If it’s in the New York Times , it must be (guess the word)!


I think my favorite indiscretions of the venerable New York Times involve its prostituting for food sponsors.  And that is saying a lot if you still remember when the Times was championing war with Iraq based on its “reputable” sources on weapons of mass destruction.

I think my favorite ever article — it must have bought the Times a slug of advertising – was Gary Taubes’s “What if it’s all been a Big Fat Lie?” where “science writer” Taubes wrote “members of the American medical establishment … spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along (emphasis added) … they find that their very own dietary recommendations – eat less fat and more carbohydrate – are the cause (emphasis added) of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America.”

My goodness!  Robert Atkins (may he rest in peace) was right all along!  I assume the New York Times exacted a handsome bounty for that article.  It should have.  Sales of the Atkins diet books reportedly tripled in the month following the Taubes polemic, presumably also leading to a run on bacon, sausage, and whole milk.

Yes, the Atkins revolution people were generous advertisers in the New York Times, essentially buying the newspaper’s editorial voice on matters of nutrition.  Sad.  Shameful.  Cynical.

And if you’ve been reading the previous posts, you know that the basic supposition is false.  At the time of the Taubes article (July 7, 2002), Americans were not overdosing on complex carbohydrates.  They were consuming well under half of the calories recommended by creditable nutritionists.  In fact, Americans have never been on a high-complex-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, despite the theme of Gary Taubes’ article — and despite the dubious reputation and integrity of the New York Times.

So what word to place in the post title?  Certainly not “true!”