winners are losers! (f*%!ing CNN, pt. 3)

For the past several months, CNN has sponsored a series of articles profiling people across the country who have lost dramatic amounts of weight–most of them through healthy diet and exercise.

I have no problem with this in theory. The individuals that they have chosen have all been pretty clear-cut examples of people who needed to make lifestyle changes for the sake of their health. But, strangely, this doesn’t seem to be the angle that these stories take.

Take this excerpt from the most recent installment:

Over the next three years, she lost 120 pounds and dropped seven dress sizes. Wygal, who’s 5 feet 10 inches tall, says the fear of gaining weight motivates her to stick to her diet and exercise regimen because she never wants to look like she did at 295 pounds.

This woman was eating a diet that consisted primarily of fast foods and barely able to do more than 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity at a time, and they publish that her motivation to stick to her new, healthy lifestyle is the “fear” of “looking like she did at 295 pounds”?? Not fear of having a heart attack by the time she was 40. No, the fear of looking fat is apparently much worse.

And so, in the end, the message that’s sent isn’t really about health at all. And these sorts of transparently vapid messages make it so much easier for people whose health is adversely affected by their weight to discount weight loss messages entirely. It leaves a lot of people to lose in the end.


4 responses to “winners are losers! (f*%!ing CNN, pt. 3)

  1. Its nice to see CNN cover the story of this lady from WV. Funny… just a few miles down the road from her in Princeton, Five-year-old Brooklyn Holcomb was beaten to death by her prison guard father. Nobody covered that story.

  2. Funny… just a few miles down the road from her in Princeton, Five-year-old Brooklyn Holcomb was beaten to death by her prison guard father. Nobody covered that story.

    Thanks for commenting, Neal.

    What I’m not getting about the Holcomb murder story is the fact that nobody is harping on the evidence that the guy had been abusing his daughter for quite some time (“She had a tendency to fall down stairs”… right). Had anyone been reporting this abuse? Were the local child services offices just neglecting the claims? Nothing’s going to make Brooklyn Holcomb alive again, but that sort of investigation could save some other kid in the future.

    Compare this to the recent case in DC, where a mentally ill woman killed all four of her kids, whose corpses were left festering in her house for weeks. The city’s child services offices had been notified–by multiple sources–about suspected abuse for weeks and months preceding the deaths of these kids, but they were essentially too damned lazy to bother following up. So the story ends up being about completely inept government-sponsored child welfare offices, which has a more direct implication for national news. It became a national story, and, as a result, the mayor’s had to deal directly with the individuals and offices involved–which, hopefully, will make some of these future tragedies less likely to happen.

  3. What happened to Super Bowl blogging, pt 9?

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