The Center for Consumer Freedom has announced the winners of its 2003 “Tarnished Halo” Awards. CCF awards prizes annually to America’s most notorious animal-rights zealots, environmental scaremongers, celebrity busybodies, self-anointed “public interest” advocates, trial lawyers, and other food & beverage activists who claim to “know what’s best for you.”
The “Tort Reform Poster Boy” Category
The “Do as I Say, Not as I Eat” Category
Awarded to the father of the “Twinkie tax,” Yale University professor Kelly Brownell, for writing a book on solutions to the obesity epidemic while misleading the public about his own weight. On the dust jacket of his 2003 book about obesity, readers find a photograph of a trimmer (and much younger) Brownell than current reality warranted. Brownell admitted to the Associated Press that his own obesity resulted from a sedentary lifestyle.
The “Milk Money” Category
Awarded to PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, for insisting to ABC News that convicted arsonist and animal-rights militant Rodney Coronado is a “fine young man and a school teacher.” Newkirk’s words came just a few weeks after Coronado demonstrated — before a crowd of hundreds of college-age activists at American University — how to build a firebomb out of a milk jug (so he was a “school teacher” of sorts). After Coronado was arrested for his 1990s arson spree, PETA gave him more than $70,000.
The “Socialist of the Year” Category
Awarded to New York University professor Marion Nestle, for trying to turn a single case of mad cow disease into a nationwide boycott of beef, even though she admits that “the risk is very low.” This dietary scold’s crusade may be less about the public health of consumers and more about her anti-corporate sentiments. In 2003, Nestle was the star speaker at events hosted by the American Public Health Association’s Socialist Caucus. She also addressed the annual “Socialist Scholars Conference.”
The “I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One on TV” Category
Awarded to ER star Noah Wyle for steering Americans away from medical charities like the Red Cross and American Heart Association, in a commercial produced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). PCRM is a phony so-called medical organization funded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And like Noah Wyle, 95 percent of PCRM’s members never graduated from medical school.
The “Pirate of the High Sierras” Category
Awarded to members of the Sierra Club, for electing “Captain” Paul Watson to their Board of Directors. Watson’s methods of environmental and animal-rights activism include ramming fishing boats and firing shotguns at fishermen. He defends these actions by saying “if you make every effort to not kill and injure anybody, that’s all you really can do,” and by claiming “there’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win.”
The “Reading, ‘Riting, and Raisinets” Category
Awarded to a long list of America’s public schools, for moronic solutions to America’s so-called obesity epidemic. The state of Arkansas is now including weight measurements on children’s report cards. Texas schools now
prohibit students from sharing candy with their friends. And California routinely eliminates reference to foods considered “unwholesome” from school textbooks. Among the Orwellian changes: Patricia Zettner’s story “A Perfect Day for Ice Cream” was renamed “A Perfect Day.”
The “Bet You Can’t Eat Just 180 Pounds” Category
Awarded to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), for scaring Americans off French fries and potato chips by claiming that the chemical acrylamide (found in starchy foods cooked at high temperatures) causes 8,900 cancers in America every year. To arrive at this number, CSPI arbitrarily inflated government nutrition statistics. Existing studies on cancer and dietary acrylamide show that human beings would have to eat over 180 pounds of French fries every day for life in order to have any real risk. Shortly after its bogus warning about acrylamide, CSPI had the temerity to host a conference titled “Integrity in Science.”
The “We Card for Candy” Category
Awarded to New Zealand’s Minister of Health, who advocates a minimum legal age for buying foods like candy, soft drinks and chocolate.
The “Meathead” Category
Awarded to Alec Baldwin, for lending his star power to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and its animal rights cult. Baldwin, who once played an anti-Nazi crusading attorney in the movie “Nuremberg,” narrated PETA’s misleading anti-meat video at the same time the group was promoting a truly disgusting campaign, comparing victims of the Holocaust to chickens. Memo to Baldwin’s agent: The Führer was also an animal rights nut.
The “Jackbooted Teetotalers” Category
Awarded to Fairfax County (Virginia) Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, who announced that “you can’t be drunk in a bar” to explain why squadrons of uniformed cops barged into Northern Virginia establishments and arrested non-driving customers for the crime of being tipsy.
The “Better Dead Than Fed” Category
Awarded to the World Health Organization, for promoting “fat taxes” in its overblown global strategy to fight obesity, while 25,000 people die of starvation every day.
The “Teaching Terrorism 101” Category
Awarded to California State University Fresno, for hosting a conference on “Revolutionary Environmentalism” which featured America’s most notorious animal-rights militants and eco-terrorists defending the use of arson and property destruction. Speakers included high-seas pirate Paul Watson, convicted arsonist Rodney Coronado, Animal Liberation Front thug-turned-PETA-lecturer
Gary Yourofsky, and former Earth Liberation Front spokesman Craig Rosebraugh, whose new organization promotes the violent overthrow of the United States government.
The “Big Brother is Watching Your Waistline” Category
Awarded to the government of West Virginia for its novel approach to fighting its citizens weight gain. The cash-strapped state, which ranks 48th in per capita income, spent scarce tax dollars on billboards reading: “Biggie Fries = Biggie Thighs.” Other catchy slogans from this campaign include: “Super Size Food — A Super Size You!” and “Put down those chips and trim those hips!”
The “Legal Chutzpah” Category
Awarded to the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI), an organization run by class-action lawyer Richard Daynard, for threatening food companies with obesity lawsuits unless they can prove that their customers are losing weight. Daynard, considered the “intellectual godfather of tobacco litigation,” sued tobacco lawyers for 5 percent of a $3 billion tobacco settlement. That’s $150 million to you and me. The tobacco lawyers responded by calling Daynard “greedy” and “a bit more mercenary than people think.”