Journalistic Pudding for Breakfast

The NBC Today Show gave 10 minutes this morning to a story billed on its Web site as “Couple Sheds 551 Pounds with Prayer.” It glowingly described a “mass” movement of a million people “exercising faith to fight fat.”

With testimonial after testimonial about couples who turned from the refrigerator to God, instead, it turns out that the real method is not prayer but lifestyle change. Host Matt Lauer tried to ask the tough questions of diet book shill Gwen Shablin, including whether failing to lose weight means failing God.

As evasion after evasion followed, Lauer fell to his metaphorical knees, informing his guest and the audience of millions eating their bagels and cream cheese, “I am not a critic or a cynic, because to me the proof is in the pudding.”

No proof was ever offered for the link between prayer and weight loss. Lots of journalistic pudding, however.


  1. No offense, but this seems a very cursory appraisal of a complicated subject. The evidence is that intercessory prayer has no effect [Meta-analysis study, and this rather amusing paper where people used prayer to try and kill cancer cells growing in vitro], however there are several studies that show that prayer can improve the quality of life of those suffering from chronic disease [1, 2], though the effect on survival is more complicated [3].



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.