Complaint to RTE re What Are You Eating broadcast by RTE on Thursday 8th of March

This is some notes that I am making available for feedback with regard to making a formal complaint about the programme. What Are You Eating broadcast by RTE on Thursday 8th of March and I am also considering making a complaint about the contents of  publicity on the Ray Darcy show on the same date http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9%5F21330414%5F19148%5F08%2D03%2D2018%5F

 I would encourage people to make a complaint if they feel it is necessary and remind you if you wish to make a complaint you need to do so inside 30 days, however if you feel that there was a pattern of problems you can link two or more broadcasts together and extend the 30-day deadline.

I would like to draw your attention to the programme, What Are You Eating, broadcast by RTE on Thursday 8th of March 2018 .Associated with this programme there were a number of promotional pieces for the show that also need to be investigated. https://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/food/2018/0308/945877-is-veganism-as-healthy-as-people-think-it-is/
and on the Ray Darcy show of the same date https://www.facebook.com/rteradio1/videos/1673597606031269/
 
When you examine all three broadcasts, it is clear that all three transmissions contain factually incorrect information and are all biased and misleading. When you combine all three programmes, you can see the full extent of the pattern of biased and inaccurate reporting. All three broadcasts are the subject of this complaint.
 
At the outset, this complaint is going to be long and detailed and a little bit unusual in its format.The reason for this is that there were so many things wrong with the programmes and a large part of the complaint is that the programmes are biased not only by what was said but also biased by what was left out, there are many obvious things that should have been included in the programme. Proving that a programme is biased needs a detailed analysis of the programme. As I dont expect the committee members who review complaints to be familiar with the subtler points of the whole food plant-based vegan diet. I am going to give several examples of people and topics that any programme researcher would have discovered and would most lightly be included in the programme if they were not biased against a vegan diet. So to fully understand the problems with this programme the topics and people who were excluded from the programme are as important as the inaccuracies and biases on the programme.
 
The purpose of this complaint is to save lives, improve peoples health by getting the inaccuracies in the programme corrected and stop similar biased programmes been broadcast.
 I would like to remind the RTE committee reviewing this complaint that the public is entitled that production, reporting and questioning on any news or current affairs item are credible, trustworthy and editorially independent.
“Audiences are entitled to, and do, trust that the news and current affairs content they access from the broadcast media is accurate. Accurate information enables citizens to participate more fully in a democratic society. Accuracy is, therefore, a fundamental principle associated with the broadcast of news and current affairs content” “the principles of transparency and accountability are concerned with ensuring that practices and procedures adopted by broadcasters in sourcing, compiling, producing and presenting news and current affairs are visible, open to scrutiny, robust and accessible.
The manner in which persons and groups in society are represented shall be appropriate and justifiable and shall not prejudice respect for human dignity. Programme material shall not stigmatise, support or condone discrimination or incite hatred against persons or groups in society in particular.
 
 I believe this programme has done a great disservice to the public by adding to the confusion around what is healthy food.The food industry and any business that sells you unhealthy products thrive on uncertainty and misinformation, and it loves to propagate the notion that one day you’re told something is bad for you, the next week you’re told it is good for you. So people give up and continue to make unhealthy lifestyle choices because of the conflicting advice. By making nutrition advice seem confusing, they can continue to sell you unhealthy products.
I believe that RTE, by broadcasting this biased and factually inaccurate programme will influence many people to continue to eat food that will make them sick, keep them sick and shorten their lives.
This complaint has two distinct parts
The first part of the complaint is to highlight the type of topics that were not broadcast and the way I have done that is to describe what topics I would have covered if I was the producer of the show.
Leaving these topics out of the show leaves me in no doubt that the show was biased against a plant-based vegan diet from the beginning.
The second part of the complaint is a detailed analysis of the factual errors and what I perceive as biased information that was broadcast.
 
To understand why I think this programme is fundamentally flawed and biased against the plant-based diet let me give you an example of how I thought the programme should have been done and why I was so disappointed in it.
 
I was so looking forward to watching this programme as I was familiar with some of the programmes that Philip  Boucher-Hayes had done in the past and I considered him a good journalist and as head of head of RTÉ’s Radio Investigative Unit, I was confident that he would leave no stone unturned in the search for the truth about how a vegan diet would affect peoples health. He was the ideal man for the job as head of RTE investigative unit nobody was going to pull the wool over Philip’s eyes.
I had already visualised how the programme would be lightly to start this was going to be easy all the science was on the web and was easily accessible ,the advantages and disadvantages of the plant-based vegan lifestyle were going to get a fair hearing with Philip, after all, I had seen this guy on the Late Late show warning the public about what was in our sausages anybody who has the balls to say sausages are bad for you on the Late Late gets my respect. It would be great if for a change we had somebody on RTE with an open mind about a plant-based vegan diet rather than been biased against vegans which seems to be the norm.
 
