When the networks get a story involving food, labeling and health, they know just how to cover it: get reaction from their favorite lefty advocacy group, and paint consumers as defenseless patsies. That's what CBS' "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" did on March 4.
In an alleged violation of the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has issued its biggest crackdowns in fifteen years, putting seventeen food manufacturers on notice for what they say are misleading product labels for consumers. The food companies have fifteen days to respond to the charges, either challenging the allegations or offering plans to change their labels.
Both GMA and "Early Show" predictably turned to America's self-appointed food police - the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) - for answers.
The CSPI has been a darling of the mainstream media for years, which have given the lefty organization coverage of its many campaigns against restaurant portions, cereal-box characters, Burger King's "food porn," and food-coloring, among other scourges.
BMI advisor Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan has written that, "CSPI never met a regulation or tax it did not love. How to solve the obesity crisis? Tax soda, ban its sale in schools, mandate that restaurants carry detailed nutrition labels on menus, and sue McDonald's for luring children...there are no good or bad foods, only good or bad diets."
In GMA's report by Bianna Golodryga, the FDA has taken issue with products without trans-fats that are "misleading" because they don't prominently display other fats contained on the front of the package (although they're listed in the nutritional contents); products containing unauthorized claims such as "healthy" that haven't been vetted by the FDA; juice-blends with added flavors labeled "100% Juice"; and products with beneficial vitamins and minerals which make claims that go beyond "FDA-approved definitions."
"We hope that this is the start of a battle that will lead to a war that will end the deceptive food labeling," Bruce Silverglade, CSPI's Director of Legal Affairs, proclaimed to GMA.
"Right now, you have to practically be a label-detective to get through the hype, and misleading claims, and inaccurate statements on the food package," Silverglade told Michelle Gielan of "Early Show" in another interview.
Golodryga said ABC had "reached out" to the companies involved, but made no more attempt to present their side. ABC and CBS even failed to talk to any FDA officials). Instead they both turned to the very same person from the same liberal organization, unlabeled as such - passing Silverglade and the CSPI merely as objective consumer advocates.
Apparently, labeling is only an issue for food makers, not media outlets.