The evangelical vegetarians at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (despite the name, only 10 percent of its members are medical doctors) have a habit of attacking President Obama and the First Family for their consumer choices. You see, apparently the President and the First Lady appreciate the occasional cheeseburger, and PCRM thinks that photos of the Obamas enjoying food cause obesity or something.
The group intends to petition the White House to forbid pictures of the Obamas or other members of the President’s staff eating what PCRM calls “carcinogenic or obesogenic foods.” Meanwhile, media outlets are eating PCRM’s press releases up. More and more, it seems PCRM is adopting the “press slut” philosophy of its comrades at PETA.
What are these evil foods anyway? Given PCRM’s track record, they are any foods with animal products. Whether it is bashing heart-healthy fish, lean chicken, or even milk, PCRM is no stranger to employing junk science to scare Americans to cut animal protein from their diets. The group has ludicrously compared bacon to cigarettes and its president has claimed that giving a kid cheese amounts to child abuse. “Cherry-picking data, a common PCRM practice, does not mesh with the scientific method,” writes McGill University’s Joe Schwarcz.
Why does PCRM push so hard against animal-based foods? Because PCRM is deeply involved in the animal rights movement. PCRM’s president was once a scientific adviser to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and head of the Foundation to Support Animal Protection (a.k.a. the PETA Foundation). PCRM and its affiliated groups get much of their money from a wealthy animal rights activist, and PCRM has received substantial grants from PETA in the past.
That track record drew the justified skepticism of the Los Angeles Times’ health blogger, who noted the real reason PCRM is pushing this petition: PCRM just wants free press to push veganism. What’s the matter, guys, did you have to cut your billboard budget?