Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I'm grateful to Dana Milbank for mocking the food-based attacks on Michelle Obama by Rush Limbaugh and others in the right-wing media -- up to the point where he makes aknee-jerk reach for "balance":

Moderation? It is a concept that causes dyspepsia in the first lady's critics.

Fox News mistook her moderation for hypocrisy when it posted a story titled "Michelle Obama OKs Americans to Eat Pie on Thanksgiving." On the other side, nutritionists mistook her moderation for weakness when they told the Boston Globe that they were "wondering why Obama didn't set a better example" than serving bratwurst, deep-dish pizza and Buffalo wings at the White House Super Bowl party.

In other words, the food criticism is an extension of politics. On the left are the purists who think a single tortilla chip is an unacceptable compromise. On the right are those who think any nutritional recommendation amounts to a food dictatorship.

Yeah, right, Dana -- we have roughly equivalent twin villains, don't we? On one side, as you point out, we have Fox News, Rush Limbaugh (lying about the calorie count of a recent dinner Michelle ate, as you note), along with (as you note) The American Spectator and a vile, racist cartoon published by Andrew Breitbart. (Though you didn't mention Matt Drudge, source of Limbaugh's calorie lie.)

On the other side we have, um ... the health blogger for The Boston Globe? With her on one side, we have an even array of lefty and righty extremists?

Oh, and "the purists who think a single tortilla chip is an unacceptable compromise"? Here's what those "purists" actually said in the Globe blog post (emphasis added):

"She's a trendsetter. People like to go for what she recommends," says Mitali Shah, a research dietitian at Boston Medical Center. "She could have balanced this off in a trendy way. Added a new kind of salad that people could have tried."

...Apparently, [Mrs. Obama] didn't see these three tasty and nutritious game day snacks that were developed by Boston University registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake. "I wish we'd sent them to her," she tells me.

But, Blake adds, "People need to remember that the Super Bowl comes once a year, so it's okay to indulge for that occasion." The health problems set in when we find a reason to splurge every day.

"If you eat well 90 percent of the time, it's okay to veer off 10 percent of the time," says Blake. Obama said she tells her daughters it's okay to have ice cream and pizza on the weekends as long as they're eating nutritiously and exercising the rest of the week....

Wow, what purist fascists these people are.

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