The MSG “state of fear” case study

March 13, 2008

How many of you are still convinced that eating MSG will kill you?

Read this story from the New York Times.

I read the book Proust Was a Neuroscientist, so I had a heads up about what MSG is all about. It is essentially “umami,” which means it tastes really darn good, and the same stuff discovered by a great French chef from which so many sauces are made from searing meat in a hot pan.

But, we all live in a continual state of fear–created in large part in my humble opinion by the fact that scary reports–regardless of their origin or credibility–are almost certain to sell newspapers and glue eyes on tv sets. How many are going to sit around for a story with the headline: Your Food is Safe.  But, hinting at something you use everyday or might find readily in a Chinese restaurant is “reportedly” dangerous, now that will get attention.

It seems every day we are presented with more stuff to be afraid of. Study after study after study and most of it completely contradictory. I just keep asking people to remember that this stuff is presented by people who need to get and keep your attention in order to keep their jobs. And doing that is getting tougher and tougher. And for crisis managers–well, that’s why we keep so busy these days.


One Response to “The MSG “state of fear” case study”

  1. Mark Forstneger Says:

    Your last paragraph resonates with me. I discontinued my subscription to a certain health magazine for men for precisely that reason: “study after study after study and most of it completely contradictory,” presented who need to get and keep my attention to keep their advertising dollars flowing…

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