So the programme was definitely going to have an interview with the twins from the Happy Pear David and Stephen Flynn these lads would be able to give a good insight into how plant-based food affect your health, they run a huge business in Ireland much of it to do with healthy eating, having released a number of cookbooks with lots of tasty vegan recipes and they run an online heart healthy course .Their cookbook contains vegetarian and mostly vegan recipes. It was a number one best-seller for two years in a row, it had outsold  Donal Skehan, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson who all were selling cookery books at the same time, This was something the lads are very proud of and they have a huge youtube following
 
I could see Philip signing up for the online healthy heart course and challenging them to prove the claims on the website “Twin chefs, David and Stephen Flynn have developed a delicious, oil-free plant-based eating program. For those who transition to this lifestyle, it will be the end of the heart disease, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and a host of other common chronic killing diseases. It is a revolution for all.”    This is the claim that the twins from the happy pear make and Philip Boucher-Hayes would have to ask the lads to back up what most people would consider an outlandish claim.
These were big health claims being made for the plant-based vegan lifestyle and I expected Philip to use all of his skills to investigate these claims and the public would at the end of this programme know if these claims were based in fact or fiction.
Perhaps he might ask the whole film crew to go vegan for the month who knows what was going to happen but I was sure that the Happy Pear twins, perhaps Irelands most famous plant-based foodies were going to be on the show.
Then I could picture Philip getting his bloods taken, getting weighed, BMI calculated and getting his blood pressure taken by some well-known doctor, Dr Cira Kelly came to mind, but then I said no she works for Newstalk so RTE won’t employ her. So I was not sure who the doctor would be, but one thing was certain there would be some very qualified doctor on the show perhaps one who specialised in preventing heart disease or perhaps one specialising in obesity or cancer. I guessed it would be most lightly one that dealt with heart disease as the link between heart disease and diet is very strong.
I then could see a Consultant Dietitian been asked to provide expert advice on what foods one should eat on a vegan diet perhaps RTE would employ a dietitian who specialised in plant-based nutrition this would give the programme the best chance to work, Dr Conor Kerley came to mind,a quick search on the net would reveal Conor’s credentials, Conor has worked in several hospitals, universities and other institutions in Ireland and most recently in the United States. Conor served as chairperson of the Scientific and Research Steering Group of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute (INDI) Dr Kerley developed an interest in nutrition and lifestyle after being diagnosed with MS at the age of 15, Perhaps they might ask Conor about his own experience of a plant-based diet were once he went plant-based his symptoms of MS completely went away never to return.His story alone would take up the whole programme. He was in my mind the most qualified person to oversee the dietary requirements of the show.
I could see the Consultant Dietitian been asked about the pitfalls of a vegan diet and been asked was it a fad diet and been asked about protein and I could guess what Conor’s answers would be
Yes you do need B12 if you are on a vegan diet and you may need vitamin D in the winter if you don’t get enough sunshine.
The question is it hard to get your protein on a vegan diet would be asked, and the answer would be it would be hard not to get enough protein on a vegan diet if you consume enough calories.
 
Then it would be back to the twins from the happy pear who would give some cooking demonstrations which are their area of expertise.
 
I then pictured Philip and perhaps even the whole film crew all getting their weight, blood pressure readings and blood samples were taken every week under the care of a doctor to see what changes happen.
I then pictured RTE getting an interview with perhaps Dean Ornish or Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn both of which have published peer-reviewed study’s showing that heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet. Or perhaps RTE might interview Colin T Campbell author of the China study who was able to link the consumption of animal products with cancer. And perhaps linking all of them to Ex-president of the US Bill Clinton who switched to a mostly vegan diet for health reasons on the basis of these three plant-based experts have published in peer-reviewed studies.
 
Then I pictured RTE talking to the Irish cancer society who would give a short segment on the benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day and what the world health organisation had to say about the dangers of eating processed meat and how even grass-fed Irish meat is suspected of causing some cancers, and it is prudent to limit the consumption of even grass-fed meat despite it containing many good nutrients.
 
I then pictured RTE looking at the farming industry in Ireland and getting the Vegan and the farmer’s point of view on the vegan attitude to farming I could visualise a segment with a spokesperson from WWW.govegan.ie perhaps Sandra Higgins and her controversial poster campaign which has extended to many different country’s her controversial animal rights advertising campaign that claims drinking milk is inhumane has been given the thumbs up by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) in the UK would surely be newsworthy.I could see some Irish farmers been asked about the posters around Ireland saying eggs and milk are inhumane.
 
