With a wave of its wand, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has launched SaveHarry.com — a website attacking Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the upcoming family film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” CSPI’s goal: to make children afraid to drink soda by bombarding them with overstated claims and questionable research. It even includes a kid-friendly game, and a form letter to send to author J.K. Rowling.
Any fan of the Harry books knows that Harry and his friends enjoy candy and desserts as special treats, as most children do, with no ill effect. But what’s really scary about CSPI’s spell of deception is that it calls soda “Liquid Candy” — the title of a 1998 CSPI report on soda that had to be recalled because it said kids drink twice as much soda as CSPI’s own research had actually found. (Maybe someone cast a “doubling spell” on CSPI’s number-crunchers?)
CSPI is always the first to whine about “marketing campaigns aimed at children and adolescents.” Now, in its fervor to frighten consumers out of choosing to drink soda, it’s running one of its own. That’s hypocrisy — something Harry really wouldn’t like.