While NPR usually does a great job of fair reporting, I felt the need to remind them that they need to apply the same integrity to issues of animals and food. See my letter to the editor below.
Thank you for reporting on the Physicians for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) billboards about the effects of cheese. While your coverage on this issue is appreciated, it was reported with an unfair bias against the PCRM’s position, especially when the reporter stated that Dr. Neal Barnard was promoting his “personal belief” about a vegan diet. While I’m sure Barnard is a vegan, his group has not been promoting veganism based on belief! Meat and dairy has been shown in mainstream medical studies to be the major cause of obesity, heart disease, and indirectly, diabetes. Furthermore, veganism or a ‘plant-based diet’ has been shown for two decades to be the best diet to reverse heart disease.
Typically NPR has done a better job of researching the background of groups who have taken a stand, but in this case it appears that the reporter’s own bias against veganism did not allow her to consider that there was a long term scientific basis and mainstream medical, peer-reviewed research in support of the statements that PRM is making most of which is funded and published by mainstream clinical foundations, publications and top universities – such as the NIH, Cornell (i.e. “The China Study”) and Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
The PCRM’s position on veganism wasn’t based on Barnard’s ‘belief’. It is based on sound research and many Americans have taken the warnings of nutritionists and physicians to heart and choose to avoid meat and dairy. This isn’t radical; it’s just logical.