The controversial Netflix documentary What The Health, that has been credited with changing many people to a plant-based vegan lifestyle including Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton would most lightly get a mention, it was a big hit in 2017 and continues to be very popular it surely would be included in the programme.
Perhaps a spokesperson from the Vegetarian Society of Ireland might make an appearance I think Maureen O’Sullivan might have something to contribute to the programme.
 
I then thought perhaps if Philip used his investigative skills he would uncover the late great Irish doctor Denis Burkitt and the origins of the dietary fibre hypothesis.
Perhaps Philip might discover retired Dublin Dr John Kelly who wrote a book( stop feeding your cancer) on how all of his patients who adopted a plant-based vegan diet has remarkable results in slowing down or stopping the growth of cancer except for two patients who had pancreatic cancer.
 
I could see RTE getting Dr Michael Greger, M.D. is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker who runs the first science-based, non-commercial website to provide free daily videos and articles on the latest discoveries in nutrition to contribute to the programme Michael would surely make himself self-available for an interview for a well-respected TV station like RTE and a well-respected journalist like Philip Boucher-Hayes and Philip would be able to ask the hard questions about a vegan diet from a expert.
 
Perhaps Philip would discover Dr Kim Williams, past president of the American College of Cardiology when he would be researching the benefits of a plant-based vegan diet perhaps Dr Kim Williamswould be on the show.
 
Perhaps Philip would uncover a new trend in the USA, where Kaiser Permanente advised its physicians and health care providers to recommend plant-based diets to their patients, noting that plant-based diets may be of particular benefit for those with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and conditions related to cardiovascular disease. You might ask who is Kaiser Permanente, well it had 11.7 million health plan members, 208,975 employees, 21,275 physicians, 54,072 nurses, 39 medical centres, and 720 medical facilities. and a net income of $64.6 billion in operating revenues. The largest managed care agency in the United States, serving 10.1 million members. Kaiser has a vested interest in keeping their clients healthy.
 
Would the Blue Zones get a mention, these are regions of the world where people live much longer than average and they eat a 95% plant-based diet.
 
 
Would the topic of overfishing and pollution of the world’s oceans be covered and the heavy metals that are found in fish. Would fish farming be covered?
 
 
Would Rosanna Davison somehow make a guest appearance as she is plant based for the last number of years?
 

 Would they list off some famous vegans on the show?

Alec Baldwin , Miley Cyrus, Morrissey, Sir Paul McCartney, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and   Arnold Schwarzenegger all came to mind

I was certain that we would see some information on the rise vegan athletes, Grand Slam tennis ace Serena Williams. Four-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, boxer David Haye and many NFL players who are going 100% or almost 100% plant-based, Tom Brady the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player for the last 3 seasons credits his success to his plant-based diet.In 2018, Brady threw for 505 yards at 40 years old, setting a record for most passing yards in a Super Bowl, This is not new information that has just come out in the last few years, Carol Lewis Lewis voted World Athlete of the Century credits his outstanding 1991 results in part to the vegan diet he adopted in 1990,as do many long distance athletes from Africa. The Roman gladiators consumed a vegan or near vegan diet so lots of interesting material available to give vegan athletes a shout out.Perhaps vegan mixed martial artist, Nate Diaz who beat Connor McGregor might get a mention or even an interview.

There are so many positive and surprising things about the whole plant food vegan lifestyle that could green I did not envy the producers in deciding what was going to be shown on the night.

I even thought that Philip might join the long list of people who are eating mostly plant-based diet after all when he got the Weight loss, increased energy levels, improved mood, lower cholesterol and reduced blood pressure, and often cheaper food bills are just some of the benefits that people regularly get when the go plant-based.
 
 
The second part of the complaint is a detailed analysis of the factual errors and what I perceive as biased information that was broadcast.
Let me start with the most straightforward claim to dismiss.
 
 
The shows the main conclusion, which was treated as a very serious health problem was that Philip Boucher-Hayes lost 2% of his bone density and “a good 2Kg of muscle mass” which was calculated as 3% of his muscle mass, as a result of being on a plant-based vegan diet for 28 days. Philip also said his muscle disposition went lopsided because of the vegan diet on the Ray Darcy show of the same day. These are false and sensationalist claims that were used to promote the programme and wrongly undermined a plant-based vegan diet.
 
