Alexandra Morton has just self-shredded any last vestiges of credibility she may have had with her cynical new ad campaign, in which she tells tall tales while pandering to the lowest common denominator of stupidity.
With the two ads shown so far (below) she’s jumped on the anti-vaccine crazy train AND got a first-class ticket in the Food Woo Clown Car up front. Her ads assume that the people who will read them are stupid, gullible suckers. She is insulting the very people from whom she is soliciting donations.
Insult #1: Consequence-free fundraising
The campaign hasn’t launched yet, but she’s panhandling for money through a crowd-funding website. The kind of fundraising site that doesn’t issue tax-deductible receipts for the charitable causes it hosts.
Crowdfunding has a positive place in the charity landscape, but it is also ripe for abuse.
So guess what she’s going to do, suckers. She’s going to fool you. You’ll never know exactly how she spends all the consequence-free cash you’re giving her. She has no obligation to ever tell you. All you have is her word.
There’s no action plan attached to the campaign. The only commitment is to “make a high impact advertising purchase to run a series of ads.”
That could mean anything.
Sure, you might see a few billboards in Vancouver, or a newspaper ad in the Sun. But you’ll never know the true cost of the ad campaign. You’ll never know if she’s pocketed the leftover cash.
Here’s a tip: if you donate, ask her to publish all receipts related to the campaign on her blog. After all, if she’s so trustworthy, she’s got nothing to hide, right?
Insult #2: Anti-vaccine crazy train ad
First of all, look at how this ad is attributed to “Department of Wild Salmon” and the deptwildsallmon.org website. Currently that link forwards to alexandramorton.ca, Morton’s personal website and the heart of this campaign. But isn’t it interesting that if this campaign takes a turn that’s not in her favour, she could simply disconnect that link between the sites? Clever, n’est pas?
Second, the ad implies, through the use of a syringe, that farmed salmon are injected with drugs for delousing.
Sea lice treatments are provided in feed. Guess a dog food-like pellet doesn’t make for a scary image though.
The only time farmed salmon ever receive injections is when they are vaccinated at the hatchery against common ocean diseases.
Morton knows this. She knows sea lice treatments are given only in feed.
We can only conclude that by attempting to link injections, salmon and scariness, Morton is putting herself in the same camp as anti-vaccine idiots, and she’s doing it wilfully. That’s cynical, and could possibly even be seen as libelous, if anyone feels like getting litigious over these ads.
Insult #3: “You are what you eat” malarkey
Yes, salmon feed can contain protein from hogs. So what? Mushrooms grow in horse manure. And guess what. Organic poultry eat feed that includes fishmeal. Chickens would never eat fish in the “wild,” so if farmed salmon eating hog and chicken protein is bad, then so is organic chicken eating anything but bugs and grass.
Salmon convert pork protein into salmon protein. Mushrooms convert manure nutrients into mushrooms. It doesn’t mean that if you eat mushrooms you are eating manure (unless you don’t wash them) and it doesn’t mean that if you eat salmon you are eating pork.
You are NOT what you eat, unless you break it down to the very basic levels of proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Morton is banking on the ignorance of the general public when it comes to farming animals, nutrition and food. Ignorance is one thing, which is easily corrected. But Morton is also banking on the hopes that her audience will be too stupid and gullible to carefully consider her claims.
That’s the insult.
Insult #4: Implying negative health consequences
In the text on her crowdfunding page, Morton stops short of saying that eating farmed salmon is bad for your health, because she knows there’s no proof for that statement (but plenty to the opposite). But you can tell she really wants to when she says “Meanwhile controversy is boiling over in Norway on the health risks of eating farmed salmon echoed by the premier US business news service Bloomberg.”
But that’s not true, either. The Scientific Steering Committee of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety recently published nearly 300 pages of independent, unbiased research showing that seafood, including farmed salmon, is safe to eat regularly for all ages.
There’s hardly a controversy. Unless one or two unqualified people disagreeing with hundreds of qualified people counts as “controversy.”
If you want to give money to this woman, it’s your wallet. But beware. She’s showing an alarming lack of scruples in this latest campaign.
Footnote: Just like Food Babe
Dr. Amy Tuteur, who blogs as the Skeptical OB, has posted a fascinating piece this month looking at the Food Babe and selling fear.
If you haven’t heard of the Food Babe, she’s a self-proclaimed expert who has made a name for herself, and a huge following, by examining, criticizing and condemning the ingredient lists on food packaging.
As Tuteur shows, she is also banking on a gullible, uneducated audience to promote herself and make a living.
Morton seems to be taking the same approach.