Misleading Stories #1 – CNN

I occasionally notice news stories that have misleading headlines or leads based on the information presented in the full article.  I think this type of story is a problem because most people only read the headline or the first few sentences (the lead).  So, from time-to-time, I will post these mostly for my own amusement.

I have seen different versions of this story title on the CNN.com website recently:


I finally decided to click on it (actual article on CNN) and saw this headline:

vegan diet headline

Okay, that’s interesting.  So, vegan diets for kids is bad.  Got it.

But I decided to read the article anyway.  And, sure enough, a Belgium’s Royal Academy of Medicine said that kids and expecting and nursing mothers should not follow a vegan diet.  So, not really ALL Belgian doctors but the headline has to be succinct so, that’s fine.


Luckily, I kept reading.  In the ~7th paragraph (out of 10 paragraphs by my counting), I found this:


Interesting.  So, a British Dietetic Association disagrees with Belgium doctors.  I should probably ask at this point, how much nutritional training do doctors in Belgium receive.  In the US, it is virtually zero.  Anyway, a conflict of opinions.

But, I keep reading.  In the next paragraph, I read:


Hmmm, the plot thickens.  So, a US organization for nutrition professionals also has a policy statement that vegan diets are okay for everyone.

Perhaps, the lead of the article should be that a medical advisory committee in Belgium disagrees with US and British nutrition professionals regarding vegan diets.  Perhaps, we can learn what data lead these doctors to find that vegan diets are bad for children versus the data used by US and British dieticians.   A rough translation of the position statement by the Belgium academy suggests that their opinion is based on what they think they know instead of spending time and researching their assumptions.

Any way you slice it, this article is misleading.  The headline and the lead make you think that doctors have found that a vegan diet is unsafe for children instead of making it clear that it is their opinion that it is unsafe without any underlying research to support the opinion.

Do you disagree with me that this article is misleading?  Let everyone know in the comments.  Please focus on the article and not get into a debate about veganism.