Media's Warning This Memorial Day: Step Away from the Grill

If you were planning on a backyard barbeque this Memorial Day weekend, the media want you to cancel it. Unless of course, boiled tofu is on the menu.Grilling, steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, not to mention most of the other fixins’ are just too bad for you or the environment according to journalists.

We can’t broil and grill anymore?” replied “Today” co-host Ann Curry after a nutritionist said grilling is dangerous. She was talking to Joy Bauer, who said people need to avoid salty foods, grilling, frying and whole milk dairy products.“[Y]ou want to avoid having meats that are cooked at high temperatures, and that’s because when you grill or broil, we create these dangerous compounds called heterocyclic amines,” Bauer told Curry on NBC’s “Today” April 5.

Curry’s segment only included Bauer’s recommendation of avoiding foods that can “increase the risk” of cancer, no other medical or food industry perspectives.Journalists constantly attack the foods Americans eat and the companies that make them – Oscar Mayer, Tyson, Spence & Co. Ltd. and others. Reporters hype food dangers, complaining about the obesity “epidemic” and bringing on “consumer” experts who try to scare viewers from eating just about everything. They also rarely include any comments from the very companies or industries they attack.Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember those who died to protect the freedoms we enjoy. With freedom comes responsibility, of course, and that includes personal responsibility for what we put in our bodies. Americans have countless options. But the media don’t seem to want you using your freedom of choice when it comes to food – even for just one meal.

“[Y]ou should think twice about going on an occasional binge, because even one bad meal can hurt your body,” warned CBS’s Harry Smith on the Aug. 9, 2006, “Early Show.” “Researchers say that by eating one high-fat meal, it can actually start you on the way to clogged arteries and heart disease,” he added.

The media have blasted red meat as a cancer threat and as a contributor to global warming. Chicken presents bacterial dangers according to “CBS Evening News” and who can forget the way the media hyped bird flu. Even Jack Cafferty of CNN admitted it.

“We’ve fanned the flames of fear about this stuff,” said Cafferty on the March 18, 2006 “In the Money.”

The scare helped depress Tyson Foods stock. But the rest of the picnic isn’t safe from media scrutiny either.

“And, you know, it would be bad enough at a barbeque if we just ate the main course and a little side dishes in here. But, you know we also have drinks and we have desserts,” added Lauer on June 12, 2006.

If the media have its way, say goodbye to baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet - or at least the hotdogs and apple pie.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.