Media Junk Food

March 6, 2009

Not only did we learn this week that Portland is the country’s unhappiest city, a new study says it’s among the least manly. But according to whose definition? These criteria aren’t my idea of manliness.

The Portland Business Journal reports that “cities scored higher based on the number of sports teams they have, the number of hardware stores, the number of tools purchased and the frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities lost points based on their number of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.”

The Journal overlooked another criterion — consumption of salty snack foods. It also neglected to report that the study  was sponsored by a maker of — you guessed it — salty snack foods. Release of the study, predictably spawning newspaper and TV stories, also coincides with a Combos Brand sweepstakes encouraging a Combivore lifestyle.

In other words, the study is a publicity gimmick quantifying the unquantifiable and encouraging consumption of junk food. And the increasingly short-handed mainstream media ate it up.