CNN’s Alina Cho Finds ‘Good Argument’ for Bloomberg’s Drink Ban

Nanny state Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again, trying to pass a ban on large sugary drinks, all with the media’s help of course. CNN’s Alina Cho favored the proposal in her May 31 report during the 10 a.m. hour of “Newsroom.”

“Newsroom” anchor Carol Costello called the Bloomberg proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at roughly 20,000 establishments “controversial,” but Cho found nothing to criticize. Instead she blatantly promoted the idea with her one-sided story. (Video after the jump)

 

From her description of Bloomberg, to the “good argument” she found for such a ban; Cho was acting as a nanny-state advocate. She lauded the move saying this was “not the first time Michael Bloomberg has been outfront on the issue of health and fighting obesity.”

After describing the proposal, Cho declared “And here’s a good argument why” as a gross anti-soda video rolled on screen. Cho then explained that the video was of a man “drinking a tall glass of fat.”

“And if you’re reading along it says one can of soda a day can make you ten pounds fatter a year,” Cho said. Cho had no criticism for the video and no explanation of where it came from.

In fact it was a NYC anti-soda campaign advertisement, paid for with taxpayer dollars and done after much internal debate about the “science” of the claim. According to The New York Times, nutritionist Cathy Nonas said in a memo to her colleagues that “scientists will make mincemeat of us” over the idea of “a sugary drink becoming fat.” City health commissioner “Dr. Thomas A. Farley, overruled three subordinates, including his chief nutritionist [Nonas],” the Times wrote.

Despite Costello’s introduction to Cho’s story about the controversial nature of Bloomberg’s proposal, there was absolutely no mention of opposition to banning sugary drinks.

But in fact there is a side to the story that Cho ignored. Jeff Stier of the National Center for Public Policy Research said in a press release, “Banning large size sodas has no basis in science, limits freedom, and leads us away from facing the real problem of obesity in a serious, fact-based manner.”

Stier added that “Drinking too much soda is a bad idea. But the Mayor’s Nanny State approach will do little to curb the problem and will do plenty to alienate the very people we need to work with - not against - the people who consume too many calories from a variety of sources.”

Stier was not the only one who bristled at the thought of having freedom to choose how much of a sugary beverage to consume.

Bloomberg claimed the ban is necessary to combat obesity and “what the public wants,” but the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) disagreed. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan said that, “Most people want the Mayor and officials to stop micromanaging every aspect of their lives, including what beverages they’re allowed to drink and in what amounts. Not only is the latest proposed ban frightening in terms of government overreach, but it will have no impact on obesity.”

According to ACSH’s Medical Director Dr. Gilbert Ross, obesity rates have stabilized nationwide in recent years and “There is no solid evidence showing that restricting sodas to a certain size will have the slightest impact on obesity.”

Cho’s biased piece in favor of restricting personal choices about drinks is just the latest in a long line of anti-soda, anti-sugar and pro-regulation stories from the mainstream news media. Her colleague Dr. Sanjay Gupta promoted the idea that sugar is a “toxin” on April 1, 2012, when he hosted CBS “60 Minutes.” He interviewed University of California San Francisco professor Dr. Robert H. Lustig who claims sugar is toxic and the cause of a “public health crisis,” and should therefore be regulated like “tobacco and alcohol.” Lustig was favorably interviewed, while Jim Simon of the Sugar Association was badgered and asked loaded questions.

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski not only supported San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to ban soda in city vending machines, but wanted to stop people from drinking soda altogether in 2010. She called Newsom her “new hero” and declared, “if people would just not drink soda pop, they would be healthier and less fat.” Later she added that getting “rid of soda pop” would “make me happy.”

CBS labeled soda taxation “good for the waistline and bottom line” in March 2010. Way back in 2009, the broadcast networks were promoting the idea of a soda tax as “another way to help pay for health care reform.”

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.