Accuracy in Media

NowThis News reports uncritically on the EAT-Lancet report into how to change the food system to save the climate. The problem here, the bias, is in reporting uncritically. Accepting what that report tries to say should be the food system rather than examining the report and its assumptions. 

For example: “The Planetary Health Diet focuses on an optimal caloric intake from a diversity of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-sourced foods”. Low amounts is one way of putting it. The suggested limit on chicken consumption is just under one ounce a day.

From Now This: “About half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies — the rest should be whole grains, plant proteins, plant oils, and just a smidgen of animal proteins. “

There is no scientific, nutritional nor even climate-related reason why the human diet should be so limited. What has actually happened here is that the former model now wife of a Norwegian shipping billionaire has teamed up with The Lancet to push her radically vegan message into the public sphere. While she still enjoys the services of the family private jet, no less.

It’s also really not a very good diet. Analysis shows that it would leave even healthy adults – let alone pregnant women and growing children – deficient in micronutrients and vitamins. In fact, it’s so bad that the World Health Organisation pulled its support from the launch of the report and diet.

NowThis News is extremely popular with millennials across varied social media platforms. On Facebook alone, they gain some 160 million views a month. Their readership deserves better than this.

There are things that can be done to make human diets better. There are concerns about the food production system and climate change. But to uncritically report, recommend even, what is actually a public relations exercise for a crank diet is to fail at the business of news reporting. It is necessary to be critical of what is being said. Assuming, of course, that the knowledge of how to be critical exists at the specific news outlet.

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