Land Of The – Free, To Do What?

Junk food advertising is to be banned on all TV programs targeting under-16’s by January 2007.

Now that really is a step in the right direction. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions, the government has felt it necessary to take action – despite screams of protest from the junk food industry.

Melanie Leech, spokesperson for the industry called the measures “over the top”, adding, “We are shocked that after a lengthy consultation Ofcom has moved the goalposts……..this issue has always been about advertising to young children and [the] industry responded on that basis with a package of strong measures designed to meet the government’s objective.”

Ah, but as always when industries are left to regulate themselves they never do so effectively, and government must step in and do it for them. Like naughty children, the corporations pout and bluster, claim it’s unnecessary, and feign innocence.

Still, it’s good that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, can step in and regulate such irresponsibility by big business.

If only the American government would do the same!

Oh, didn’t I mention – this legislation is being enacted in the United Kingdom, not the United States.

The American government spent one million dollars in 2004 on a study of this self-same problem. The study group agreed: “There is strong evidence that exposure to television advertising is associated with obesity” and concluded that “most of the food and beverage products promoted to children are high in calories, sugar, salt and fat and low in nutrients.”

Another suggestion by this “study-group” was that Congress should “enhance nutritional standards and create incentives, including awards and tax breaks, to encourage companies to develop and promote healthful products for children and adolescents.” [my underline]

Or, to put it another way – let’s PAY these bastards to stop serving poison to our kids! Dammit, these fat-cat industrialists don’t grow obese on their own products. Their waistlines expand due to fine wines, rich foods, and company lunches – all paid for by the parent whose kid’s health is being ruined by their crap burgers and artery-clogging pop-tarts.

According to a Washington Post article from December 7th, 2005, Daniel L. Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, in responding to this report, said:

“”Government stepping in and saying what should be in messages on TV is a very radical proposal and is unconstitutional. If you do it for food, there’s no reason it can’t be done for other controversial product categories. People are already trying to restrict the advertising for prescription drugs.”

Unconstitutional, Mister Jaffe? Tell us whereabouts in the American Constitution it says you have the right to ruin the health of American children for profit?

The advertising of prescription drugs has never been allowed in Britain – and, believe me, Brits are better off for it. They leave their doctors to decide how best to medicate their illnesses. It’s what we pay doctors for, isn’t it?

As for government regulation being unconstitutional, doesn’t the government regulate pornography on TV? Wasn’t a national television network recently fined heavily for accidently broadcasting to the nation a brief glimpse of Janet Jackson’s nipple during a Superbowl game? Or was that just the pornography industry instigating self-regulation?

The Washington Post again:

“The Grocery Manufacturers of America, which represents major foodmakers, said it was disappointed that the report did not cite many of the changes food companies have made in the past year………McDonald’s, for example, added milk and apples to children’s meals. PepsiCo Inc. has mandated that half of its revenue from new products come from healthful products. Kraft Foods Inc. announced this year that it would stop advertising its less nutritious products on television and radio and in magazines aimed at children under 12. Many food companies have sponsored fitness campaigns and curricula at schools and youth clubs.”

Wow! It quite takes one’s breath away.

Parent and child walk into McDonalds. Parent asks child, “What would you like – a nice apple with milk, or a double Macburger and large fries?” Child responds, “I’d love the apple and milk, mommy.”

Just as if!

Junk food firms sponsor fitness campaigns and curricula at schools and youth clubs – like Philip Morris promotes giving up smoking on its half-baked website solely to promote its name and product on TV – after government regulation banned tobacco advertising, Mister Jaffe.

Unconstitutional? Philip Morris probably thought so.

If that’s unconstitutional, then let’s have more of it, but by a government of the people, elected by the people, and by golly, for the people – not for the convenience of fat-cat, corporate America, whose sole aim is to increase its power and wealth at the expense of the American people and their children.

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