Friday, September 03, 2004

Mikey Doesn't Like It

Mikey Doesn't Like It

By Sandy Szwarc, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.P.
Published 08/21/2003

My goodness. I'm amazed by Michael Fumento's reaction to my recent series on Tech Central Station, which he calls an "Oxford English Dictionary-length propaganda feast." If I were to condense it into a Cliff Notes' version, what I said was so simple: We all need to get regular physical activity, eat normally and nourish our bodies with a variety of foods (plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, proteins, with a balance of indulgences). And this, rather than trying to be a certain weight, is the key to good health.

Incredibly, Fumento says following this advice will kill you -- "believe her and die."

He characterizes me as part of the "fatlash movement," which he equates with Big Tobacco. This struck me as odd, but I think I see what he was trying to get at. Lawyers and politicians made a fortune on tobacco settlements and they're eager to make another big score. They've now targeted the food industry, but before they can exact a settlement, they need victims ... lots of victims. To create them, a deadly obesity crisis must be fabricated. Fumento, himself, can tell you how it works. Years ago, in an article, "How the Media and Lawyers Stir Up False Illness," he described how easy it was to "wreak havoc in America" today by fabricating a health scare crisis, "particularly if the suggestion is made by your doctor, then your lawyer, and then the newspapers." The secondary gain behind these claims? "It's big bucks," he wrote, "which is where lawyers come in."

In another insightful article about SARS, he also helps us understand the whys of concocting "killer" diseases and panic. "It does sell papers," he wrote. Plus, "there's fame, fortune and big budgets" at stake. "The U.S. government and various universities have also seen these faux plagues as budget boosters."

But for some reason when it comes to the subject of obesity, all this good sense vanishes. In his response to my series, he makes his case by trotting out the same flawed and deceptive arguments and contorted research at the core of the envisioned big food settlement. He misquotes, sidesteps troublesome evidence, and even employs a peculiar research tool.


Post a Comment