by smf for 4LAKids
15 May 2011 – 4LAKids has a love-hate relationship with the L.A. Times.
The Times is the most important and most literate reporter on education news in Los Angeles. Good reporting (and sometimes better reporting) comes from other sources – but The Times is the loudest local voice. If LAUSD plays to a media audience it's the LAT.
The Times with its championship of the Villaraigosa/charter schools/ private corporate-ization/philanthropic-foundation-driven flavor of school reform is often aggravating – and its insistence on making news rather than reporting it in its 'Value-Added' Teacher Reviews is maddening to folks as diverse as the teacher's unions/Superintendent Deasy and myself.
I am old enough (i.e. I'm old!) to get most of my news from print journalism or the online hybrid thereof. Education is far too complex for sound byte/'Action News' television journalism. Public television and public radio begin to do the issue justice – but until cable TV comes through with The K-12 Channel ed-wonks like me are stuck with print and the blogosphere.
I am a blogger – I am intimately-and-intemperately aware of the strengths, weaknesses and dangers of this platform.
BUT THIS IS NOT A RANT AGAINST ANY OF THAT!
This morning my home-delivered Sunday Times came enclosed with a four page color wrapper advertising Kraft Lunchables – Now with Fruit! Three and two-thirds pages were ads for the sugary, nitrate-infused, heavily-processed, sodium-overloaded, over-packaged flavor-added 'lunches targeted at kids – and I'm sure Jamie Oliver would have much to add to my critical description.
It is my unscientific opinion (he said, distancing himself from possible lawsuit) that that the worst pizza-and-nuggets/ketchup-is-a-vegetable school lunch – chased with a carton of chocolate milk – is a superior offering than a Lunchable ...even with the pineapple tidbits or mandarin orange segments!
The ads show smiling cute multi-ethnic All American kids with fresh oranges and pineapples - though the actual products feature processed mandarin orange segments and pineapple tidbits.
In days gone by – when dinosaurs ruled the earth – I worked in the "Mad Men" confluence of Madison Avenue and Hollywood as a TV commercial producer. I understand advertising and how it drives the media. I understand that The Times (which is Chapter 11 bankrupt) needs the money.
I just hope some of the 'Food Revolutionaries' on The Times' editorial board – and maybe the Food Section staff – wander over to the ad department – or send a memo to the publisher – and ask the question: "What's with this?"
Maybe some Times readers will do the same.
I am not a food radical. I eat far too many fast-food burgers and pretend that by not ordering the fries and a soda that I'm looking after my health.
Bad nutrition – no matter how conveniently or colorfully packaged - is bad for children.
Obesity and Diabetes are epidemic in children – these diseases kill. They shorten the lives and destroy the health of young people.
And dubious products like Lunchables are delivery systems – vectors – for the epidemic.
I'm not asking anyone to cancel their subscriptions to The Times – I'm sure other papers across the nation carried the same ads.
I am asking you to boycott Lunchables – and the offerings of other folks who market similar products to children.
And, if you have a birdcage – or if you are housebreaking a puppy – I ask that use Pages PM 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the May 15th, 2011 Los Angeles Times for the best possible use imaginable.
Thank you – and onward!
info from KraftBrands.com
Ingredients: MANDARIN ORANGES IN FRUIT JUICE--MANDARIN ORANGES, WHITE GRAPE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE (WATER, WHITE GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE), LEMON JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE (WATER, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE), ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), AND CITRIC ACID. ROAST WHITE TURKEY--CURED--SMOKE FLAVOR ADDED--WHITE TURKEY, WATER, POTASSIUM LACTATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF DEXTROSE, CARRAGEENAN, SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM DIACETATE, FLAVOR, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SMOKE FLAVOR, SODIUM NITRITE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR. REDUCED FAT PASTEURIZED PROCESS CHEDDAR CHEESE--PART-SKIM MILK, SKIM MILK, MILKFAT, SODIUM CITRATE, SALT, CHEESE CULTURE, SORBIC ACID AS A PRESERVATIVE, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, ENZYMES, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, APOCAROTENAL (COLOR), WITH STARCH ADDED FOR SLICE SEPARATION. CONTAINS: MILK. CRACKERS--UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, SALT, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), WHEY (FROM MILK), SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR. CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK, SOY. NATURAL FLAVORED STRAWBERRY FRUIT STICK--STRAWBERRY INGREDIENTS MADE WITH 90% FRUIT INGREDIENTS (PEAR PUREE FROM CONCENTRATE, PEAR JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, STRAWBERRY JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, BLUEBERRY JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE)(NATURAL SOURCE OF VITAMIN C), NATURAL CANE SUGAR, TAPIOCA STARCH, RICE SYRUP, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), SODIUM CITRATE, PECTIN, PURPLE CARROT EXTRACT.