I think you’re missing the point because of the specific example.
The issue is that NYT wasn’t pitting two scientists against each other, one who thought pasteurized milk was the only way, one who thought unpasteurized was fine, it was pitting an scientist against a rando non-scientist with opinions, and treating both like they were actually valid.
That’s what makes it irresponsible bullshit in this case. If you can’t even dig up a scientist to defend the other side of science-based proposition (which this absolutely is), then you either should do a one-sided take, or not do the story at all. Anything else is bad, irresponsible journalism.
Hell, if they couldn’t find a US scientist willing to defend unpasteurized milk, they could have got a European one.
Also, you’re playing it as if raw milk being illegal is a fanciful thing, where it’s actually illegal or barely legal in a lot of countries, including some in the EU - Scotland for example, or Scandinavia, which only allows “barnyard” sales, not sales to consumers or via shops. The risks are well-understood, I agree, but that’s not the issue.
On top of this, whilst it’s not as often discussed, the US has another issue here - it’s dairy farms, indeed cow farms in general, are frequently horrific compared to EU/UK farms (which have vastly higher standards for animal welfare), and the primary issue here is that they are full of nasty bacteria. So raw milk produced in the US is going to be significantly more likely to poison you than EU raw milk (which still manages to make a surprising number of people sick - in France it’s the main source of stapphyloccal infections from food, for example).
You’re also not really incorrect to state raw milk is “perfectly legal” and “regulated to guarantee safe consumption” in the EU. Neither is actually true. As I noted, some countries make it illegal, or tightly limit how it can be sold.
But AFAIK, and I can’t find anything to contradict this, only support it, the is no EU-wide regulation of raw milk beyond requiring very clear labeling that it is raw milk. Rather the EU lets countries apply whatever regulations they see fit. This means some countries have very tight restrictions and rules, and others have fewer. France is one of those with fewer, for example, and as a consequence, more people get sick. I’m sure France views this as a worthwhile sacrifice for great cheese, and it’s not like the US can sneer, given they let people have guns willy-nilly.
In the US the pro-raw-milk crowd aren’t scientists or doctors, note, or even really cheese-makers or the like, they’re hippies and conspiracy theorists who attribute magical properties to raw milk. If the NYT was responsible, they’d just have a scientist outline what the issues with raw milk are, and what sort of regulation you’d need to reduce risk, and why they’d need a system of farm inspections and certificates far beyond what they actually have to reduce the infection levels to EU levels. But the raw-milk crowd are also opposed to that. They’re against regulations and inspections, even if it would let them legally do what they want, because they’re hippies and don’t want “The Man” telling them what to do.
Yes but it’s not left or right or whatever, it’s just like, troll politics. It’s an opinion, that a tiny number of idiots naturally come up with, and then papers like the NYT and various websites needlessly amplify for the sake of creating controversy for clicks/sales. The NYT is absolutely guilty of that.
What does politicized mean here?
The conventional definition is: “cause (an activity or event) to become political in character.”
That’s what the NYT is actively doing by presenting it in this way. They’re responsible for politicizing this ludicrous issue. If you present something as scientist vs scientist, it’s not really political, it’s about the opinion of scientists, and you can actually probably fairly say which opinion is preponderant and so on. But when you put a scientist up against some random idiot (which sadly includes medical doctors, given the incredibly stupid or insane people who somehow obtain medical degrees), you remove it from the realms of science and the rational, and move it into the realm of opinion, and thus politics.
That’s the reason you can’t think of an example that isn’t politicized. Because to do the “both sides” thing, you actively push something into the political realm, even if it wasn’t before.
The classic British example is ultra-qualified up-to-date scientist vs Nigel Lawson, a thick, smug, oily politician who has a GSCE-level science education from the 1940s, to discuss climate change. This was something the BBC repeated countless times (paying Lawson far more than the scientist to appear, as a bonus). Nigel Lawson knew absolutely nothing about climate change. Not a damn thing. Except that he didn’t believe in it, and was quite loud about that. And please ignore the direct financial links he had to companies causing climate change. The BBC certainly obliged him in ignoring those links.
This should never have been a political issue, it should have been a science issue. The BBC should have been noting, every time it was discussed, that far more scientists were on one side than the other. The debates weren’t even debates, because it was a scientist talking about the science and what was actually happening, and an ignorant politician mindlessly denying it or pulling out ridiculous talking points which seemed to be from some 1980s Exxon briefing.
But no, the BBC treated this random idiot as if we should equally respect, his view equally consider, and it would be unfair to point out that he was financially profiting from the companies involved.
He did stuff like blatantly lie, get called on the lie by the scientist, and then just keep repeating the lie. And the BBC “journalist” involved would inevitably end up defending Lawson (until near the end). And BBC just couldn’t find scientists with extreme anti-climate change views, so they kept bringing him on, endlessly. The other main people were engineers (also not scientists, note) employed by petrochemical companies, and occasionally just the execs of those companies. None of those people should ever have been airing their views and being treated as the same as a scientist.
As a Brit, I am shocked you think it’s simple as that. It’s not legal at all in Scotland, and it’s barely legal in the UK.