An Open Letter To The New York Times

To the editorial staff at The New York Times:

I am writing in regard to a November 10 opinion piece titled “The Word ‘Natural,’ Like Our Food, Has Become Polluted,” featuring the self-proclaimed advocate and educator Vani Hari, known colloquially as “The Food Babe.”

It is, quite frankly, appalling that pseudoscientific quackery like The Food Babe be given a soapbox from which to quack in any reputable publication.  I cannot imagine a scenario in which it would be anything other than uncouth to have someone as thoroughly discredited as Vani Hari weigh in about a topic she knows fundamentally nothing about.  At best, Ms. Hari’s ranting is ill-informed and uneducated.  At worst, it is willfully ignorant, intentionally deceitful, and unethical.

The title of the opinion column in which Hari is featured is titled “Room for Debate.”  The existence of a dissenting opinion is not, in and of itself, grounds for giving it weight commensurate with that of the breadth of knowledge on the subject.  Frequently, news outlets will allow “room for debate” regardless of whether such room exists.  But that is the subject of another discussion entirely.

Ms. Hari has been unequivocally ostracized from the scientific community, and for good reason; her opinions flagrantly defy the basic tenants of science first taught to us in middle school.  As such, it is irresponsible journalism to give a voice to such opinions.

There simply is not a place for her type of argument in educated debate.  Should Ms. Hari step back into the realm of reality, and away from the tin-foil hat clad members of the Church of Our Lizard Overlords, we will gladly welcome her to discuss facts with us.  Until such time, we will continue to regard her opinions with bemused frustration.

Regards,

Mitchell T. Antalek

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