|Style over substance|
Ethical Consumer is a UK non-profit publication and website with a multi-stakeholder co-operative based open membership. It claims its "mission is to make global business more sustainable through consumer pressure". Unfortunately, it also peddles pseudoscience and alternative medicine.
Ethical Consumer scores various product brands on selected criteria and ranking them on their various product guides.
These product guides are continually growing at over 200 and cover all manners of consumables including various foods, online retailers, digital media streaming, clothing, cars, appliances, phones, finance, and even video games.
In addition, this publication allows one to apply weight to the criteria it has scored as if one has no qualms about animal rights but is passionate about labour rights. It is possible to remove the animal rights element and increase the weight of the desired moral stances accordingly.
However despite the admirable good intentions, the site promotes and endorses many pseudo-scientific ideas throughout many of its guides.
Homeopathy and herbs
For example it promotes homeopathy, acupuncture, and disproved herbalism as viable alternatives to over the counter painkillers and go as far as to plug various quack organisation websites. They proudly boast of how they have awarded Best Buy approval awards to "Weleda, Viridian, and Neal's Yard", all of whom are purveyors of either homeopathic medicine, potentially health detrimental (and without benefit) herbal supplements or both.
Ethical consumer also engages in fluoride scaremongering by entertaining a debate on the toothpaste guide, presenting the "FOR", "AGAINST" and "IN THE MIDDLE" arguments without any impartiality giving the impression that all three views deserved equal consideration.
And there's the tacit approval of Gillian McKeith's products which attracts only a mild and brief mention of criticism pertaining "widespread criticisms around marketing practices" which is not elaborated on and her products rank amongst the highest in their respective product guides nonetheless.
They even peddle the well-worn urban legend that video games encourage violent behaviour and lend credence to the likes of Jack Thompson. Such assertions are referenced to a dead link on MediaWise (a subsidiary of the reactionary National Institute on Media and the Family), infamous for its inaccurate and dishonest reporting to support their hysterical agenda. They make brief references to GTA and Bully, framing them in a disingenuous way that lacks context and dismisses any notion of moral relativity or the actual subtext of what happens in those games.
Furthermore it appears that whoever wrote this guide has no interest in video games, is out of touch and resorted to lazily web-searching all their research. Besides the aforementioned mischaracterisation of video games as a medium that instils violence, they recommend several "positive" moral video game alternatives to what they have deemed to be an monolithic industry of violent shooters.
Whilst this is not bad in of itself, they overlook many games that handle their preferred agenda of animal rights, industrialisation, consumerism and environmentalism among others, such as the Sonic franchise, Abe's Odyssey, Banjo Kazooie, Final Fantasy to name but a few. That and the absence of any popular innocuous videogames (except Tetris) in the recommendation section at the time of article in 2009 such as Sim City, The Sims, Guitar Hero, Portal, Minecraft et al, reveals that said writer merely put something on the lines of "ethical AND video game" into a search engine.
Which is a shame as their otherwise interesting environmental and socio-economic evaluation makes for an interesting read. Also to note is that they shoe-horn in a somewhat valid critique from a pacifist organisation Christian Peacemaker Teams, which would be fine if such things were part of a subjective review a specific videogame but is out of place and unnecessary on an article trying to objectify videogame consoles as a whole.
It is yet to be seen whether Ethical Consumer is willing to review its journalistic integrity or continue to wallow in its scorn for scepticism and critical thinking.
Despite catering to the likes of people who might browse NaturalNews, Ethical Consumer still provides a much needed critical view on the ethics of business and improving awareness of such issues, albeit even with a disingenuous agenda.
- ↑ http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/healthbeauty/painkillers.aspx
- ↑ http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/healthbeauty/toothpaste.aspx
- ↑ http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/food/cerealbars.aspx
- ↑ http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/drink/smoothies.aspx
- ↑ http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/audiovisual/gamesconsoles.aspx