Pictures in Vegan Lifestyle Magazine Really Contained Meat; Exposed by Blogger

(Original story at the Diner’s Journal here.)

This story serves to remind us about the influence and reach of bloggers and social media. The magazine will definitely suffer from the backlash of not following the principles of the vegan lifestyle which it promotes and for not being straightforward about its source of photos for its recipes.

April 14, 2011, 6:00 PM

Meat Discovered in Meatless Magazine


Vegans and vegetarians are known to be clever about food substitutions: baking with applesauce in place of eggs, turning tempeh into sausages. But it seems that VegNews, a San Francisco-based vegetarian lifestyle magazine, has been doing things the other way around: using photographs of meat and dairy to stand in for the stand-ins.

“The pictures we’ve been drooling over for years are actually of MEAT!” thundered the author of the vegan blog, who broke the story in a post last night.

Tipped off by a reader, the blog’s author, who would not give her name, discovered that the 11-year-old magazine has been getting many of its photographs from the royalty-free service iStockphoto. And, according to the original captions, those photos are anything but vegan.

That picture of a “burger”? It’s really a burger. Running with a recipe for “veganized Brunswick stew” is a shot of a decidedly un-veganized “chicken breast soup.” A creamy-looking macaroni and cheese photo depicts, the blog noted with horror, a dish made from actual cow’s milk cheese, “infused with antibiotics, pain and anguish.”

As one commenter pointed out, a photo meant to illustrate “Vegan Spare Ribs” was apparently made more convincingly meatless by removing the bones via Photoshop.

Many commenters agree with Quarrygirl that this constitutes a pretty major scandal. But not everyone has turned against VegNews. The blog Babe in Soyland came to the magazine’s defense, citing the financial realities of producing a professional-looking niche magazine. “In the end,” the author wrote, “these stock images are illustrations.” With a picture of a vegan hot dog, it’s “the ideaof the hot dog that is important,” not what it’s made from.

That is essentially the line taken by the magazine earlier this afternoon, in an official response on its Web site. “The entire VegNews family,” it began, “is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours.” The letter admitted that “from time to time, after exhausting all options, we have resorted to using stock photography that may or may not be vegan,” but claimed that using custom-shot images “is simply not financially feasible” at the moment. “We would love nothing more than to use only vegan photography shot by vegan photographers, and we hope to be there soon.”

This is unlikely to mollify Quarrygirl, who insisted that “the laziness and outright lack of respect from Veg News toward animals and vegans undermines everything we stand for.” The blogger announced that she is cancelling her subscription, and returning the award that the magazine gave her – a 2009 “Scandal Breaker of the Year Award” for a stealth investigation into deceptive practices in Los Angeles vegan restaurants.

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NJ Gov’s Response to Blog Post: Take the Bat to 76-year-old Widow

(Original story at The Raw Story here.)

Now, here’s the thing. Again, coming from a communication major and former grassroots leader, here are two pieces of advice for politicians and would-be politicians out there:

1. Generally, do not respond to online criticisms. Anyone can say anything online, particularly on his/her social media profile, and for you to criticize a particular entry on your political enemy’s social media profile (particularly to mainstream media) only draws attention to him/her. And if the criticism is sound, you are asking to address it, which you probably cannot do convincingly. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation.

2. Do not take online criticisms of you personally. Many people rant online what they would never do in the physical presence of others, and particularly not to you. Let them rant. It would not hurt you to show some tolerance for dissent. Besides, there is the principle (if not the right to) the freedom of speech, right? What good does it do to a politician if s/he shows that s/he is intolerant of that right?

New Jersey Gov. says he wants to ‘take the bat’ to a 76-year-old widow

By David Edwards
Thursday, April 14th, 2011 — 11:24 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) begged reporters Wednesday to “take the bat” to a 76-year-old lawmaker for collecting a pension and a paycheck.

Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a widow, said she was forced to begin collecting her pension after her financial advisor invested all her savings in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme.

“After a major financial setback resulting from my so-called ‘Financial Advisor’ investing all my money (including my IRA) with a man I never heard of (read: Bernie Madoff) a colleague suggested that I would most likely qualify for my pension,”Weinberg wrote in a blog post.

