The timer on the food cops’ latest legal bomb is about to reach zero. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope it’s a dud. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) gave notice last month of its intention to sue to “protect” the children of Massachusetts from food advertising. The thirty-day lawsuit warning period having elapsed, CSPI’s activists are now free to pack into their clown car and head over to the courthouse for a steaming bowl of New England justice.
While we called attention to this lawsuit’s absurdities a month ago, yesterday’s USA Today dished up another round of creamed scorn that’s too good to pass up. Acknowledging that obesity and diabetes are serious issues, the editorial goes on to point out that:
… driving a stake through Count Chocula’s heart won’t cure them. Lawsuits and ad bans are like those quick fix diets — illusions that waste good intentions.
The editors stake their claim (much to Count Chocula’s relief, assuredly) on three fact-based arguments: “Young children don’t drive themselves to supermarkets to buy sugary cereals.” Unless CSPI will argue that advertising actually beams fat into the eyes of children, this one is pretty hard to get around.”Evidence that advertising contributes to the rise in childhood obesity is weak.” The editors go on to mention the negligible impact of Sweden’s ban on advertising, but we would also like to point out that the Institute of Medicine study on advertising and childhood obesity doesn’t actually demonstrate a connection between the two. Don’t believe us? Check out what a former Director of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel laureate in economics have to say about it.”Daily TV watching by American kids has actually dropped more than an hour since 1977,” though that doesn’t mean they’re getting outside more often — physical activity actually declined 13% between 1980 and 2000.
“Trying to censor advertisers and litigate obesity away is only a distraction,” USA Today concludes. “Maybe not as tempting as the ice-cream diet, but equally futile.”