The data to support this conclusion came from a Tanita Segmental body analyzer. The report from the Tanita Segmental body analyzer actually listed a 1.9Kg difference in muscle mass while on the show it said: “you lost a good 2 kg of muscle ” so even the purported muscle loss of 2 Kg was, in fact, inaccurate and an exaggeration of the flawed data, which showed a 65 Kg muscle mass at the start of the experiment and then 63.1Kg muscle mass at the end of the experiment.
Philip stated that “through diet, in one month I have done to my self what otherwise it would take ten years of not been physically active to do” so basically he wants the public to believe that his muscle system aged ten years from eating a plant-based vegan diet in 28 days. This is an outrageous and erroneous claim which is based on flawed data.To make matters worse, on the Ray Darcy show Philip claimed his bone density loss was 3% not the 2% that was was in the written report on the show. And he claimed that his muscle disposition went lopsided in 28 days.
All of the reported data from segmental body analyser except for Philips weight and BMI is not accurate, and ironically the only accurate figures, his weight loss figure of 5Kg and changes in BMI were never quantified, and the usual figures were never discussed on the programme. I only know the data because the report from the Tanita segmental body analyzer was shown for 3 seconds on the TV screen and I was able to pause the programme and read the detailed reports.
Here are the main reasons that the data in the report is useless:
 
Keith Erickson from Tanita Corporation,  the manufacturer of the segmental body analyzer used on the programme has examined the data from the show and has said “it is likely that the measured values for bone mass and muscle mass are a result of higher water weight loss” In plain English, this means the claimed 2% bone mass and 3% muscle mass loss figures that Philip was worried about cannot be relied on as been accurate.
 
Philip claimed on the Ray Darcy show the his muscles went  lopsided in the distribution of muscle mass (a claim that was not made on the main programme)  When Keith Erickson from Tanita corporation was asked about this lopsided issue and was this result lightly to be as a result a difference in the electrical connections to one of the electrodes rather than a real loss of body mass on one side of the body. Would say some dirt on the soles of one foot or one hand been slightly moist compared to the other hand or even an uneven grip cause this anomaly?  He replied,
“its unlikely someone would experience a drastic change in body composition over 28 days and suddenly appear lopsided”.
So the manufacture of the segmental body analyzer says that it is unlikely that Philips body became lopsided in just 28 days.
 
Aveen Bannon the consultant dietitian for the programme ‘What Are You Eating’, has stated in an email  that “not all of the key input variables were adhered to”, and she also stated they were “aware of the protocols required for more reliable readings but you will appreciate meeting them all is seldom practical”.
 
The Tanita analyser only measures two things weight and electrical impedance. The electrical impedance of the body can easily change, the smallest thing can affect it, just telling a lie could alter the readings slightly after all this is how a lie detector works, it detects small changes in electrical impedance.
Some examples of key variables, all of which are required for the machine to get the best accuracy which is at best 2%. If just one or more of these variables is out, you won’t get the claimed accuracy of 2%.
Measuring three hours or more after waking up, with normal day-to-day activities carried on during this time (simply sitting or travelling by car will keep impedance high).
Use at the same time on each occasion,
Use at least three hours after a meal.
Readings are affected by the level of hydration. Your body water levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day and night. Your body tends to be dehydrated after a long night and there are differences in fluid distribution between day and night. Eating different foods or different amounts of food affect the readings.
The list goes on, when you pee, poo, drink alcohol, exercise, shower, amount of sleep you get, if you had vigours sex in the previous 12 hours all affect the accuracy of the readings.
One of the key variables that need’s to be got right for consistent readings is the time of measurement. Tanita recommends that readings are most consistent when taken between 6 and 8 pm before eating. This did not happen. According to the reports that flashed up for 3 seconds on the show, the first reading was taken in the morning and the second reading was taken in the afternoon 35 days apart not 28 days which was the length of the diet.Knowing this and other key variables were not met, and that the overall tolerance of the machine was at best 2%  under ideal conditions and that this type of bone and muscle loss in 28 days is not associated with a vegan diet, one can only conclude with a high degree of certainty that the reported bone and muscle loss did not happen.
A 2% difference in readings would be meaningless even if all the key variables were accurately controlled, as this is the tolerance of the machine. And a 3% difference in readings is meaningless as all the key variables were not met. All of this information is available on the Tanita website and or the user manual https://tanita.eu/help-guides/f-a-q
This means the viewers were completely misled into thinking that this plant-based diet did serious damage to Philip Boucher-Hayes’s health.
To accept the estimated bone and muscle density from a segmental body analyzer that does not measure directly bone and muscle density especially when such results were outside the expected results and not question the accuracy of the results was negligent.  To place so much importance on a 2% and 3% difference in readings when the accuracy of the machine is 2% in ideal conditions was utterly irresponsible. It was incorrect to attach great significance to such a change when it is clearly inside the margins of error of the equipment under the conditions it was used. If the programme wished to use changes in bone density and muscle mass they should have used the correct machines to measure these parameters which are only available in a hospital setting under the direction of a doctor.  This was not just a mistake that was made, the results fitted a prejudice that a vegan diet was unhealthy, so the “poor” results were accepted without question, celebrated, exaggerated, and broadcast with glee without proper scrutiny and editorial control on a number of different RTE programs all of which need to publish a retraction .
 
