If it’s the week before Thanksgiving, it must be that special time again — time for travel writers to be duped by a phony "healthy" airport-food survey from the equally phony Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The animal rights zealots who pose as a mainstream health charity pull this stunt every year, and their agenda gets more and more transparent each time. So far this week, reporters in Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas have fallen for the ruse. And USA TODAY promoted the effort uncritically too.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Count the number of restaurants in an airport that offer vegetarian entrees.
Step 2: Divide by the total number of restaurants at that airport.
Step 3: Declare that only a high percentage makes for a "healthy" airport.
Step 4: Write a press release.
Step 5: Hope that nobody questions your overall anti-meat, animal rights agenda.
For what it’s worth, no less than The New York Times caught on a few years ago. In a sprawling travel feature, Times writer Joe Sharkey concluded that "the physicians’ committee has a PETA link, and its food rankings reflect that agenda."
It’s hard to blame reporters and TV producers — especially those whose local airports make the grade in PCRM’s survey — for jumping on the civic-pride bandwagon. But given the wealth of information available online about just who the group really is, three minutes on the Internet doesn’t seem too much to ask before swallowing someone’s definition of what constitutes "healthy" eating.
For a basic primer, click here, here, here, and here. No more excuses, okay?