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The Wall Street Journal reports on Anheuser-Busch’s use of Harvard University epidemiologist Meir Stampfer to explain to people why drinking beer is healthy.

“The effort consists of Anheuser inviting medical journalists to elegant restaurants, serving them food and encouraging them to sample various beers such as Budweiser Select and Michelob Ultra, then giving the stage to Dr. Stampfer, who delivers a half-hour lecture primarily on the health advantages of moderate drinking,” the WSJ writes.

“Emphatic in his lecture is that the medical benefits widely associated with red wine can be derived just as readily from beer and liquor, and nobody is better qualified to make that argument than Dr. Stampfer. The nation's most cited epidemiologist for the two decades ended in 2002, Dr. Stampfer has been an author on more than 50 research papers measuring the health implications of moderate drinking, which has been found to be associated with lower rates of heart attack, diabetes and other ailments.”

Here’s the real kicker: Stampfer isn’t even getting paid to give these presentations, according to the Journal. While Anheuser has donated $150,000 in doctoral-student scholarship funds to the Harvard School of Public Health, the WSJ notes that “Anheuser has no say or knowledge about which students receive the funds.”

However, the Journal writes that this approach by Anheuser is not without risks, pointing out that Stampfer’s presentations don’t address to any great extent the risk associated with alcoholism and addiction, the reported connection between alcohol consumption and breast cancer in post menopausal women, and the perception that he is being used for marketing purposes.
KC's View:
Obviously, medical journalists are no different from the rest of us.

They’ll show up almost anywhere for free beer and a free meal.