I can’t think of any other TV show where somebody who is overweight and is on the record as saying “I have chronically high cholesterol”, went on a 28 day diet for the show, Philips weight was measured, his BMI was calculated, and “a raft of blood tests were done”, yet no cholesterol results were discussed or shown on the programme. It is normal when somebody eliminates dietary cholesterol from their diet (which is only found in animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs) to experience an improvement in their cholesterol levels, why was this topic avoided on the programme? It is an obvious question to be asked did his cholesterol change while he was on the diet?
Philips weight went from 86.6Kg to 81.6Kg a 5Kg drop in 28 days, these figures were not discussed on the programme. If the loss of weight and improvement in BMI was discussed, it might have been seen as a positive thing for the vegan diet, instead of the phrase used to describe his weight loss was “not necessarily a bad thing” so even his weight loss might have been a bad thing. The decision not to quantify, discuss and give credit to a plant-based diet for any improvements in BMI and cholesterol levels can only be seen as an effort to distort the results and ignore or hide the well-known positive outcomes of being on a plant-based vegan diet. If the medical records show decreases in cholesterol (total, HDL, and LDL), weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen, as one would expect on a plant-based diet, then the programme-makers have deliberately withheld key data.
 
 
Philips claims about ” scans for my bone density and my muscle disposition” are very misleading. Here is a quote “What we did when I did the Vegan diet, as we did in all the other fad diets that I had done previously, was that I went for a raft of check-ups. They took so much blood out of me that I was like a pin cushion. I had various scans for my bone density and my muscle disposition and so on so that we would have a really reliable ‘before and after’.
“We were able to monitor, in minute detail, what happened to me and a lot happened to me in a very short space of time.”
“I’m not some dietary or biological freak – I’m pretty much an everyman. So if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to anybody else who tries to take on this diet.”
Most people will know somebody who has had a bone scan done, it is a standard medical diagnostic procedure carried out in a hospital setting. When people talk about bone scans what they are talking about is an imaging technique of the bone, it is an enhanced form of x-ray technology, used to help diagnose problems with your bones. You cant get a bone scan done on the machine shown on the programme. According to the  Tanita website ” The Bone Mineral Mass feature indicates the estimated weight of bone mineral by statistical calculation based on close correlation with skeleton size and Fat Free Mass. This measurement is not intended as a substitute for more detailed assessments of bone density and/or osteoporosis”.
 
So according to the manufacturer, this machine cant scan your bones, it is not to be used  as a substitute for more detailed assessments of bone density ,it cant tell you anything except your weight and  BMI in minute detail and you dont have ” really reliable ‘before and after ” data because the protocols required for reliable 2% readings were not adhered to on the show . Philips “reliable scientific information” was not very reliable, scientific or accurate, and he did not get this information from a medical doctor.
So I believe the miss-classification of what Philip got done as a bone scan had the effect of giving the impression that a medical diagnosis was done and the negative findings of this bone scan report would wrongly stop people reducing or eliminating meat from their diet.
Reducing meat consumption for most people would have a positive effect on people’s health and also reduce their carbon footprint. This would mean that RTE has failed to deliver fair, objective and impartial, news and current affairs content as outlined in the Broadcasting Act 2009 is a breach of the 2009 act.
 
 
Philip had a segment discussing the concerns for animal welfare, the first three people to speak on the topic were non-vegan meat eaters journalists why was this topic not dealt with by vegan spokespersons, rather than people some of who may have an interest in maintaining the status quo and who are not experts on the vegan beliefs , this was an opportunity for the show to be more balanced. Why was what Sandra Higgins had to say on this topic not broadcast. This is another example of bias and imbalance that contributes to a breach of the 2009 Broadcasting act.
 
The programme seemed to be unbalanced all these words or phrases were used to describe vegans or the vegan experience in a negative light.
Fashionable, lonely, horrible, cheating, hardcore, virtues vegan, vegetarian craze, cranky, new converts, challenge, hate vegans, been around vegans make me feel bad, really restrictive, smacks of western indulgence, fashion on the rise, veganism has not been fun until now, doing my health serious damage, weak, fatigue, depressed, faddish, fatigued, its not easy. These phrases and the way they were used, in particular, the comment by Darina Allen about the beginning of the vegetarian craze when she used to shop in a health food shop where all “the staff were cranky, and she felt that they needed a good stake”.  Another anty vegan piece where it says “chefs hate vegans for asking them to give up the foods that are delicious.”   These comments and phrases are a breach of the guidelines that require that all persons and groups in society are represented and comments shall be appropriate and justifiable and shall not prejudice respect for human dignity, and material shall not stigmatise, support or condone discrimination or incite hatred against persons or groups in society.
 
