Some funny things can happen when political activism mixes with corporate operations. Corporations and their officers routinely contribute to Republican and Democratic political campaigns and causes, but the situation can be downright embarrassing and even risky with pure activists. The latest collision in this busy intersection happened earlier this month involving the office supply store chain Staples and the liberal group Media Matters. In a news release issued Jan. 4, Media Matters claimed partial credit for what it described as a decision by Staples to stop advertising on television stations owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcasting. Media Matters has a... continue reading
The holidays are over and millions have resolved to lose the weight we just gained. As we head into the new year, the major media will make you think twice about the whole concept of holiday stuffing. How do we know? Our analysis shows that this is the medias pattern. Weve analyzed how the major media treated the issue of obesity for the last year and a half. The result? The major media are more likely to turn the holiday season into open season on the food industry than into a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Its the... continue reading
An Economists View Reporting Labor Statistics Correctly Gary Wolfram, Ph.D. The George Munson Professor of Political Economy, Hillsdale College The coverage of labor market statistics by the media brings to mind the old adage: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Any reporter trying to justify his or her position may find some labor market data to support it. Now you would expect this from a sophist or politician, but it would be beneficial to our political system if the media clearly reported facts in context and clarified what statistics actually meant. Most readers will be unaware of the subtle... continue reading
The food police are looking to take a healthy bite out of corporate America. What is their beef? They think the food industry is making all of us fat. Are they recommending we eat less or hit the gym? Not really. Their solution is lawsuits, of course. At least they are public about it. But not too public thanks to the media that gives little attention to this cottage industry. This past weekend a few dozen health professionals and the lawyers they love got together in Boston for the 2nd Annual conference of Legal Approaches to the Obesity Epidemic. Dont... continue reading
Former New England Journal of Medicine Editor Marcia Angell is promoting her new book attacking the pharmaceutical industry and urging added government regulations at the same time. She is already hitting the media circuit as hard as she hits at the industry all part of the book promotion. It is important that reporters be aware of the extent of her aims and problems with her claims. Angell, who was editor of the Journal from 1999-2000, has already appeared in The Washington Post , Los Angeles Times , Financial Times and the radical leftwing website to advocate for several new... continue reading
Close on the heels of the TIME/ABC News Obesity Summit in Colonial Williamsburg, new research may have discovered the possibility that the increase in the numbers of obese Americans could correlate closely with the growth of the discount airline, Southwest. According to published sources, the number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1980, and is now up to nearly 59 million people. In the same period, the number of individuals flying Southwest airlines has also more than doubled to 65 million people. During that timeframe, some researchers say, the number of obese children has tripled. There are now... continue reading
Journalists are usually quite reserved about using the military as arbiters of scientific credibility. One may recall, for example, the outraged skepticism expressed over the Pentagons plans to study the feasibility of using markets to predict the next terrorist attack. Anyone passingly familiar with media coverage of recent events in Iraq may be surprised to learn that a journalist is now citing an organization reporting to Donald Rumsfeld as a credible source of evidence regarding an imminent threat requiring preemptive action. Readers of the current issue of Fortune magazine may be taken aback to learn that the magazines science writer... continue reading
Two studies, one suggesting that 30 percent of US children surveyed reported eating fast food on at least one of the two days they were studied, the other claiming that our teenagers believe they are the fattest in the industrialized world, contributed to a nearly perfect media obesity storm. The idea that fast food is the culprit behind our weight problems appears to have become received wisdom for some journalists. We offer recent media takes on the issue and leave you to draw your own conclusions regarding the matter of whether the media are helping or hindering the quest for... continue reading
Claims that global warming will cause mass extinction by 2050 were received with uniformly sympathetic coverage by media outlets. Newspapers in Britain, Canada and the United States featured stories trumpeting a studys dire warnings even before its official publication in the journal Nature and well before any analysis of its merits by the scientific community. An expert on global warming, Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute, states: Obviously, there is a lot to criticize in this paper. What is surprising is that something with such inconsistencies and unrealistic assumptions made it unscathed through the review process in such a prestigious... continue reading
On Monday December 8 ABC offered a Primetime Special: Whos to Blame? Obesity in America: How to Get Fat Without Really Trying. Peter Jennings advanced the notion that assigning personal responsibility is the problem, not the solution. Americans, Jennings insists, are in the grip of an obesity epidemic and added that no one wants to be [overweight]yet, he continued, old and young Americans are getting fatter and fatter and fatter. And with a little help from some friends, Jennings let Americans know that fat is just not their fault. Instead Jennings blamed government and the food industry for first making... continue reading