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Posted by on Aug 15, 2009 in At TMV, Health, Politics, Science & Technology, Society | 56 comments

What John Mackey of Whole Foods Actually Wrote vs What the WSJ Ran: See For Yourself


When I first read the WSJ opinion piece by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, something seemed a little odd. So, I also went to his blog and glanced at the article he had submitted to the WSJ. It seemed, just to an editor’s squinty eye, that what Mackey wrote was originally about 200 words longer than the WSJ piece. Mr. Mackey is known for quoting stats, people, and studies… and often. There was a dearth of those in the WSJ article. Hmmm, I wondered, what happened?

On the case with bloodhounds, ok, a blue tick hound… I noted that Mackey had submitted the piece entitled Health Care Reform, and that whichsoever editor at WSJ had apparently changed the title, retitling it: The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare.

One title exact in terms of Mr. Mackey taking to heart what we have all been told, that President Obama wants our ideas about health care reform et al… and the latter title seeming not bad, but changing the meaning from ‘here are my ideas,’ to being open to interpretation as being ‘against.’

As we all know, out-of-the-gate tone can make all the difference between go-nowhere combat, and an engendering discussion that makes some progress.

Maybe I’ve been in the laundry room too long today, but Mackey’s seemed an opinion piece with the usual bullet points we’ve heard before… however, I thought it was strongly informed as Mackey reports the difference in Whole Foods employees in Canada thinking about health benefits they want most vs what may be offered in the US in the near future.

Very interesting too… Mr. Mackey’s idea that people can tot off a donation on their tax returns to (wholly?) support health insurance for people who are without health insurance (when I think about people w/o health insurance, I think of the most abject of the poor as well as those who are struggling for life and are bankrupt… not as sure about those of way comfortable lives who may decide to quit working and go live out their true passion to play tiddley-winks now that there may be a boon in public health insurance… and no one has said, yet, anything that I think most of us can depend on about lowering costs of equipment, testing, hospital rooms, meds, with all the dozens of layers of middlemen in each of those price-outs)

Yet, Mr. Mackey’s idea… has interesting possibilities if it would not leave a chasm for millions of ill people to fall through if that were the only safety net for them. It seems depending on already taxed-to-the-gills (taxed to the galls) taxpayers– to sort of volunteer to tax themselves for the greater good is a spiritual idea, found in tithing, for instance. That is an ancient and holy idea, and usually revolves around a self-described tribe of one sort or another, but not a nation of 280+million.

Although ‘tithing’ for the nation might not be a a solution dependable for life and death situations across the USA, it could perhaps be ‘part’ of a set of complementary solutions.

I used some of my lower register forensics-software to see what had happened to Mr. Mackey’s piece before and after WSJ, and what WSJ had added… and what WSJ had deleted. There are some edits for what we call ‘style’ … some of the old papers still use a ‘style manual’ to make everyone sound literate and in the same syntax, though with differing ideas. Some of the edits/adds are for redundancies in same sentence, grammar, and to rearrange the order of some things.

Tone may have been affected by addition of some words… to my mind, from an earnest supplicatory and well informed tone, to perhaps in places what could be intrepreted by various readers as a “do that and this and this,” rather Stentorian tone. It doesnt seem from reading Mr. Mackey’s original piece that it was meant to be so… re those who took it that latter way.

Ironically, given the sudden dog-fight that has seemed to erupt over Mr. M’s edited WSJ article, as you’ll see, interestingly enough, the references struck from Mackey’s article also often have two different groups of people trying to fight over who is or isnt the cock of the rock. The names struck from the article, are some of the folks who are called ‘new age and out there’ by one political group… and called ‘cutting edge and frontier’ by a whole other group of people with a different world (and often, political) view.

Really, I just wanted you to see the whole letter, regardless of edits, since so many appear to be railing and/or defending without actually having read the WSJ piece or/and not having seen Mr. Mackey’s original submission to WSJ.

One last note, traditionally, whether working as a journo for a print-on-paper newspaper, or being a freelancer (like Mr. Mackey) to an op ed page … in the old style of running a newspaper, the editors changed anything they wanted, cut anything, added anything they wanted. In the old model of newspapers, freelancers and journo employees were not given final say so (final consent) over their own writings. Frankly, on another topic entirely, surely the time has come to let the journos and freelancers keep to a strict word count themselves without others deciding what to put in or take out. It’s not that two heads arent better than one. They often are. But, allowing the writer the final say-so over their words… that would be part of freedom of the press too.

KEY: The black type is where original piece remained as originally written by Mr. Mackey. Red bold print is what has been added by someone other than Mr. Mackey for WSJ. The blue strikeout type is what someone from WSJ has deleted from the piece originally written by Mr. Mackey.

Note to editors at TMV, if you can find a pix of wholefoods logo that doesnt enlarge all in dots, please put up at topmost with thumbnail too? WP is acting up (or I am) and wont take one more pix from here. Thanks. Dr.e

Update: Geez. I just looked at the wholefoods logo just now as pub’d texttop, and it’s partly cut off, and looks like it says Ole Foods. I am going to be in so MUCH trouble. Man that ‘wise latina’ thang is really out of control, leaping across the nation, making everyday words into Spanish ones or else Scandinavian ones without the diacritical…’

Final Update: one of the editors at TMV has put up a new black and white logo for Whole Foods. It no longer is too large for the page. It no longer reads Ole Foods. RIP Ole.

Thank you reader for abiding. Appreciate it.