CNN Fails to Label Liberal Group Poised to Sue McDonald's Over 'Happy Meal' Toys

As NewsBusters sister company CNSNews.com reported, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a liberal consumer advocacy group, is threatening to sue the McDonald's Corporation for "unfair and deceptive" marketing practices unless the fast food company stops giving away toys in its "Happy Meals." CNN's "American Morning" on June 23 covered the story half-jokingly, but failed to identify the liberal tilt of organization.

Co-host Kiran Chetry reported: "The Center for Science in the Public Interest is delivering a warning to McDonald's about toys being used to make 'Happy Meals' more appetizing to kids. They say 'Happy Meals' are unhealthy."

Making no effort to apply an appropriate label to the organization, co-host John Roberts continued: "The group accuses the fast food giant of 'unfair and deceptive' marketing practices toward children. McDonald's, of course, as you could image, rejects the accusations."

On the surface, CNN crafted the impression that CSPI is a quirky but sincere consumer advocacy organization, but underlying the group's innocuous veneer are liberal activists willing to inject partisan politics into consumer safety.                
 
Referring to the Bush administration, CSPI Litigation Director Stephen Gardner told CNSNews.com: "Marketers of all kinds in this country, one, were lulled into a sense of true security under the prior administration when the federal agencies did absolutely nothing to protect consumers."

At the end of the segment, both Chetry and Roberts seemed dismissive of the lawsuit, but neither anchor was willing to inform viewers of CSPI's liberal leanings and history of pushing a public policy diet heavy in government regulation.

A transcript of the segment can be found below:
CNN
American Morning
6/23/10

7:56 a.m.

KIRAN CHETRY, co-host: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. The food police have a beef with McyDees. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is delivering a warning to McDonald's about toys being used to make "Happy Meals" more appetizing to kids. They say "Happy Meals" are unhealthy.

JOHN ROBERTS, co-host: Yeah, they're putting McDonald's on notice, saying "drop the toys, or we'll sue you." The group accuses the fast food giant of "unfair and deceptive" marketing practices toward children. McDonald's, of course, as you could image, rejects the accusations.

CHETRY: They can't get a break. First they tried to give away the glasses but they had to recall them because of cadmium in the paint on the "Shrek" glasses.

ROBERTS: Well that definitely is a bad thing, but the toy? Come on.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.