Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Junk Journalism

Cheese — it's grosser than you thought - LiveScience

Click the hyperlink and you will be led to a piece of writing that, if it does not make your blood boil, will certainly cause you to question the intellectual credentials of the author or, in all fairness, her editors. At first blush it appears to be an "ew gross" treatment of the subject of "how cheese is made" that is aimed at kids and none-too-worldly-adult adults. Consider the opening sentence

"Cheese makes some foodies jump up and down like little kids, but behind that heavenly taste and texture lie bacteria, mammal stomach lining, pesticides and pure fat."

Okay, none of us want to ingest pesticides (more likely fungicides if you read the article carefully) but why should anyone be worried about bacteria and "mammal stomach lining" (rennet) and pure fat? Whoever wrote this is either a covert vegan or an over eager wannabe writer who is unwittingly playing into the hands of the same people who want to stop people from using animals for anything other than visual distraction and who refer to milk as "pus" and "the excretion of bovine mammary glands" in order to gross out potential recruits.


Bob said...

I think you nailed it.

She's a transparently covert vegan agitpropagator.

Witness the 3rd sentence from the end -

Other ways to get your calcium fix include eating the following foods: fortified grains, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, kelp, seaweed, watercress, chickpeas, broccoli, red beans, soybeans, tofu, seeds and raw nuts.

Bob said...

She apparently forgot that sea kittens are also a good source of calcium.

Jay said...

sounds like the "Skinny Bitch" folks at work. Had friends that stopped cheese for 2 months due to the "pus" in all dairy products. They "learned" this "fact" from the book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Neither of them are nutritionists, nor does the word vegan feature prominently in their message, but all animal products are found to have "gross" aspects. sigh...

Don Luis said...

Consider another highly-scientific article by the same author:

The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure

Here's the first line:

"The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out."

I can't help but wonder whether the bacteria living in my colon are the same ones that were in the Vermont cheddar I ate last night...

I'm convinced: no more cheese or farting for me.

LMH said...

As a scientist, it always infuriates me when people are not clear about the facts. Maybe they think they are "making a good story", but for the most part they are propagating misconceptions.

And I'm even a mostly vegetarian (because local meat on a graduate student budget is more of a luxury than a staple), health conscious sort of person. Just because cheese contains bacteria, that doesn't mean it's "gross" - I'd like to see the author try to digest some food with out her bacteria!

ggmora said...

Wow. It's a wonder I'm still alive.

Cameron Siguenza said...

So glad you posted this - I read this a few days ago and had the same thoughts.

1) Bacteria is everywhere
2) Some bacteria is harmful but some is healthful!
3) Take a biology course or 3 before writing another horrible article.
4) Who authorized this article, it reads like an opinion piece in a high school newspaper.

I plan to eat lots of cheese tonight, delicious, healthy and nutritious cheese.

Larbo said...

Bacteria aren't gross; bacteria r us!

A few months age, the WSJ published a good science article, called "The Body as Bacterial Landlord." It pointed out that microbes in and on our bodies outnumber our own cells ten to one. 10,000 microbes per square centimeter of skin; up to a million per square centimeter under the skin. An estimated 500 species of bacteria in our guts alone!

The scientists quoted all point out that we're more than "home" to all these microbes. They are part of us and perform work for our bodies that we're only beginning to understand.

Long live real cheese!

Cameron Siguenza said...

I sent letters to both MSNBC feedback


as well as the I love cheese group that is part of the Dairy industries assocation umbrella.

Contact link at bottom of page


I basically wrote them variations of this. Sore neck/back at the moment so not writing flawlessly. Heh

I believe this article is an example of fairly poor journalism. The person is negative about cheese, without explaining any of the benefits of cheese or dairy. It seems like a vegan position on animal husbandry and lacks balance or objectivity. We are losing connection with our foods and heritage when slanted articles appear unchallenged.

This is a short article. I invite you to read it and hopefully take some action, or at least send in your feedback

Cameron Siguenza said...

Oh - I meant to add that the bottom part was my message to both entities.