A Word to Fox News from the Radical Anti-Peanut Lobby

I really didn't plan to post today.  Unfortunately, I ran across an extraordinarily ugly piece of video, an incendiary fluff piece on Fox News with "public relations consultant Fraser Seitel" decrying the decision of Major League Baseball to create peanut free seating zones at some games as a bad business decision.  Go ahead and watch it yourself, if you haven't seen it already.  (Thanks to @AllergyEats for bringing it to my attention.)

If you're like me, you felt like you'd been punched in the gut after watching it.  Host Shepard Smith did a good job of bringing up important points, such as the life threatening nature of peanut allergies, how making accommodations for other disabilities, like providing wheelchair access, is routine, and the fact that the peanut free sections sell out every time.  Still, Fraser Seitel's mockingly delivered attack left more than an unpleasant taste in my mouth.  It left me wondering what on earth prompted such a vicious assault on a reasonable accommodation that brings more fans to Major League Baseball stadiums.

Let's take a closer look at the segment.  It begins with the obligatory reference to the song about "peanuts and Cracker Jack" and leads with a quote from this New York Post article by a Mets season ticket holder who is excessively distraught at the idea of baseball without peanuts.

Cue Fraser Seitel.  (Transcript is my own and I apologize for any errors.)
Let me tell you something.  This guy is a season ticket holder at the Mets, he's got more to worry about than peanuts.  It's, it's heretical, you know?  Buy me some tofu and bean curd pie?
So we're a bunch of vegan hippies who want to keep you from eating hot dogs, too?  It's a quick jab, but it's there, delivered as a "joke".
I mean it's... here are the numbers.  Consider the numbers.  There are three million people who are, uh, unfortunately afflicted with allergies from peanuts.  It can be horrible.
Sympathy for people with peanut allergies.  Check.
Three million people, that's one percent of the population, many, presumably less of that number are baseball fans, even less than that go to baseball stadiums.  Meanwhile there are 73 million people who attend baseball games.  So you're kowtowing to a very tiny minority.  It's a slippery slope and it's a bad idea.
Wait, now peanut free seating is kowtowing to the 1%?  This time the insult is disguised as "reason" and appeals to a completely different demographic.  Shepard Smith then makes a few good points and mentions that the Mets have had a couple games with peanut free suites available.  Everyone agrees that peanut allergy deaths are bad, and Fraser Seitel is at it again.
Now that's right...and, and OK like the Mets did, if you want to devote a suite to it for several games, that's fine.  The Mets, the Mets can do anything they want to get people to come to that stadium.  For the Yankees to do it, to devote a section to peanut free attendance, that is a real slippery slope, because then I'm allergic to hot dogs, I'm allergic to beer or whatever.
So it's OK to make accommodations for people who can afford suites, but not anyone else, because the next thing you know, there'll be a beer free section!  Besides, the only reason the Mets are doing it is because that's the only way they can get anyone to come to their games.
Plus the fact that the newest sponsor at Yankee Stadium this year is Goldenberg Peanut Chews, you know the delicious little candies?  Can you imagine Mr. Goldenberg now hearing this?  I mean it's the dumbest decision the Yankees have made since trading Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps.
Mr Goldenberg, I'm available for PR work.  Call me.
[Cross talk.]  There are eight teams doing it.  It's a trend. The peanut, the anti-peanut lobby is very, very radical and very forceful and nobody can find out, it's a mysterious lobby, nobody can get under the skin to find out, so to speak, because they're hidden behind shell companies. [Laughter and more puns.]
Ba dum, ching!  That's right, it's all in good fun, can't you parents of children with life threatening peanut allergies, i.e., mysterious and radical lobby, (nasty buzz words, if I've ever heard them) take a joke?

I'd like to thank public relations consultant Fraser Seitel for a vivid demonstration of why it's important to nip bullying in the bud when young children do it, because this is what it looks like when the really talented ones grow up to become highly paid professionals.  I also now know who to call if I ever need and can afford a first rate hatchet job.

Honestly, I don't believe that he carries a genuine grudge against peanut free seating.  I truly think he was handed a fact sheet and did his job as a Fox News consultant to gin up some controversy, because that means ratings.  Seitel's remarks were clearly designed to provoke an over the top response from those of us in the food allergy community.  I predict there will soon be a segment featuring an earnest allergy mom trying to explain how much it means for her child to attend a baseball game, and being told that, hey, we were just fooling around.

Speaking as a long time member of the radical anti-peanut lobby, I don't like being played.  I would suggest that this kind of behavior should be beneath Fox News except, clearly, it's not.  The appropriate response to Fox's segment is to change the channel.  Permanently.


Kathryn said...

Thanks for the info. Didn't see or hear about this. I actually never watch that awful news channel anyway, so it will be easy for me to keep it off my TV. Sounds like Mr. Seitel needs a little PR help for himself.

Justine said...

Does anything about Fox News surprise you?

WhatvI do object to, and Iwill get flamed is the way FA people seem to disregard other people's needs and wants and love winning the "pain Olympics" contest. ☺

Goober said...

Fox News is in the same league as the Enquirer. Cod you really tske it seriously? If it were the NY Times or Washington Post, you could be upset. But you anti-peanut lobbyists are so damned defensive and entitled . Plus, he does have a point about being 1%.
BTW, have you ever met a nonCaucasian, non middle class FA kid?

Anonymous said...

Goober is right that food allergy kids are entitled! They are entitled to LIFE! I wish he was right about Fox News but too many take what is aired there as gospel. No one is inconveniencing him one bit. He can still sit in an area that serves peanuts. How is this any different than a section that is 'family friendly' and does not serve beer?

Libby said...

I usually avoid Fox News, but decided to address the clip (strictly on its own merits) because it was making the rounds and I believe that bullies should always be called on their behavior.

Justine, no flames, but I don't think of it as a contest as to whose needs are the greatest. I think, rather, that it's almost impossible as a mother to see any other priority when a situation is potentially life threatening for our child.

Goober, it's not entitlement, but rather an opportunity for MLB, which is not exactly a recession proof industry, to accommodate fans who are actively lobbying them for the opportunity to pay to attend games.

Oh, and here's an example of a "nonCaucasian", as you put it, food allergy child who was in the news just a few months ago.

Food allergies don't discriminate.

Goober said...

Isn't it ironic how upper middle class, mostly Caucasian American children could die from the same food that is saving the lives of poor, undernourished African children. Something to ponder.

Anonymous said...

Dear Goober, Are you hired by the peanut lobby?

Goober said...

Is there such a thing as the peanut lobby? Do you think that starving children in Africa should not be given Nutty Solutions http://nuttysolutions.weebly.com/index.html because 1% of American children are allergic? Some of you anti peanut folks are of that mind set.

Laura said...

Holy Moly! I can’t believe the ignorance of these comments!

Dear Goober,
I doubt any of the “Anti-Peanut Folk” want to have peanuts taken away from starving children in Africa, or any child worldwide. This is a very simple accommodation for PAYING customers to sit in a (very small) peanut-free zone so that they can enjoy the same game as you – without needing medical attention. No one is trying to have your beloved peanut banned from a stadium or tear it out of the hands of malnourished children.

I find it strange that people can become so defensive over a simple legume. It seems like our society cares more about food than our neighbours. Some of you pro-peanut folks are of that mindset.