Philip started off to cast veganism negatively from the start where he described a vegan diet as a fashionable and a fad diet. If he had done his research in an unbiased way and investigated that preconceived but common stereotype, he would have found out that all mainstream dietetic associations in Ireland, Uk and worldwide have the same view. None of them calls a whole food plant based diet a Fad diet. It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.
 
Next, we have a writer and journalist John Mckenna telling us that in his generation that meat protein was in the centre of the plate.  He has lived in a time where meat is produced on an industrial scale however if you go back just one generation things were much different. If you look at the archives of the Irish folklore collection collected in the 1930 tys you will see that meat was not eaten regularly in previous generations.
Here are some links to back this up
 
“Meat was not eaten so often as it is eaten now.”
“Very little meat was eaten and it was not until American bacon was introduced to the country that people ever knew the taste of flesh meat.”
“Meat was very scarce”
“There was very little meat eaten.”
 
“people would not get meat from one end of the year to the other”
 
“Meat was very seldom used”
 
“Meat was very seldom used”
 
 
 
Next we had Catherine Cleary food journalist from the Irish times telling us that until recently been a vegan was a lonely path with clips of two unkempt hairy hippie type guys from about 40 years ago and one lonely guy sitting on his own at the top of a mountain perhaps he was doing yoga and meditation , it portrayed the origins of Veganism in a negative manner.
Next, we had Philip asking members of the public what is a vegan and again vegans were portrayed as unappealing.
He then decides to go vegan for a month and the three reasons he gives for people going vegan are the influence of the internet, environmental concerns and the worry about animal welfare, no mention of expected health benefits, weight loss, etc.
 
Then we meet Consultant Dietitian Aveen  Bannon who when asked where can a vegan diet go wrong and she was concerned about getting enough protein on a vegan diet. Most dietitians or doctors who themselves are plant-based say that it would be hard to have any reasonable plant-based diet that would not meet the protein requirements of a person as long as they were eating enough calories.
 
 
 
Then we have a segment talking about the fact that vegans can eat a diet of Tayto crisps and Guinness which would be unhealthy. This may sound trivial but Tayto dont make any vegan crisps. This is another example of time been wasted with information that is incorrect.
 
In the next segment, we have Darina Allen well know chef talking about the beginning of the vegetarian craze when she used to shop in a health food shop where all the staff were cranky and she felt that they needed a good stake. Once again non-meat eaters were portrayed in a negative light.
 
RTE are obliged not to broadcast material that encourages people to imitate acts which are damaging to the health and safety of themselves or others or grossly prejudicial to the protection of the environment.
This principle has been contravened several times If a person young or old was to try making a flint cutting implement as demonstrated on the show by banging two pieces of rock off each and breaking off a sharp bit, they risk getting pieces of flying stone into their eyes, which could result in serious injury. This was an interesting demonstration, but basics safety procedures were not followed as no safety glasses were used.
 Dismembering a deer, duck or any wild animal in a public place may not be breaking the law as long as the person doing it was qualified, Can RTE clarify was there a qualified person present when this butchering was taking place. However dismembering a deer, duck or any wild animal in a public place is a danger to the environment and to other members of the public who may come in contact with the blood and guts that inevitably cant be cleaned up fully. Also exposing a person’s bare hands as demonstrated to the internal organs of a dead wild animal could expose the person to bloodborne pathogens, viruses and lethal bacteria, an unskilled person is at even higher risk as they could get the contents of the colon on their body.So these two demonstrations were a breach of the broadcasting act as the material that encourages people to imitate acts which are damaging to the health and safety of themselves or others or grossly prejudicial to the protection of the environment.
 
 
Philip said that beef is not intensively raised in Ireland, and it is true that compared to many countries we do much less intensive farming.But dont think that all the beef you eat has come from animals who have spent 2 happy years feeding on grass. A lot of beef comes from cows who cant produce enough milk who have been intensively raised and are killed at 4 or more years of age. And intensive beef farming is happening and promoted by Teagasc, See
”  Bulls from the dairy herd, in particular, have a tendency to be quite
active, especially if they become stressed. Robust facilities
are required, from housing and handling pens to fencing
and water troughs. A period of intensive indoor feeding is
required over the final 3-4 months in order to ensure that
animals reach the required level of finish, which is generally a
minimum fat class of 2+. “.
What this advice says to me is that it is far more profitable to unnaturally feed animals in “robust facilities ” with processed feed for the last few months of their lives as it bulks them up in a way grass-fed animals cant achieve.
More wrong information that makes the case that this programme is biased against the vegan message and fails to reach the minimum standards and practices that are expected of broadcasters in their treatment of current affairs content.
 