“Though I never went in to public service to make money, I am grateful for this income at this time of my life, because of the situation Bernie Madoff created for me,” she said.

Christie became livid at Weinberg when she was quoted by The Star-Ledger as saying he was guilty of double standards. At the time, Christie had not yet spoken out against Essex County Executive Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. for receiving a pension from the same job where he was also receiving a paycheck.

“That’s just gamesmanship,” Christie said at a press conference. “As you can see from folks like Loretta Weinberg, who by the way, if you guys don’t give Loretta Weinberg the hypocrisy award…”

“I mean can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?” he asked reporters. “The hypocrisy meter has got to tilt on her.”

Christie, who is known for his trademark rants, also recently told a teacher to quit after she criticized his attacks on the teachers union.


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Politician Tells Rape Victims to Enjoy Rape If It’s Inevitable; Withdraws Candidancy

(Original story at Peace Arch News here.)

Another politician who got into the limelight for the wrong reason after something stupid he said on Facebook. Here is some advice for you politicians from a communication and PR expert and former grassroots leader:

First of all, stop attributing weird “quotes of wisdom” to the Far East if you are not familiar with the source. As someone who is extremely familiar with American and East Asian cultures and values, I find it extremely ignorant and offensive.

Second, never talk of rape victims unless it is in extremely sympathetic terms. This applies especially if you are male.

Third, keep smart friends around you who do not tell you nonsense such as Confucius said to enjoy rape if it is inevitable. Confucius even debated the morality of touching your sister-in-law’s hand if it is to save her from drowning, so how could he have said something so stupid?

Fourth, if you said something stupid, do not try to defend it. Apologize, explain it is a private joke that is insensitive and should never have been repeated, and move on.

Fifth, if you are a politician, watch what you post on Facebook.

Green candidate quits after rape post reported

By Kevin Diakiw – Surrey North Delta Leader

Published: April 14, 2011 7:38 AM

Updated: April 14, 2011 10:22 AM

A Green party candidate for Fleetwood-Port Kells quit about an hour after The Leader reported on his offensive Facebook post about rape.

The Leader learned Alan Saldanha had posted his favourite quote on Facebook: “If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!”

When asked Wednesday why he put it there, the 54-year-old said the phrase had been taken out of context.

He explained he was talking with a male friend some time ago and heard from his buddy how hard life was. So, Saldanha put that up on Facebook as his favourite quote.

“Someone had told me that Confucius says, ‘If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it,’ ” Saldanha told The Leader.

He liked the phrase, so he posted it.

The Green party spotted it last week and told Saldanha to take it down. However, it was only after a call from The Leader that they undertook an investigation.

The candidate called The Leader back about after talking with his family and asked a reporter what was going to happen.

“Are you going to publish it?” Saldanha asked. “What would you suggest I do, withdraw my candidacy?”

Saldanha was told the story would run either way and the status of his candidacy was between him and his party.

An hour later, the Green Party of Canada said they had accepted Saldanha’s resignation.

“The Green Party of Canada greatly regrets the posting of inappropriate statements on the Facebook page of Alan Saldanha and has accepted his resignation as the Green candidate in Surrey,” the party said in a release.

Corrine Arthur, special projects coordinator with the Surrey Women’s Centre (SWC), said Saldanha’s comments affect people in a most “visceral” way.

The SWC received 2,000 calls for assistance last year, and about one in five involved a recent sex assault.

“This is the most soul-violating experience that can happen to a woman, a child, a man,” Arthur said, adding she’s glad the comments were made public so that it can generate some dialogue around the seriousness of rape.

Saldanha insisted the issue was being blown out of proportion.

“This is totally out of context,” he said. “I regret it overall… I sincerely apologize, because it wasn’t intended. If you see all that I have written and all that I have said, and I am a practising Roman Catholic, none of it conforms to that one sentence.”

If the Green party had acted immediately, it could have installed another candidate in Fleetwood-Port Kells. Because the resignation came after the Elections Canada deadline for nominations Monday, Saldanha’s name will still be on the ballot.

“That is unfortunate and there may have been some communications issues there,” said Kieran Green, the Green party’s director of communications. “It will be something we will definitely be looking into and see where the breakdown in communication (occurred) and work to improve that process of coordination on our screening on our organization.”

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