NPR Food Blog Takes On Girl Scout Cookie Menace: 'You're Co-opting Innocent Children'

April 2nd, 2014 7:30 AM

At NPR’s food blog “The Salt” on Tuesday, Eliza Barclay channeled the fat-shamers (with no quote from Michelle Obama) who want the Girl Scouts to stop selling addictive cookies. They don't make the world a better place.

Barclay pushed how “a few brave voices argue it's no longer all that delightful to see little girls peddling packaged cookies, or to buy them in the name of supporting the community. (And no, this is not an April Fools' joke.)” It’s a public health menace:

To some doctors and parents, the tradition increasingly feels out of step with the uncomfortable public health realities of our day.

"The problem is that selling high-fat sugar-laden cookies to an increasingly calorie-addicted populace is no longer congruent with [the Girl Scouts' aim to make the world a better place]." That's what John Mandrola, a heart doctor in Louisville, Ky., wrote on his blog in March. (He also blogs for Medscape/Cardiology.)

Mandrola said he would ask the scouts "In our current society, not the one of 50 years ago, the one now, what sort of character is it building in young women to sell cookies to calorie-addicted inflammation-overwhelmed Americans?"

He even suggested these little girls were killing people like fishermen: "Making the world a better place must surely involve teaching young girls something other than profiteering at the expense of public health. Plus this: Is the act of selling cookies into this society sporting? My grandfather might have likened it to trout fishing in a hatchery."

Disclosure: my daughter is 16 and still in the Scouts, and so I have boxes of cookies for sale at MRC headquarters. For a video explanation of the Girl Scout Cookie ethic -- which I'm failing by selling the cookies at work -- see below:


NPR had more:

The sentiment was echoed by Diane Hartman, a writer and editor in Denver, who penned an indignant op-ed in the Denver Post, "Why are we letting Girl Scouts sell these fattening cookies?"

"They have some trans fat, some palm oil and are high carb ... all those things you've probably been trying to avoid," writes Hartman.

Barclay didn't quote Hartman's contempt for cookie buyers: "I will try to make a logical case here and ask readers to stop biting themselves and pretend they can be logical, too. America is drowning in obesity. Nobody wants to talk about this part of the Girl Scout cookie craze."

There are no happy Girl Scout cookie eater-supporters quoted, because this is basically a crusade, not a news report. Barclay dryly notes that 65 to 75 percent of the cookie price goes directly into Scouting activities. The Girl Scout central office gets one chance to set up more criticism:

“Girl Scout cookies are sold for a short time each year," Girl Scouts of the USA's chief communications officer, Kelly Parisi, tells The Salt in an email. "As such, Girl Scout cookies are considered a snack treat and are intended to be enjoyed in moderation."

But as Robert Lustig, the passionate anti-sugar crusader and pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, notes, that argument just doesn't fly anymore.

That's because Girl Scout cookies are followed by a steady stream of other seasonal snack treats intended to be enjoyed in moderation: like Peeps and Cadbury cream eggs and candy corn and candy canes. (McDonald's knows this trick and every year rakes in the profits with limited-time-only marketing of its McRib sandwich.)

"If you gorge out on Girl Scout cookies and that's all you did all year, it wouldn't matter," says Lustig. "But you don't. Girl Scout cookies are just another sign of the problem of hyperconsumption. ... It's no better than Tony the Tiger selling Frosted Flakes, and in a way it's worse because you're co-opting innocent children."

Indeed, Girl Scout cookies are addictive. And one glance at Twitter suggests no one's really eating them in moderation.

It's easy to joke about not being able to eat just one (or just four) Thin Mints. But it's pathetic for NPR to channel others whacking the Girl Scouts "co-opting innocent children."  NPR has pushed every libertine-left agenda item on children, including transgenderism. Once again, liberals are sexual revolutionaries (including the shredding of the "gender binary") at the same time they are complete Puritans about dietary matters.

PS: For more on dietary Puritanism, see Mary Eberstadt's Policy Review piece "Is Food The New Sex?"