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2001 – The year of new reason? – Welcome changes in media coverage of health and science issues.
The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the regulation of lifestyle. A review of Michael Fitzpatrick's new book.
Closing time at the Last-Chance Saloon? Over 10 years ago the then National Heritage Secretary, David Mellor, commented that the behaviour of some parts of the British media was so outrageous that controls on the 'sacred cow' of press freedom were necessary to curb their more extreme activities.
Homocysteine will be 'the new Cholesterol'? SIRC's monitoring of trends in dietary fashions and taboos indicates that meat will be the next nutritional folk-devil. In recent years, fat-bashing and fears about cholesterol, while still popular, have been overtaken to some extent by carbo-phobia and anxiety about 'glycemic load'.
The madness of Prince Charles. HRH Prince Charles' Reith lecture, Respect for the earth – A royal view, has angered and depressed in equal measure the entire science community. His mystical, and at times quite whimsical, views on the sacred status of nature started to make even Vandana Shiva's earlier lecture in the series seem half-way sensible.
Back to nature in India? Vandana Shiva's Reith lecture, Poverty and Globalisation, has predictably increased her standing among elitist, Western, green activist groups and anti-globalisation protesters. At the same time it has depressed many people with a more rational concern for poverty and hunger in the Southern Hemisphere.
Oxfam Hits Back on GM Stance. We reported in November 1999 the attack on Oxfam's position on GM crops made by Vandana Shiva, head of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Dehli. (See Oxfam Berated by Eco-Activists) Oxfam have now replied to this seemingly callous criticism, and we are happy to respond to a request by Koos Neefjes, their Policy Advisor, to feature this reply on our web site.
Backlash against the anxiety makers. Our 'Scares and Panics' column on the Mediawatch page usually has space for only a small fraction of the anxiety-generating articles which litter our newspapers every morning. It is difficult to find anything which has unequivocally been declared safe by the 'experts'. Hidden dangers are portrayed as lurking in every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat to the phones we use, and even the pet dog that we love and cherish.
All-American Food Fight. Unnoticed so far by the British media there is what is being described as the "All-American Food Fight" currently in progress in the United States. No, this has nothing to do with genetically modified crops – an issue which keeps the British in constant fear of turning into monsters. No, it is to do with what is normally the rather mundane subject of official dietary advice. With more than 1 in 6 of the American population now officially deemed to be obese, the interest in such things is high.
Oxfam berated by Eco-activists. Oxfam's recent position paper, Genetically Modified Crops, World Trade and Security is a thoughtful and balanced document. It is rightly concerned that the introduction of GM crops in the third world may lead to a consolidation of control of local agriculture by large, agro-industrial companies. It recognises, however, that GM crops, with their higher yields, "could be of benefit to poor farmers in the longer term if applications are directed to their needs."
F.I.T. only for the waste bin. The 'British National Survey on Genetically Modified Foods', currently being conducted by the Food Information Trust, is one of the most blatantly biased and unscientific studies we at SIRC have ever encountered.
Scaremongers: the new threat to children's healthThe current MMR vaccination crisis, which experts predict will lead to a measles epidemic, has highlighted a new public health problem: 'riskfactorphobia' – a psychological side effect of health scares.
The tide turns against Greenpeace Greenpeace anti-GM food activists may well have done the organisation's reputation irreparable damage. In place of the pious deference shown by the British Press to the movement's every word on biotechnology, a consensus is now growing that the mindless vandalism of recent weeks has gone too far.
Another Unfounded Food Scare?
A Little Bit of What You Fancy
GM Foods OK in US
Big Mouth: Food and pleasure
The secret agendas of health promotion
Do healthy adults need screening
Beware the Precautionary Principle
No more good air days
Recycling – the sacred cow of enviromentalism
Red meat and the health-scare gravy train
Health stories: Reading between the lines
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