 
When it became known that Philip Boucher-Hayes did not follow the instructions of the consultant dietitian and was in a 600 calorie daily deficit why the experiment not redone with the diet the Consultant Dietitian recommended? This is another poor editorial decision. The programme did not reach the minimum standards and practices that are expected of broadcasters in their treatment of current affairs content and is in breach of the Broadcasting Act 2009.
 
Philip joins the Vegan in Ireland Dublin walking tour, run by Sivan Pardo Renwick and her husband Scott. When Philip was challenged by a vegan member of the group with the fact that the World Health Organisation said processed meat is carcinogenic, Philip the experienced broadcaster that he is said with the air of authority and confidence “hold on a second — “increases your risk of exposure is not automatically carcinogenic “. Philips rebuttal of the point did not make any sense, but because he said it in such a confident manner, a viewer would come away with the view that the World Health Organisation did not say processed meat is carcinogenic. Can RTE correct the record, here is what the World Health Organisation has said about processed meat.
 
Here is the correct information.
Processed meat was classified as Group 1, carcinogenic to humans. What does this mean?
This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.In other words, there is convincing evidence that the agent causes cancer. The evaluation is usually based on epidemiological studies showing the development of cancer in exposed humans.
In the case of processed meat, this classification is based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer.
 
Philips utterly inaccurate reply to this question was aired and is another example of erroneous information being broadcast and poor editorial control. This is another example of a breach of the guidelines from Broadcasting Authority of Ireland which RTE are obliged to follow. Audiences are entitled to and do, trust that the news and current affairs content they access from the broadcast media is accurate. Perhaps Philip does not want to face the reality that processed meat is bad for him. For a person who went on The Late Late show and gave a demonstration to the audience on what sausages were made of and how bad they were for you, he continues to cook them for his family and flatly contradicts a person who said that processed meat is carcinogenic.
 
Roger Yates was the only well known vegan person who got on the show.He spoke about ethical issues of eating meat by demonstrating the Vegan Information Project’s virtual reality headset to get an immersive experience of the lives of intensively reared pigs.
 
Philip talks with anthropologist and archaeologist who explains how humans first began to hunt for meat instead of scavenging.RTE really did there research when they got Dr Bill Schindler on board, Bill who is known for breaching suburban etiquette by butchering a dead deer and geese in his own yard and boasts the shirt and loincloth he wore for his graduation speech cost four deer their lives. He is pretty much the polar opposite of a vegan.
Philip distorted what was said when  Bill says there is evidence that we have been eating meat for millions of years. Philips comment to that was “Wow ok so we have always been at this” Sure we have always been eating meat but never in this volume. Most anthropologists agree that man tended to eat mostly vegetable matter.
As stated earlier If you look at the archives of the Irish folklore collection collected in the 1930 tys you will see that meat was not eaten regularly in previous generations. Here are some more links to back this up.
 
“Meat was not eaten often,”
 
“This was a rare treat as seldom or ever they had meat”
 
“Meat was very seldom used”
 
“Meat was rarely eaten”
 
“It was on very rare occasions that meat was eaten”
 
“Meat was almost unknown there except in the house of one farmer named Power who used to cook meat once in a while for himself only.”
 
“Meat was not eaten often.”
 
 
I would like RTE to get and examine the full records including all emails from the people that were connected to the programme so as these records can be checked to see if there has been a breach of the  2009 Broadcasting act and retain these records in case these records are needed for an appeal and make them available to the BCI.
 
