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Is food journalism too uncritical of foodies like Michael Pollan?

| | February 26, 2016
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This piece by Hermione Hoby in the Guardian is a prototypical example of uncritical food journalism that fully accepts the narrative and philosophy of the so-called food movement. . . .

In a testament to [Michael] Pollan’s influence on food-types, Hoby says that he and others have been “Pollanized.”

Perhaps the most remarkable claim in the piece is this one:

“[Pollan] is also uncomfortable at being thought of as evangelical (one magazine called him “America’s high priest of food”); his mode is investigative, not prescriptive.”

To say that Pollan’s “mode” is investigative, not prescriptive is wholly at odds with the facts.  And, the authors inability to discern that truth probably represents one reason why Pollan has been so influential. People read Pollan’s stories (he is a great writer) and don’t realize the implicit persuasion and moral the stories are attempting to instill.   Journalists don’t bother to get the other side of the story and they often don’t bother to read/watch what he says when not writing books.

Related article:  The sustainability case for "industrial agriculture"

. . . .

The truth, of course, is that Pollan has repeatedly offered prescriptive advice for policy makers and for food consumers.  He wrote a 2008 article for the New York Times Magazine entitled Farmer in Chief and was a co-author of a 2014 editorial in the Washington Post outlining a “national food policy.” These are chock full of prescriptive policy proposals.  And, he constantly gives prescriptive dietary advice . . . Here is perhaps his most well known: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

You can agree or disagree with Pollan’s policy or eating advice, but to say his mode is “not prescriptive” is frankly absurd.

Read full, original post: Food Journalists are Pollanized

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