What Do “Food Babe” And Fox News Have In Common?

Parody Food Babe image from the Facebook page "Chow Babe."

Parody Food Babe image from the Facebook page “Chow Babe.”

If you haven’t heard of her by now, there is this woman named Vani Hari who goes by the alias “Food Babe” who has become infamous for her attacks on a number of food companies, including Subway and, most recently, Starbucks.

In this latest attack, she has sent thousands of her fans, known as the “Food Babe Army,” to post on Starbucks’ Facebook wall demanding they make their drinks organic and disclose every single one of their ingredients in every one of the products that they serve.

Wait, that doesn’t sound like an unreasonable request, does it? On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. After all, don’t we have a right to know what is in our food – or in this case, frothy hot pumpkin spice latte goodness that you have to wait in line for while the person in front of you wants a skinny, decaf, soy milk with extra sprinkles and no whipped cream?

On a personal note, I rarely drink Starbucks. When I do, it is because I need to download some really large files on their Wi-Fi and the five bucks spent on a pumpkin pie flavored coffee is my exchange for using their internet.

Anyhow, Food Babe went after Starbucks and specifically their pumpkin spice latte. After all, it’s that time of the year – and what better way to make some noise than to target the one thing many of us will actually spend money on an over-priced coffee for?

Here’s a few of the comments left by the #FoodBabeArmy on Starbucks’ wall recently:

“Starbucks please consider making wholesome quality drinks by using organic milk and organic coffee!!!”

“When do you plan to phase out caramel coloring and when do you plan to switch to organic milks in your drinks? Timelines please. We, the consumers, want to know. ‪#‎foodbabearmy‬

“As a family we love starbucks and look forward to it! A treat! Please treat us kindly and make your ingredients be healthy. We don’t need the chemicals and I am sure you can make the drink even better without adding them.”

“Starbucks, I would really love to walk in to your store and not worry about what ingredients are in your drinks.”

“You know that eventually, consumers will learn more about the bad stuff that is in many of your products. Why not take the lead on this one rather than wait for us to get all angry and stop using your products?”

“PLEASE stop putting bad stuff in your drinks. Top of the list is Class IV Caramel Color. There are more, but we’ll save those for a later post.”

“For those of you who want more info, or alternatives to these yummy but really unhealthy drinks, check out…” (link to Food Babe website)

So what does this have to do with Fox News? What is the parallel? It’s very simple: Both use fear and conspiracy stories to make money.

Fox News caters to an often angry crowd of misinformed, self-described “patriots,” many of whom believed for the longest time that President Obama was hiding his birth certificate from them. Even when it was shown to them, they still continued to claim that it was fake and relied on wingnut blogs that stated he was an illegal alien, despite all evidence to the contrary. These people see a conspiracy around every corner where the government is going to take their guns and use Common Core to turn their kids gay.

Food Babe has amassed her army of over 710,000 fans and uses every chance she gets to plug her diet plans and tell them how companies are hiding secret toxic ingredients from them. Again, conspiracy-mongering with companies instead of political stories. Take for example the recent attack on Starbucks’ seasonal favorite, Pumpkin Spice Latte. She claims that Starbucks is failing to yield to her ridiculous demands because “they don’t want you to know about the harmful additives in their biggest selling items.” 

In the past, she went after Subway for using a scary-sounding chemical called azodicarbonamide, which is used for maturing bread and had not been proven to be harmful. Instead of telling her take a footlong and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, Subway caved to her demands and she pronounced it as a great victory for her Food Babe Army.

Like Fox News comes up with Obama conspiracies, she comes up with one company after another to direct her fans to demand answers from until they cave to her requests. Once they cave, she claims victory while pushing more of her products, many of which have nothing to do with food. Like many Fox News viewers, her followers also ignore research which disproves her wild claims and tactics, which resemble extortion.

Consumers of rightwing media and the Food Babe Army also tend to believe that Snopes is a tool of whatever their perceived opposition is. This recent story from Snopes caused her followers to claim that the website was bought off by Starbucks. In their world, respected scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson are tools of “Big Food,” just like Fox News pushes the idea that climate scientists are part of a big, evil plot by liberals to make our air cleaner.

I should point out that I think that eating right and exercise are very important. I believe that whenever possible, a company should list allergens and ingredients for the information and safety of their consumers. However, like Fox News, Vani Hari isn’t interested in the truth. Both Food Babe and Fox News claim to be on your side and trying to hold people accountable. The truth is that both are actually interested in keeping people afraid, tuned in and buying from their sponsors.

