SIRC Media Watch Archive
The Pick – January 2003

Eat rubbish, talk rubbish. A new report by the UK Food Commission suggests Premiership footballers should stop advertising junk food to kids … The Food Commission does, however, praise one Premiership club for not falling for the fast food dollar: West Ham. What does that 'demonstrate'? A link between good diet and bad football, as evidenced by West Ham's six-nil thrashing at the hands of Manchester United yesterday? Perhaps children are happier sticking with bad food and good teams. Spiked.

Internet hypochondria. In all my web searching I never found a site that said 'You're probably fine.' Rather, it was all death-and-disease, all the time…Laugh all you want, but I know I'm not alone in my Internet-induced hypochondria: two friends recently revealed that they'd diagnosed themselves with multiple sclerosis and testicular cancer respectively after searching the web; that they are both women only demonstrates my point further. As for me, I've decided to stop surfing the Net for self-diagnosis: the stress was too much. My muscle spasms have cleared up and I don't seem to be worse for wear. Globe and Mail

Court dismisses McDonald's obesity case. A lawsuit by a group of American teenagers who claim the fast food chain McDonald's is responsible for their obesity has been thrown out of court by a New York judge. "It is not the place of the law to protect them against their own excesses," Judge Robert Sweet said. BBC

Pseudo-Science and the Media: Problems and Lessons. Journalists will quite naturally turn to activists who are more than willing to give of their time (since they do not have any productive use for it) to provide all the right-sounding statements. A features writer covering an issue such as "organic" food production will not even begin to know how to identify and locate scientists and others with a differing point of view. In some instances, such as the controversy over transgenic food production, there are no scientists of any professional stature who support the activists' position. American Council on Science and Health

GM, not organic, is industry's future. Instead of welcoming the next logical step in the process of adaptation – genetic modification – we have chosen instead to promote the superseded methods and 19th century productivity levels of organic farming; ostensibly to save the planet but really because we have run out of bottle. To conceal it from ourselves we call this loss of nerve by many different names. It masquerades as prudence or as concern for the environment, it appears in the guise of sustainability or the Precautionary Principle which permits no changes whose outcomes are not completely known but it paralyses our present and will blight our future. Scotsman.

GM potato 'could improve child health'. A protein-rich genetically modified potato could help combat malnutrition in India, scientists say. Its developers say the "protato" could help tackle nutrition problems amongst the country's poorest children … The GM potato has been developed by scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. BBC.