The New York Times has never been accused of harboring a pro-business, free-enterprise-friendly bias. But even so, the self-styled “newspaper of record” has been giving anti-consumer activism a free pass lately with alarming frequency. Today alone, the Times contains three major stories promoting the very kinds of threats to our food choices that we’ve been telling you about for years.
First, reporter Elizabeth Becker hands the animal rights zealots at Compassion Over Killing (COK) some gift-wrapped media spin, telling the story of how COK activists Paul Shapiro and Miyun Park literally broke into an egg farm and stole its chickens. What most of us would call a “crime” is termed a “rescue” operation by the Times, which gives COK’s extremists a free pass to insist that their lawbreaking is part of an “anti-oppression movement.”
Next, food writer Marian Burros spreads the latest round of “mad deer” fears. Burros devotes 800 words to unfounded alarms that Chronic Wasting Disease in deer “may pose a threat to humans.” It’s a pity she couldn’t squeeze in anything resembling scientific evidence (there isn’t any).
By failing to mention the scientific consensus that people who eat venison have absolutely nothing to worry about, Burros seems to be joining the mind-numbed ranks of John Stauber fans. Stauber is the activist writer who has been claiming since 1996 that mad cow disease is present in America, also offering no evidence (again, there isn’t any).
Finishing the activist-friendly hat trick, reporter Nat Ives suggests in the Times’ Advertising section that restaurants have already lost the battle with public-health and public-interest activists. Citing business analysts, Ives stresses that restaurants should give in to activist pressure and start offering “healthier choices [and] smaller portions.” While some may scoff at the recent fast-food lawsuits, he says, “food companies have ignored [them] at their own peril.”
For additional examples of the Old Gray Lady’s approach toward food activists, see its Thanksgiving day soft-glove treatment of PETA, and the following day’s editorial delivering an undeserved pat on the back to a public health “expert” who carped about the “forces that are all conspiring to get us to eat more.”