Blogger Zach Bussey sums it up best:

“While I’m all for better foods, better labeling and better information, I am certainly against these food crusaders who rely on the same tactics that the media use to sell wars and other lies. Fear mongering, creative interpretation of the facts and relying on people’s office chair outrage is not the way to make a point…  We should be trying to build intelligence, not propagate the armchair activism.  We should advise people to eat things in moderation, instead of scaring them about everything in the aisles of our local grocer or coffee shop. And, without a doubt, we should stop the fear mongering/scare tactics. When you waste our outrage on a sugary treat (and then you’re found to be false), you hurt any movement where we SHOULD be scared/fearful/sharing the issue. But instead, failing that, we’re going to continue to live in a world where some of these food crusaders are more dangerous than the foods they are fighting against.” (Source)

Fear and bullshit sells – and both Food Babe and Fox News know this all too well.


Comments

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  • Cairenn Day

    This is so true and there are rumors of companies buying her off, with getting her to endorse their products.

    I am sick of folks using fear to drive their personal money making schemes.

  • Nemisis

    having a mocca frap and wanting an old school sub….

    • Stephen Barlow

      I wanna mocha sub and i wanna frap her the old school way…

      • Nemisis

        you just ain’t rite….whip cream on a sub….

      • Stephen Barlow

        Only ON? how young are you and do you EVER use the internet? (wink)

        Remember BRett Butler? “That Child Ain’t Right?” Funny and hot. ‘Grace Under Fire” great last century TV.

        LOL Went on a date with a romantic kind of guy last week. Flowers, dinner, candles… then he says “Let’s go for a walk by the water front.”

        “Are you kidding!!!!???? I have a VAGINA with Me!!!! “It’s not like I could leave it in My other pants!!!!”

      • Nemisis

        lol lc <–(lol and half a lol)

      • Stephen Barlow

        SO co (ol)

      • Stephen Barlow

        Grinz

      • Stephen Barlow

        LMAO/2

      • Stephen Barlow

        heheheheheeeeeeee!!! Lol & a !/2?

  • Actual Nutrition Scientist

    Food Babe goes even further in her hatred of facts and science by banning people from her Facebook page when they correct her or ask about her credentials. So many people have been banned, there’s even a Facebook group called “Banned by Food Babe” – it’s full of lively discussions about GM technology and other science-y things you’d never see from her.

    • Stephen Barlow

      Right wing blogs do that so the content stays “wholesome”. It’s days like this that I wish I were a hacker…

  • Pipercat

    Agita……

  • Hunter S Thompson

    How about this, make the choice and don’t drink the Starbucks garbage! Go to your local mom and pop coffee house instead.

    • Stephen Barlow

      Have people forgotten what a Thermos is? i make My own blend for a DOLLAR a day. And I know EXACTLY what is in it.

      • jdcamerone

        But, do you? Are you sure the Big Coffee lizard-people aren’t putting additives in the coffee you buy to make you think exactly that? LOL.

      • Stephen Barlow

        LOVE DAT!!!! Lizard people????

        NO!

        I DO think $4.44 as the base price of flavored water (which what coffee OR TEA actually is)……. is $4 too much.

        A $12 stock price seems kinda fair. $1200+ seems like idiocy.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Black. With Sailor Jerry’s as a sweetener,

      • Stephen Barlow

        What makes you think I am so eloquent?

  • Johnny

    Just label it and be done with it.

  • John Ash

    How is this different from what MSNBC or CNN does? Other news outlets have their own niche of people scared to live without bigger government, higher taxation and bigger prisons.

    You’re analogy sucks badly.

    • Stephen Barlow

      CNN is owned by Newscorp, who owns FOX. MSNBC speaks for the people FOX and CNN attack. But you get more real news from the Comedy Channel and Jon Stewart than all three ‘news’ networks.

      • John Ash

        No it isn’t. But thanks for proving my point that Fox hating droids don’t have any facts at their disposal.

      • Stephen Barlow

        I remember the deal, I didn’t know it fell through. My bad.

      • CF Girl

        Time Warner owns CNN. They rejected Rupert Murdoch’s offer, so News Corp does not own CNN.

      • Stephen Barlow

        My bad, TY for the news.

