Press release of email sent to RTE
It is now 20 working days since I wrote to you about the gross inaccuracy and bias shown on the programme What Are You Eating broadcast on the 8th of March.
Since my initial mail, I made a formal and updated detailed complaint to RTE as more information became available to me.
I would like RTE to acknowledge that serious mistakes were made in the interpretation and use of the data from the Tanita Segmental body analyzer used on the show.
These mistakes have been confirmed by email from the manufacturer of the analyser.
As a result of these mistakes, the main conclusion of the programme that Philip Boucher-Hayes lost 2% of his bone density and “a good 2Kg of muscle mass” as a result of being on a plant-based vegan diet for 28 days can no longer be considered credible or trustworthy information.
I would like RTE to acknowledge this fact with a short apology to be broadcast just before the final programme in the series is broadcast on Thursday the 19/04/2018 at 8.30pm.
I have made a very long and detailed complaint that alleges that the programme was biased, RTE may not agree with all my points but can RTE at least correct this main point promptly.
The details of my full complaint can be seen here http://www.dietisthekey.com/complaint_rte/
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.
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.
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 8th 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
I feel that the programme does not meet the following guidelines from the BAI.
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, 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