way of measuring serotonin the brain of a living person, short of cutting open the skull. We have not come up with what a normal level of serotonin should be and below which we can say that you would be depressed and above which we can say you will be happy. People with high serotonin levels can be depressed and those with low levels can be happy."
MERCOLA: "But there is no way to measure your serotonin or your dopamine without cutting open your head. Scientists can't even decide on what a "normal" serotonin level is, much less an abnormal one.
Why do some depressed folks have high serotonin levels, while many happy folks have low ones?"
DAVIS: "We're an over-medicated society, and the goal of drug companies and a compliant and harried medical establishment is ultimately to have some drug coursing through every individuals's [sic] bloodstream."
MERCOLA: "The shared goal of the drug companies and the overall medical system is to ultimately have drugs coursing through the bloodstreams of every living soul."
DAVIS: "Think twice, be skeptical, and question a simplistic diagnosis you might receive after discussing your condition for a short time with a rushed practitioner."
MERCOLA: "Think twice, be skeptical, and question a perfunctory depression-type diagnosis you might receive after a short discussion with a rushed practitioner."
And the Mercola article for those interested (the copied work is listed in the citations):