Kevin Folta, a critic of the Food Babe, has been sent a list of demands for his email correspondence under the Freedom Of Information Act. I’m all in favor of transparency, and I can see where FOIA requests can be used to uncover conspiracy or expose intent, but this is a case where Folta has been outspoken and up-front: he thinks Vani Hari is a quack. You don’t need a shadowy paymaster and ulterior motives to explain why a scientist would publicly explain that someone said something that is scientifically wrong.
I also don’t need to rifle through her correspondence to figure out why she’s making these demands, nor does Kevin Folta.
This is all pretty simple. Vani Hari is a self-consumed amateur that is determined to discredit her critics. Why? She sits atop a multi-million dollar empire of corporate slander and internet sales. Why would she possibly exploit expensive public records requests to delve into the emails of a professor dedicated to public education?
Because he teaches facts, and more facts translate to fewer profits for Vani.
So instead of meeting him head-on about the science in a visible and public space, she uses a public records request to sneak a peek through his private correspondence in the hopes of… not sure what.
I’ve been there. I’ve gotten a few FOIA requests myself, and every time they’ve been trivial and pointless, and I wonder what the heck they expect to find. Receipts from George Soros sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to my PayPal account? Spirit commands from Saul Alinsky? Private confessions that the pseudoscience I’m critiquing is valid, but I have to publicly deride it, or the Little People will acquire the Vast Power only I should have at my fingertips?
I think part of it is vanity. They want evidence that the scientist is sitting there seething and writing frantic screeds to all of their friends talking about the quack. In that sense I’ve always shattered the ego of the FOIA pests: typically I’ve only found small handfuls of email that meet their search criteria, and most of the results are accidental.
Vani Hari wants all of Folta’s email that mentions the word “Babe”. It’s not a term I use much, but I checked my email: I’ve got 9 messages that use the word. A grand total of 1 is about Food Babe (someone sent me a link to a parody…there was no money involved, darn it).