WHO, Red Meat, and Cancer: The Mother of All Clickbait!

I can't help myself. I know I should be all, like, NPRish and serious and stuff --- but, well . . . I cannot help myself.

 random photo series 2015

random photo series 2015

Today the World Health Organization (WHO) released a long-anticipated report with equally anticipated findings: Processed meat (hot dogs, sausage, "lunch" meats, etc.) are carcinogenic. Red meat (beef, pork, lamb, goat? [not sure about that]) is probably carcinogenic.

Now go google some variant of that, or, better yet, search Twitter for some variant. You'll see a seemingly endless stream of HUGE HEADLINES that say something like:

MEAT CAUSES CANCER!

WHO WARNS OF CANCER RISK!

Etc. So I read the report and, again, can't help myself, started laughing. 

My deep-rooted, mostly buried cynical seam said "Jeez. Who paid the WHO for this?"

Okay. Okay. I'm sure the WHO did not pay anyone. But . . . the findings are fairly flimsy and it's great news for media sites (the scarier the headline the better. IMAGINE the day The Food Babe is having! Woo hoo!).

 random photo series 2015

random photo series 2015

And --- we've been there before. I don't know about you, but I haven't paid attention to what science says about food since the egg scare back in the 1980s. I thought that was the weirdest thing ever. Turned out I'd not seen anything yet. Since then damn near every food's been declared bad for us in one way or another. And then, oh, wait, five years later, it's not bad for us. 

Again: Etc. Plus, by now we jaded observers know how this works: We don't understand the science in the study, and "we" includes 99% of journalists, who are mostly robots now anyway  (where do you think all that bizarre click bait comes from?), and it's easy to make the science sound bad. (Because: clickbait.) (*1)

 random photo series 2015

random photo series 2015

Typically, and in this case, too, a bit of number crunching inevitably reveals that the science is sketchy and in any case the alleged risks are minuscule and really? what's to worry about anyway? Because at the rate we're going, everything's gonna cause cancer --- you wait: in a few years someone or other will link blog reading to cancer --- plus we're all gonna die anyway so what difference does it make if the possible, maybe, someday, perhaps result of eating "meat" is that we die at 81 instead of 82? (Besides, most of us will likely kick off before that, having been creamed by some dumbass texting while driving).

So. I don't know about you. But I'm taking this news with not a jot or iota of salt. But I will have, hmmm, what? . . .  I know! A BLT. Last of the season!

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1. Several hours after the fact: The Husband insists by all that is apparently holy to him that I here note the following: I don't mean that journalists are robots. I refer, instead, to the fact that these days, much online "content" is created algorithmically using various "robot"/artificial intelligence devices that can take keywords and write content. That's all I meant.