Networks Fuel Cancer Fright With Food Terror

November 1st, 2007 4:55 PM
What's that 1970s horror movie where the butcher runs after all the teenagers with a cleaver in one hand and a piece of red meat in the other? I can't remember, but the reports on CBS's "Evening News" October 31 and CNN's "American Morning" November 1 came pretty close to that, sans the cleaver.

The two networks decided to enjoy some of the Halloween spirit by scaring viewers with a "landmark" study finding consumption of processed meat could increase the risk of colon cancer.

CBS anchor Katie Couric made up her mind after the "frightening" news saying, "No more bacon for me," and CNN's Kiran Chetry found the news of the findings "very shocking" and noted that "I'm in real trouble here" because of her own eating habits.

Video: Clip (34 secs): Windows Media (1.96 Mb) or MP3 Audio (268 Kb)

Chetry went even further, "I guess what is so astounding is if they can extrapolate ... that it really does cause that much of a jump in risk it should come with a warning label you know just like cigarettes or alcohol does. That's what seems to be so surprising."

She later warned her co-host John Roberts to ditch the bacon and to "get rid of it, just hard boiled eggs or Raisin Bran."

Medical Correspondent for CNN Elizabeth Cohen at least allowed business its say noting, "The meat industry calls this, ‘Extreme, unfounded and irresponsible.'"

Cohen also said that it was possible to find experts not affiliated with the meat industry that would say, "not to eat processed meats at all is going a little overboard."

"This report is suggesting moderation, not total deprivation," added Dr. John LaPook of CBS.