    • jdcamerone

      Your. You’re is a contraction of “you are.” Probably not what you mean.

      • John Ash

        Congrats. You are now a white belt grammar nazi.

    • Aaron Stanton

      Your*

    • David

      Because Fox News and Food Babe are both vastly, INSANELY better at fear-mongering for profit than those other two news orgs. Completely different leagues, bruh…

  • Stephen Barlow

    Food companies should be suing her for libel and keeping her broke and homeless until she stops. This is scamming both people and corporations. I wonder how many have paid her to annoy someone else?

    • The whole hell of the thing is that within 48 hours of her Starbucks “scandal”, she has an affiliate link up for her mindless drones to click on to buy the coffee maker that will put bucks into her pocket. These people are so stupid!!

      • Stephen Barlow

        What really cheeses my goat meat is NOT that they make scads of cash on a daily basis, It’s that they make cash by the SCAD!!!!!
        because a phrase like “TWO ALL BEEF PATTIES…” TRUMPS ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww red slime! in advertising value.

      • Stephen Barlow

        NO SH*T
        !!!

        Seriously?

        Smart bitch! Wish My ex were that clever.

        SMartest lawyer i ever met asked for 2 days coffee sales…

        From McDonald’s.

        Jury didn’t do the math.
        $2,000,000 for a lap full of hot coffee.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Glad we agree.

  • TripleMoon

    Personally, I don’t go to Starbucks for healthy organic food. I like that when I travel, I can get the same tasting cup of coffee no matter where I’m at.

  • Melanie Collins Pennock

    Wait a minute, is this “Army” willing to go to War? I am very careful about what I eat, but I find her to be way over the top! thanks for calling it like it is!

  • Fraud Broad will accuse you of being a shill for Starbucks or Monsanto if you dare oppose her skewed version of how things are. Her newest thing is saying that if we post in opposition (Starbucks, for example) of the asinine drivel that is being demanded on their Facebook page, we are getting paid 60 cents per opposing post. I hate to tell that whackjob that I have no problem telling her that she is stupid for free. If you want a great satire Facebook page dedicated to mocking the crazy Vani Hari…check out Chow Babe. #chowbabearmy #60centshill #foodbabeisafraud

  • Zod

    Who is this “Food”, “Babe”?

  • Morgan

    Can you please provide us with links to the studies that disprove her? I find your article enticing. I always had a bad feeling about her notions behind her fight. I feel as if she just took her high school / college debate a little overboard and never grew up. She scared me with TBHQ and then I located the studies that said you would have to eat over 315 boxes of cheese-its within 1 day in order for it to be even slightly harmful.

  • BettyBoop

    She & Fox are no different than any other entity, different sides of same coin!

  • William

    I POSTED THIS ON HER Facebook page and was promptly banned and my posts deleted… I thought I was being polite and reasonable but the Army obviously couldn’t handle it…

    This is respectfully addressed to the well-intentioned followers of such people like the Food Babe, Dr. Oz, etc.
    Rather than focus your passion and emotions on, at best, dubious health concerns associated with such things as GMO’s, pesticides, hormones, chemicals with hard to pronounce names, antibiotic residues, etc., if you are GENUINELY interested in helping yourselves, society and the world at large, please divert your significant energies towards things that have been proven beyond doubt to have serious implications for your health, your families well-being and the environment, namely:
    – climate change/global warming;
    – smoking, and drink and drug abuse;
    – obesity (simple overeating) and lack of exercise;
    – food hygiene and food waste in your own homes;
    – social justice and violence against the weak;
    – future global food supply and distribution;
    – poor education, especially in the sciences;
    – dangerous and reckless driving;
    – stress and living within your means;
    – antibiotic resistance.
    All of the above are either directly within your own control or indirectly via those you elect to government, and are likely responsible for 95%+ of real and proven health issues in our society. If you don’t agree or do anything to address the above list, then clearly you are not taking responsibility for yourself and you are instead just simply wanting to blame others or you are in denial about the real issues. Eating organic food, campaigning against GMO’s, taking supplements, etc. will have zero effect relative to small improvements in the above list.
    Thank you.

  • Matt

    I’m glad you feel the way you do about Food Babe, but unfortunately, probably 80 to 90 percent of the people who agree with her are liberals. Just check out who sponsors all of the wacky anti-GMO bills and similar legislation.

    • David

      it’s true. My fellow liberals treat food science the way RWNJs treat climate science…