Good Housekeeping… Bad Reporting
August 3, 2016
Director of Editorial Operations
Dear Ms. Siegel,
An article People Want Retailers to Stop Selling Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee Tuna and Starkist currently featured on GoogHousekeeping.com is rife with errors and reeks of sloppy, cut and paste press release journalism that is an embarrassment to your storied publication.
For starters reporter Lauren Smith names three specific companies in her headline yet it would appear she never reached out to any of them for comment. The National Fisheries Institute is the trade association that represents all three. Is it a common editorial practice for Good Housekeeping not to contact the subject of your reporting for comment?
Further, the headline claims “people” are interested in having retailers stop carrying certain canned tuna brands. This suggests the campaign is somehow consumer driven. It is not. There are no consumer-based calls for retailers to stop carrying these and or other tuna brands. This is a corporate Greenpeace fundraising campaign plain and simple. Your headline is erroneous and misleading.
The article goes on to claim that Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) are responsible for excessive by catch. It is clear on a number of levels that Ms. Smith did no actual research of her own, nor did she challenge Greenpeace’s press release at all. In fact, as evidence of the problems she claims arise from FADs she links to a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) fact sheet that does not mention FADs. She is either unaware or fails to report that WWF is a partner with Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee Tuna and Starkist in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation which devotes all of its work to tuna sustainability.
Ms. Smith also fails to report that published, peer-reviewed science has determined that FADs have bycatch rates similar to, or lower than, other fishing methods, a fact intentionally obscured by Greenpeace. When Ms. Smith concealed this fact from your readers was that out of ignorance or part of an agenda?
It is strange that your magazine chose to report on Greenpeace’s press release but not on the fact that these very types of corporate blackmail attacks have caused companies to sue Greenpeace in federal court under RICO laws—the same laws used to prosecute the mafia and other organized criminal enterprises. Indeed, Greenpeace has faced legal action on multiple continents in recent years—for everything from staging mock terror attacks to irreparably vandalizing priceless historical artifacts. This even as Greenpeace’s financial practices are under investigation after a string of controversies, including millions lost on a risky currency bet and the revelation that they pay for a top executive to commute to work by jet. Reporting on Greenpeace’s campaigns without mentioning these clear and present issues is tantamount to journalistic malpractice.
Please let us know how and when you intend to further edit this article to addresses this issue.
Vice President, Communications
National Fisheries Institute
cc: Jane Francisco
Editor in Chief