Jay Lehr Responds to Eric Schlosser

Published November 22, 2006

(November 22, 2006 – Chicago, Illinois) In an interview with PRWatch, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Chew on This implied The Heartland Institute was a front for industry groups. Heartland has responded to such claims in the past and will continue to do so.

The statement below is from Jay Lehr, Ph.D., science director for The Heartland Institute and author of a two part critique (part 1 , part 2) of Schlosser’s latest book, Chew on This.

Dr. Lehr can be contacted for further comment at 740/368-9393 or [email protected].

“Eric Schlosser’s interview with PR Watch certainly makes his efforts on the part of children’s health sound like he is a serious ‘freedom fighter.’

“I wish his books on food and agriculture came across nearly as objective, balanced, and honest. But unfortunately they do not.

“In his books, Schlosser uses ‘junk science’ to convince readers of the correctness of his point of view. Junk science is the use of selective data, instead of comprehensive data, to support a hypothesis that advances a political or economic position.

“Schlosser uses worst-case, or perhaps even non-existent, examples of ugliness in food production and agriculture to persuade his readers, rather than presenting a meaningful statistical sample of what goes on in both industries.

“Moreover, he then has the audacity to accuse those organizations critical of his methodology as being ‘front organizations’ for industry. He encourages the assumption these organizations are paid mouthpieces for some industry or lobby. I cannot speak for all of them, but I can say for certain that neither The Heartland Institute nor the American Council on Science and Health takes money to do anyone’s bidding.

“That Schlosser so cavalierly besmirches the reputations of outstanding institutions with such a broad black brush must call into question the credibility and veracity of his work.”