Each year Greenpeace puts out a ranking of various grocery retailers, listed according to how much the retailers comply with the multinational activist group's demands on seafood sourcing. It's easy to mistake the yearly ranking as a publicity stunt. After all, the ranking is trumpeted with a press release from Greenpeace headquarters, presumably sent to news outlets far and wide, and it is touted on social media by Greenpeace's senior personnel.
In case you saw yesterday’s Opinionator blog and thought it warranted some questions to the New York Times, we did too. More and more we see columnists hiding behind opinion when they spout spoon-fed activist rhetoric and in this case we thought we’d bring just such an occurrence to the Times attention. Dear Ms. Hall:
Disgusted with environmental and eco-lifestyle activists scaring you with phony warnings about mercury in seafood? So are we.That’s why the National Fisheries Institute launched a new platform — The Truth About Fish and Mercury — on About Seafood. It is a space dedicated to distinguishing the willful deception of environmental and lifestyle activists who ignore research about seafood’s health benefits despite extensive independent scientific documentation.
Rodale, publisher of Prevention, Men’s Health and Women’s Health, wants to “make it simple” for readers: “The news can be confusing and contradictory. ... We take the confusion out of understanding your health [and] your environment. And we add a level of common sense and moderation that has been sadly lacking in the current sensation-seeking news landscape.”
People who buy magazines for tips and information on healthy living are looking for simple, clear, reliable advice to improve their health and wellbeing. Whether they’re reading nutrition tips or lifestyle how-tos, they expect the content to be accurate and current.
“I can’t do it anymore.” That’s what oceanographer and former chief scientist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sylvia Earle said this week when an ABC Nightline reporter asked her if she eats fish. The piece focused on her year stint at an underwater base called Aquarius, where she studied coral reefs in Key Largo. And although she grew up in a seafood-loving family and she herself has eaten “more than my share” now she says she “…can’t do it anymore” because she’s concerned about “all the pesticides and mercury floating out here.”
What’s happening at CBS? Last night, someone forgot to fact-check this online headline: “Study finds unsafe mercury levels in 84 percent of all fish.” That new “study” was neither published nor peer-reviewed, which makes it opinion. And opinion presented as fact is a huge no-no in journalism.