Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Old Propaganda Packaged As News

Why is it that mainstream media buys into the tired and worn activist group tactic of packaging old information and releasing it as news? I suppose that special interest groups would discontinue this tactic if the media weren’t so readily complicit.

Take for example yesterday’s Associated Press story entitled Milk not best for strong bones, report finds. You have to read 60% of the article to find out that the report cited comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. You will probably not be surprised to discover that this is merely a fancy sounding title for an extremist animal rights group that has a long history of promoting an anti-human agenda. It frequently publishes scientific appearing reports that myopically ignore inconvenient information that contradicts the group’s beliefs and propaganda.

PCRM regularly releases propaganda that vilifies meat consumption, any type of lab testing using animals, any industry involving animals, etc. It is highly supported by many of the best-known leftists among the Hollywood elite. Its 20th anniversary celebration prominently features Alec Baldwin, who reneged on his promise to leave the U.S. if W. was elected president. Mainstream media kowtows to PCRM, promoting just about any piece of propaganda dropped at its frequent news conferences.

What about this latest report? It’s chock full of good reliable information, most of which has been known for at least half a century. It says that some foods are better sources of calcium than milk and that exercise is also an important factor in building strong bones in children. No kidding? Without the PCRM and its willing associates in the AP the world might never have known these important facts, right? Well, no. We knew this stuff before I was in elementary school.

So what’s the purpose? What is PCRM promoting this time? Well, they want us to stop serving milk to kids and start giving them alternative sources of calcium, such as “a cup of fortified orange juice, a cup of cooked kale or turnip greens, two packages of instant oats, two-thirds cup of tofu, or 1-2/3 cups of broccoli.”

Oh yes, this sounds good. Lots of kids might go for the orange juice alternative, but my five kids happen to hate orange juice (although, I don’t know why). Never mind the fact that other researchers say that it’s bad for kids to drink any kind of sugared drink, even if the sugars are natural. Some kids will eat oatmeal, but you usually have to add a lot of sugar and/or fat to make it palatable to them. Can you imagine the scene in our school cafeterias if we were to replace the milk carton with, say, cooked and wilted kale or turnip greens, a glop of tofu, or the ultimate favorite of all children, broccoli. Yum, yum.

Let’s be realistic. The vast majority of children wouldn’t eat this stuff under any condition, even if it were coated in thick layers of chocolate. Like much of the other healthy food served, most of these calcium rich foods would end up in the cafeterias’ garbage cans.

The AP story tries to redeem itself and provide balanced reporting near the end of the article by quoting from an “accompanying commentary” by a University of Wisconsin pediatrician that states that, “the easiest way to get … calcium is from low-fat dairy products.” Well, duh! Isn’t that why we have served 2% milk in our schools instead of whole milk for several decades now?

The PCRM’s stated goal is “reform of federal nutrition policies.” What these activists want is to remove dairy products from all federal programs, especially the school lunch program. This non-news report is just another in a long string that seeks to get the organization’s slanted views in front of as many people as possible, particularly elected officials, appointed government officials, and their staff. When news organizations like the AP regurgitate this stuff to the public it belies the underlying liberal current in the news organization and reveals its laziness in reporting. It is articles like this that have fueled the rise of the blogosphere.

Disclaimer: I live next to a dairy farm and am friends with its owners/operators.

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