LancasterOnline.Com staff writer Ryan Robinson recounted a bizarre example of poor ethics at the American Egg Board. The editor of Nutrition Up-Close — which is a publication of the American Egg Board — took a parody story about the Animal Liberation Front and ran the story in his newsletter as if it were true.
The editor, Donald J. McNamara, claims that he ran the parody on purpose to demonstrate how desensitized people have become to ALF-style actions. Robinson writes,
The editor of Nutrition Close-Up said he lifted it from a satirical piece on the www.theonion.com Web site. He purposely ran the bogus news, he said, so he could follow it up with a commentary in an upcoming issue about the public’s desensitization toward such misdeeds by activists.
“I’ve only gotten two calls since the article ran, including yours,” Close-Up Editor Donald J. McNamara said, citing that fact as support for his theory. “It amazes me that with places being burned down and firebombed by animal rights groups, the public has become immune to that.
“Without public outrage to these things anymore, we allow people who use these tactics to achieve their goals.”
Robinson goes on to suggest a lame “ARAs and the ag. industry should try to find common ground”, but avoids the obvious that running a parody from The Onion as fact is the sort of unethical tactic that the American Egg Board would loudly condemn if animal rights activists pulled this sort of stunt.
The way to beat the animal rights movement is to take the high road and avoid engaging in such ridiculous tactics. McNamara could have reprinted plenty of accurate stories about AR terrorist attacks, such as the smoke grenades set off in a pair of Seattle office buildings in July. Running a fake story on purpose does not do much to inspire confidence in future claims by the American Egg Board.
Credibility is a commodity that is hard to acquire. The American Egg Board and other groups shouldn’t be so quick to call their credibility into question.
When people see Photoshopped pictures at VegSource.Com they are right to be skeptical of things that appear on the site. And people will now be asking whether the American Egg Board is playing it straight or bending the rules to make a point.
Moos on the loose: 71,000 cows freed from “human captors?’. Ryan Robinson, New Era (Lancaster)/LancasterOnline.Com, August 5, 2002.