SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – July 2002

Jury rigging. A number of today's newspapers bring us the news that a panel of parents in the UK, recruited by the 'independent' campaign group, the Food Commission, find food manufacturers guilty of promoting unhealthy foodstuffs for children. One product was described as "absolutely vile over-processed rubbish", according to the Times which led with 'Vile food for children attacked'. The Mail, Telegraph, Sun ('The Lunchbox from Hell') and Independent also regurgitated uncritically the text of the Commission's press release, dubbing the group 'an independent research charity." What none of the papers even hinted at, however, is the fact that the Food Commission and its sister organisations have a long history of showing complete disregard for anything which looks like a balanced approach to sampling public opinion. Full article.

Totally In Control – The rise of pro-ana/ pro-mia websites. Type anorexia or bulimia into an Internet search engine and the results will typically consist of help, information and support for people who are suffering from or know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder. Type in "pro-anorexia", or "pro-ana/pro-mia", and a very different picture emerges. With titles like Starving For Perfection, Anorexic Nation, 2b-Thin and Totally in Control, pro-ana sites are the antithesis of self-help websites for recovering anorexics. So much so that every site has a disclaimer on the front page…Perhaps a true challenge to pro-ana sites would be to explode the myth that dietary restrictions are the only fair measure of a person's capacity for self-control. If we continue to equate fat with laziness and thinness with strength and morality, even subconsciously, then the pro-ana movement cannot be blamed for effectively taking this train of thought to its logical conclusion. Full article.