The media are treating Thanksgiving like Halloween by whipping up one of their favorite bogeymen. ABC and NBC are now targeting canned food as potentially harmful to humans, because it contains a chemical that the media has long crusaded against: BPA, otherwise known as bisphenol-A, found in many plastics and packaging products.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that levels of BPA increased greatly in the human body after eating canned food. On Nov 23, ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News both reported on this study - and warned consumers of the potential dangers of eating canned food. NBC's report made sure to include "Hidden Danger" in the background in the beginning of the report.
NBC anchor Brian Williams teased the story: "There's new research tonight about a chemical called BPA, which some studies, as you may know, have been linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes." ABC's George Stephanopoulos similarly warned that "some studies have linked [BPA] to higher rates of deadly disease."
But ABC's medical correspondent, Dr. Richard Besser, admitted later in the report that that "it's a big step from where we are now, finding it in the body, to showing that it causes harm in terms of health. NBC's chief science and health correspondent Robert Bazell also noted that "despite studies showing that BPA is harmful to animals, no government has concluded that it is harmful to humans."
ABC aired no response from the packaging companies, or anyone critical of the study. The North American Metal Packaging Industries got 19 seconds of airtime to respond to the study on the NBC report. Bazell read a statement where the group noted that "FDA and Canadian authorities have consistently concluded that current exposures through canned foods do not pose a health risk to consumers, including newborns and infants."
The thrust of both reports was clear. The NBC report quoted Harvard School of Public Health researcher Jenny Carwile, who argued that "I think that anyone who wants to reduce their exposure to BPA - one way they can do that is by avoiding canned foods." ABC's Besser declared that "you could go fresh, or you could go frozen. Cut down on what you're having in canned food until that question is answered."
BPA has long been a bête noire for liberals, who blame the chemical for a host of illnesses and diseases. BMI has documented how the media has targeted BPA in water bottles, and used dubious studies to hype threats of consumer exposure to BPA.
Eliminating BPA is on the liberal agenda of Change.org. Change.org is a member of the Media Consortium, which received $425,000 from George Soros's Open Society Foundation. Harvard has also received over $3 million in funding from Soros since 2000. This might explain the fact that the Harvard School of Public Health previously targeted BPA on more than one occasion.
About 5400 other studies have indicated that BPA is safe. A January 2010 report from the FDA on BPA states that "Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA." And JunkScience.com's Steve Milloy blasted the study.
Perhaps the liberals in the media will be satisfied when every food is declared toxic.