SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – December 1999

The Christmas edition of the Times Educational Supplement makes depressing reading. The culture of fear, risk-aversion and stunted aspirations – the defining characteristics of contemporary society – pervade its pages. More

Expressing sense on GM. In the Express 17/12/99), Mo Mowlam re-introduces a welcome element of reason into the GM debate, with an article arguing for open minds, informed debate and scientific research. As the new Government Coordinator on GM Foods, it is pleasing to know that she is aware of some of the potential benefits of GM, although it is surprising to find that her priorities, which she declares are the same as the readers', include no reference to the Third World. More

Modified language. A headline in the Express today (16/12/99) declares "British back the farmers who sue GM crop giant". Reading on, one finds that the "British" in question are Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth, both of whom have expressed support for a lawsuit against Monsanto filed by US and French corn and soybean farmers. More

The hidden dangers of policing school food. In the current furore over school meals, both the politicians and the media have got bogged down in the details of which foods should or should not be banned, or exactly how the currently fashionable dietary prescriptions should be enforced. In this muddle, they have ignored two very important factors. More

Dieting damageUSA Today and ABC News carry reports of a new study showing that increasing numbers of teenage girls are dieting, and that this is leading to either eating disorders or weight gain or, in many cases, both. These findings are now commonplace, and one wonders whether yet another study was really needed to remind us that dieting is at best ineffective and at worst highly damaging to the mental and physical health of adolescent females. More …

Vital statistics show 'overweight' women are healthy.
New research recently announced at the Royal Society of Medicine (reported in the Times and by the BBC) shows that current methods of measuring obesity have classified thousands of perfectly healthy women as 'dangerously overweight'. More …

Pride, prejudice and pylons.
Sir Richard Doll's exhaustive study has now finally confirmed that, in the UK at least, there is no causal link between electricity pylons and childhood cancers – discrediting the scares published in every newspaper on Thursday, December 02. ( BBC, Guardian). Reason would now suggest that we start devoting time and research resources to looking for other possible causes, and treatments. More …

Stop preaching, start providing.
A return to 'Old Labour' socialist principles on equitable distribution of wealth would do more to improve the nation's health than any of the new regime's current preaching on healthy lifestyles.


happier, healthier fruit.