Last week professional martyr and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader found himself favored by only the bottom one percent of the electorate. Despite this loss, his ever-multiplying organizations will soldier on, including those groups dedicated to dictating our diets. Nader — who insisted that “McDonald’s double cheeseburgers [are] a weapon of mass destruction” and attacked the omnipresent Michael Moore, poking fun at the celluloid star’s own cellulite — has inspired and employed many of today’s leading obesity hysterics.
When it comes to the so-called “obesity epidemic,” the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is the undisputed king of hyperbolic hysteria. Founded by executive director Michael Jacobson and two other lawyers from Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law, CSPI infamously attacked Fettuccine Alfredo as a “heart attack on a plate,” tried to scare the chopsticks out of the hands of those who enjoy Chinese food, and maintains a fatwa against countless cuisine choices. In addition to pushing fat taxes and obesity lawsuits, CSPI now says it’s planning a campaign that will branch out into animal and environmental issues, with a name that should be music to Nader’s ears: “Eating Green.”
The American Obesity Association (AOA) is funded by weight-loss and pharmaceutical companies that hope to cash in on the overblown hype about our national waistline. Listening to their rhetoric, you’d think they envision Armageddon where the rest of us see appetizers. Along with pushing fat taxes, AOA has been the primary group lobbying the federal government to re-classify obesity as a “disease.” AOA executive director Morgan Downey brags that he was “one of the first lobbyists for Ralph Nader” — and just like Nader, who thinks individuals cannot resist the supposed mind-control exercised by corporations, Downey views our eating and exercise choices as beyond our control. Speaking as if obesity were an uncontrollable affliction like multiple sclerosis, he testified before Congress: “I am a person with obesity.”
Commercial Alert is in the business of attacking business. Nader is its co-founder and the chair of its advisory board (see here and here for examples of their collective handiwork). One of Commercial Alert’s flagship projects is an open letter urging “a global ban” on marketing food and beverages they don’t like to children. Signers include CSPI and the Green Party of the United States, which ran Nader as its Presidential candidate in 2000.