NPR: ‘Why Healthy Vending Machines Might Hurt The Blind’

Here’s a story that the liberals at MSNBC and the food police in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office might not want to hear: requiring healthy options in vending machines could end up hurting the blind. So argued none other than a reporter for National Public Radio, hardly something you can dismiss as a conservative outlet. On the May 28 Morning Edition, Deena Prichep highlighted the potential unintended consequences of the food-police's war on snack food.

The article is a real liberal dilemma: Which is more important pushing healthy foods on a market that doesn't want it, or risking the layoff of up to 2,300 blind people? At issue is a 1936 law known as the Randolph Sheppard Act, which gave blind vendors priority to operate vending and concessions on federal property. it was later extended by each state to include state government buildings as well.

Over the past several years, state legislators like Oregon’s Alissa Keny-Guyer have, “introduced a bill to have vending machines on state property switch to healthful options.” Keny-Guyer claimed that she’s “not trying to dictate what people eat — just make it easier for them to make a healthful choice when they're pressed for time or seeking a snack."

But, as Prichep points out, "blind vendors are worried that if junk food in the vending machines is replaced with more healthful fare, [customers will] take their business elsewhere” which could mean that some blind vendors could lose their job and their $46,000 annual median salary. Liberal nanny-stater health nuts like MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski must be in quite a dilemma, as their support for food restrictions has now hit a roadblock, and now they are forced to pick between who to upset, the blind or “health advocates.”

The piece concluded with Kevan Worley, director of the National Association of Blind Merchants arguing that:

I understand, if we don't reduce health costs, that's going to be a huge economic impact. But I don't want to balance the health of the nation on the backs of blind Americans. We can develop ways to have our cake and eat it, too.

It appears that what stops the food-police might not be outrage from the general public but outrage from fellow liberals for attacking the blind.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.