Indulge me for a moment while I rant about the fundamental bias of this well-intentioned article from the other day's New York Times:
Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries
The underlying bias--the very framework beneath this article--is that eating veggies (or more generally, eating healthy) is too hard to do. And that is demonstrably false. It is not too hard to do.
But when the Times frames up a debate about eating vegetables in terms of "us vs. Doritos" or "helpless consumers vs. an evil and omnipotent food industry" it simply encourages readers to give their power away to the food industry, rather than take action on their own behalf. After all, what can you possibly do against a delicious, "flavor-blasted" Dorito sold to you by an all-powerful food industry?
Worse, when the Times manufactures generalized and unsubstantiated opinions disguised as facts in order to fit this bias (e.g., "And compared with a lot of food at the supermarket, [vegetables] are a relatively expensive way to fill a belly," an arrogant and false trope I've repeatedly read in the Times), people will once again just wring their hands--and again, not take action.
What should be a discussion about ideas and solutions becomes an enervating and circular "yes, but" argument.
I doubt the reporter who wrote this article has any idea of the enormous disservice she's doing to her readers. But the most pernicious biases are the ones that we have but don't know we have.
I'd like to gratefully thank readers Melissa Ortiz and Eurica Chang for spurring the ideas behind this post.
Don't Fall Victim to False Logic With the Food Industry
Let Them Eat Cake! Thoughts About Wealth, Power and the Food Industry
Who Really Holds the Power in Our Food Industry?
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