Good-Bye, Food Network

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January 13, 2010 | Comments

Refer back to my post of January 4th, and you will remember that I have cancelled my subscription to Golf Digest in the wake of its slobbering collusion in the President’s unquenchable addiction to photo shoots and media attention. Well, now Food Network Magazine is on my chopping block (to borrow a phrase from the network’s own Chopped program), and, given what I’m hearing from others out there who previously considered themselves fans of this network, I have a feeling I’m not the only one doing the chopping.

It began a couple of months ago, when, as is so often the case, I was watching the Food Network – which I have, day in and day out, since the network’s inception in the early 90s. Indeed I have been one of their most loyal, most enduring fans, knowing that the Food Network was both a safe territory for kids and a sanctuary of political neutrality. But that all changed on that fateful day a couple months back, when a commercial announced that a guest of “national importance” would be gracing a special episode of Iron Chef from Washington, DC.

Uh oh. Red flag. I knew what was coming.

A couple teaser weeks passed, and there it was: the quick flash on the screen of the First Lady. She would be challenging the chefs with a special secret ingredient: fresh produce, including some taken from her own White House garden, all in keeping with her focus on good health and nutrition, blah, blah, blah, slobber, slobber, slobber.

I didn’t watch, of course, and the phony-baloney artificiality of the idea and its execution made me cringe (to put it nicely). Don’t know how it played, but I will trust that nothing was said during the course of the challenge about the First Lady’s appetite for the finer foods in life: Kobe beef, lobster, caviar – items not readily found in the White House garden.

Anyway, it didn’t end there. I also happen to be a charter subscriber to Food Network Magazine, and I love it — read it from cover to cover every month. But the November issue brought another red flag: a slobbering piece on the First Family’s favorite restaurants. Then came December: a celebration of the First Lady’s Iron Chef challenge. And now, January: the First Family’s favorite recipes, blah, blah, blah, slobber, slobber, slobber. Three months in a row! And that’s it for me. I’m out.

I have cancelled my subscription to the magazine, re-programmed my cable “Favorites,” and notified both network and magazine why they may no longer count me in. I have asked, as well, knowing no answer will be forthcoming, if their embrace of partisanship and some of the most polarizing figures in American history has garnered them more viewers and readers than it has lost. I simply mentioned Food Network Magazine in my “photo-op” post, and I heard from like-minded fans who are equally disgusted by this former sanctuary’s new political focus. I have a feeling the network is learning the hard way just how severely they have misread their audience.

Betsy Siino | Comments