To summarise what I see as the key problems with the programme
  • The failure to speak about the impressive weight loss of  5Kg in a month
  • The failure to speak about the reduction in BMI
  • The failure to have a medical doctor review and speak about the raft of tests that Philip got done so much so that he said he felt like a pin cushion,
  •  To mislead and confuse  the public by wrongly classify a measurement on a fancy  body-fat scales as a bone scan, A bone scan is enhanced form of x-ray technology, ” he said  I had various scans for my bone density and my muscle disposition and so on so that we would have a really reliable ‘before and after”
  •   Despite referencing the Vegan poster campaigns around the country and doing a prolonged interview with Sandra Higgins an editorial decision was made to exclude her from the program
  •  Philip wrongly claimed a loss of 3% bone density on the Ray Darcy show on the 8 th of March, the discredited data actually showed a 2% loss and wrongly claimed  “I’m not some dietary or biological freak – I’m pretty much an everyman. So if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to anybody else who tries to take on this diet. Wrong it’s not happening to everybody, in fact, your the first person that I have heard with this complaint.
  •  Philip claimed on the Ray Darcy show that his muscles went  lopsided in the distribution of muscle mass, a claim that does not stand up to scrutiny  and has been described as “un-lightly ” by the manufacturer of the body fat scales, 
  • People who worked in health shops were described as crankey because they were vegetarian and needed a good steak
  •  Vegans repeatedly were cast in a poor light, described a vegan diet as a fashionable and a fad diet, it portrayed the origins of Veganism in a negative manner and that until recently been a vegan was a lonely path with clips of two unkempt hairy hippie type guys from about 40 years ago and one lonely guy sitting on his own at the top of a mountain.
  • Aveen Bannon the consultant dietitian for the programme ‘What Are You Eating’, has stated in an email  that “not all of the key input variables were adhered to”, and she also stated they were “aware of the protocols required for more reliable readings but you will appreciate meeting them all is seldom practical”.Why then were figures of 2% loss in bone density considered a very serious health issue when the machine can have a difference of 2% between readings even under ideal conditions with all key variables been met which in this case they were not met.
  • The report from the Tanita Segmental body analyzer actually listed a 1.9Kg difference in muscle mass while on the show it said: “you lost a good 2 kg of muscle ” so even the purported muscle loss of 2 Kg was, in fact, inaccurate and an exaggeration of the flawed data
  • The programme had no medical doctors or specialists on the show about the vegan diet despite all other shows that dealt with medical issues having medical experts on the show somehow the opinion of medical experts were not required on this show
  •  Philip wrongly claimed that the World Health organisation never said processed meat is carcinogenic,
  •  No mention of the of the improvement in his cholesterol which improved over the month,
  •  Darina Allen well know chef talking about the beginning of the vegetarian craze again portraying non-meat eaters in a negative manner
  •  Philip gave the three reasons he gives for people going vegan are 1 The influence of the internet, 2 Environmental concerns and 3 The worry about animal welfare, no mention of expected health benefits, weight loss, etc.; 
  •  Philip said that beef is not intensively raised in Ireland which is wrong,  intensive beef farming is happening and promoted by Teagasc  
A failure to cover some of the topics below properly, and to ignore all of these topics is a sign of fundamental problems with the programme
  • The programme chose to exclude any mention of the positive things that are happing in the plant-based vegan movement like  Netflix documentary What The Health, that has been credited with changing many people to a plant-based vegan lifestyle including Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton. 
  •  No information on the rise vegan athletes, Grand Slam tennis ace Serena Williams. Four-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, boxer David Haye and many NFL players who are going 100% or almost 100% plant-based, Tom Brady the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player for the last 3 seasons credits his success to his plant-based diet. 
  • Failure to interview Irelands most famous plant-based business twins from the Happy Pear,
  • Failure to discuss or mention the number of top business people who have switched to a plant-based diet. 
  • While meat was mentioned as a problem for the environment the failure to discuss the actual figures and how bad they were was left out of the programme.
  • Failure to properly discuss fatty foods and meat products links to heart disease on the programme, however, this topic was covered (poorly)in a later episode 
  • Failure to interview plant-based experts on diet and chronic diseases 
  • Failure to interview experts from the Irish cancer society who advise that red meat may be connected to colon cancer 
  • Failure to give more time on the show to vegan experts and activists to make the show more balanced
  • Failure to mention the Blue Zones
  • The miss information on this show has upset a lot of people who are worried about their friends and family who have adopted a plant-based vegan diet
  •  
When you examine all of the above errors and look at all the potential topics that were ignored all of these potential topics have one thing in common they would have portrayed a plant-based diet in a positive manner. This topic is so complex that RTE may well have to employ outside experts to get to the full facts of this case.
 
When you combine the above points I feel that the programme does not meet the following guidelines
   Objectivity & Impartiality: The principles of objectivity and impartiality are concerned with ensuring that news and current affairs content is compiled, produced and presented in a manner which is and can be seen as independent, unbiased, and without prejudgement.
 
Accuracy & Responsiveness: Audiences are entitled to, and do, trust that the news and current affairs content they access from the broadcast media is accurate. Accurate information enables citizens to participate more fully in a democratic society. Accuracy is, therefore, a fundamental principle associated with the broadcast of news and current affairs content and should always take priority over the speed with which content can be delivered. It is also acknowledged that despite best efforts, inaccurate information can sometimes be conveyed, whether explicitly or implicitly. The principle of responsiveness is designed to ensure that broadcasters adopt fair, timely and appropriate remedies in handling the broadcast of inaccurate information.
 
Transparency & Accountability: the principles of transparency and accountability are concerned with ensuring that practices and procedures adopted by broadcasters in sourcing, compiling, producing and presenting news and current affairs are visible, open to scrutiny, robust and accessible
 
 
 
 that all news broadcast by a broadcaster is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster‘s own views, (b) that the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner

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