Real Journalism: try it some time. I just finished reading,
with disgust, the 1,490 puff piece praising foie gras, the gruesome gourmet
product of Michael Ginor and Izzy Yanay. A paid ad couldn’t have been more
one-sided or misleading.
By way of a lesson in basic journalism, I would commend to the
attention of Mr. Doug Blackburn and his Times Union editors the May 13 edition
of the Saugerties Times and its feature article, "Circus of Pain" by Erica
Freudenberger. The Saugerties Times might have settled for a fluffy little story
on the circus coming to town. Instead, they did the real work of journalism and
revealed to their readers the horrors and abuses of elephants and other animals
which are routine behind the scenes.
Abandoning any remote awareness of a journalist’s ethic,
Blackburn’s foie gras ad invested just 315 dismissive words on the "controversy"
surrounding foie gras. Quoting Ruth Reichl, the Times Union called foie gras the
"ultimate guilty pleasure" and a "bit of sin". The real guilt and sin are the
conditions endemic to foie gras production facilities. The guilt the Times Union
should have explored is the intensive confinement inflicted on the ducks, who
are thinking, feeling beings. Ginor and Yanay are guilty of the lie that forced
feeding mimics ducks’ natural, pre-migratory gorging, when the feedings more
closely resemble a mechanized rape of helpless animals. The sin is Ginor, Yanay
and their Times Union accomplice, Blackburn, have conspired to fool readers into
believing foie gras is fine food rather than a delicacy of despair.
Missing from the sprawling, lavish article are the voices of
the Humane Society of the United States, League of Humane Voters and Farm
Sanctuary who have worked to end this cruel factory farming enterprise. Absent,
too, were the horrifying and vividly honest images of foie gras production
captured by investigators at
On the eve of this article’s publication, Ruth Fantasia, food
editor, promised me the piece would be "balanced." She, like Blackburn, Ginor
and Yanay, lied. The Times Union owes its readers an apology and a thorough look
into the cruelty behind foie gras.
James Van Alstine
Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society