Opinion: "Hot doggin' it"
The way people talk about food and farm messages continues to be a hot topic all over the country this year. From “pink slime” to confinement crates, spin seems to be in overdrive.
Now we’re back to hot dogs.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is urging President Obama to cut out hot dogs, hamburgers and other "unhealthful food."
According to an article in USA Today, the group plans to file a Petition for Executive Action calling for “an executive order banning staged official photo ops that depict the president, the first family, the vice president and members of the president’s Cabinet with unhealthful foods, including processed meats that can cause cancer and obesity.” (The USA Today story included a picture of Obama eating a hot dog at a college basketball game.)
In a blog post on the Drovers Cattle Network, food-industry journalism Dan Murphy argues that the “latest attack by the veggie activists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is as silly, ill-conceived and off-message as it’s possible to be.” He goes on:
Dr. Susan Levin, the group’s director of nutrition education, said that “The White House would never set up a photo op of a president with a cigarette, so why they show him eating foods that cause cancer?”
Right. Because eating a hot dog is no different than smoking a pack of cigarettes. Given the plight of millions of American who die each year from deadly hot dog disease, you have to wonder why nobody’s established an American Hot Dog Disease Fund to raise money for research into this horrible killer.
Ridiculous? Not to PCRM.
“Hot dogs, hamburgers and other unhealthful foods kill more Americans each year than tobacco, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in health care,” Levin said. “The president can eat what he likes in private, but at orchestrated public events, our leaders are role models.”
So the message is that processed meats products are horrible killers, but it’s okay if the president eats all he wants on his own time. If he does so in public, however, then we’ll try to turn it into a publicity stunt that can be used for fund-raising among our born-again veggie believers.
For more insight on all the highly charged food talk, I highly recommend the “Digest This” talk show Harvest Public Media produced in Columbia, Mo., earlier this year.