(Larger version here.)
Gallant writes about a new study suggesting there may be a viral cause of fat in some people. Gallant reports on the study, mentions previous research that pointed to a similar conclusion, and includes this quote from one of the lead researchers:
“We’re not saying that a virus is the only cause of obesity, but this study provides stronger evidence that some obesity cases may involve viral infections,” Pasarica says in a news release. “We would ultimately like to identify the underlying factors that predispose some obese people to [the effects of] this virus and eventually find a way to treat it.”
Then Gallant steps away from the story, because that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Goofus writes about the same study, using bad puns (“the buffet of reasons for why Americans are getting fatter”); barely speaks to the researchers actually involved in it (or chooses not to print anything they may have said, save one tiny quote); and then turns to “outside experts” for quotes like this:
“The cause for obesity in everyone is the same,” said Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “You eat more calories than you burn up; You can’t get away from that basic law of physics.”
“We don’t want obese people to feel that it’s all their fault because it is not all their fault … but clearly the buck finally lies with the person,” Klein said.
Goofus doesn’t ask the good doctor Klein what percentage of fault lies with the person, or what a person might do to atone for getting fat, given the long-term failure rate of deliberate weight loss. Nor does Goofus ask Dr. Klein if he’s considered all the variables that might affect the “calories in/calories out” paradigm in a live human being. Goofus is only interested in making the point that fat people should continue to feel guilty about being fat.
Gallant discusses the new scientific research and leaves any opinions about fat people out of it.
Boys and girls, do you want to be like Goofus or Gallant?