Good Mythical Morning, the popular YouTube channel hosted by “internetainers” Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, released a video this month sponsored by the National Pork Board.
“Incorporate pork into your healthy diet,” states the video description.
This is problematic on a health, and an ethical level.
I’m not here to start fights or steal your bacon, but most of the medical community considers pork just about the most unhealthy meat you can consume. With nearly 20 grams per 300 calories, pork rings in at a whopping 10 to 20 percent fat average. It contains little to no vitamin content, and the B vitamins, Zinc, and Selenium it does contain exist plentifully in other protein sources with less stress on your digestive system. You can incorporate pork into a balanced keto diet, but that diet can kill you and should be used under careful supervision for particular health and performance needs.
In fact, as physicians in medical school we learn that only two or three diets have large scale medical evidence behind them, to include the Mediterranean and DASH diets; none of those diets routinely feature pork. Instead, I usually recommend that my patients increase Omega 3s and 6s found in plant-based and fish-based protein.
Regardless of what you consider healthy, this National Pork Board alliance also suffers from the ethical challenge of its factory farm roots. Just last year Mercy for Animals released hidden camera footage demonstrating piglets tortured by America’s large pork suppliers, and despite multiple attempts by Big Farming to make investigative reporting illegal, it doesn’t take more than a quick YouTube search to find undercover footage.
Cruel acts shown in multiple reports include skinning pigs alive, crushing their testicles without anesthetic, and ripping out their teeth.
American consumers may or may not care about Sus scruff domesticus the way they care about the much less intelligent canine, and maybe it’s valid to question the bias of animal activists’ statements. Regardless of your agricultural politics, though, you can’t help but feel suspicious when Big Agriculture asks the government to silence reporters. I’m not one to scream “sell out” at every YouTuber trying to make a buck; I love a healthy affiliate or sponsor relationship. I’m very capitalist. But we’re talking about a media sponsor with a known history of lobbying the government to silence media.
We’re also talking about one of the most influential food-based Youtube Channels of all time. Viewers need to understand, these aren’t just two guys and their buddies in a garage anymore. Just last month, Mythical Entertainment purchased Smosh, expanding their reach to over 70 million subscribers, 250 million monthly views, and 14 Youtube Channels.
That’s a lot of easily-influenced kids watching Pork TV.
“Rhett and Link” began their channel over a decade ago as professing Christians known for clean, family-friendly humor centered around curiosity, silly music, and brother-like dares. Religion may be neither here nor there for a large multicultural conglomerate, and of course the channel’s current increase in sexual content may simply owe to a changing sense of humor.
But overall, Mythical Entertainment is starting to look more and more like a sheltered teen trying to smoke in front of the cool city kids. Anyone can change, but in this case the stark difference between “then” and “now” smells like hypocrisy. Plenty of other Youtube channels thrive on funny innuendo and questionable sponsorships. But plenty of other Youtube channels don’t claim the carefully cultivated “good guys” reputation Mythical Entertainment owns.
And while “incorporate pork into your healthy diet” skirts a lovely legal line that doesn’t make health promises, it’s easily misinterpreted by young readers. Wouldn’t our conscientious internet idols want to take responsibility for even accidental misinformation that could affect their young viewers’ health choices?
If I felt mean and snarky, I’d end with a cheesy crack about how somehow the “good” from Good Mythical Morning didn’t make it into the corporate brandname, or perhaps joke that it’s all because Mr. Neal is obviously evolving into a foxy silver robot-clone of Mr. McLaughlin. (It all started with the haircut!)
But this is actually kind of sad. The Internet thrives and fundamentally exists on the free speech Big Agra opposes. Mythical Entertainment has the right to take money from whoever they please, but if they continue to promote themselves as a socially conscious brand, then subscribers, consumers, and other advertisers may want to hold them accountable.
I don’t usually recommend straight up “social media activism” on these superheroalerts, but if you’re an avid Youtube consumer, please share, and go comment to Mythical Entertainment about your concerns on their website.