Monday’s Chattanooga Times Free Press couldn’t have put it any better when it highlighted our 4th Annual Tarnished Halo Awards: “So long as fussy and even militant meddlers try to restrict consumers’ choices on everything from the size of cars they may drive to the size of hamburgers they may eat, the work of the Center for Consumer Freedom will be necessary.” Each year we shine the spotlight on America’s most notorious animal-rights zealots, environmental scaremongers, celebrity busybodies, self-anointed “public interest” advocates, trial lawyers, and other food and beverage activists who claim to “know what’s best for you.” Without further ado, a drum roll, please …
The “Reverend Rooster” Category
Awarded to Al Sharpton, the publicity-seeking preacher, for joining PETA to crow at KFC restaurants and attempting to instigate a boycott from the African American community. It’s odd that Sharpton would stand side-by-side with PETA, which advocates a complete end to chicken consumption. When the reverend emerged from prison in 2001 after a four-week hunger strike, he didn’t ask for tofu and lentils. He told a crowd of well-wishers: “I’m going to walk through Harlem just to settle in again, then I’m going to Amy Ruth’s for some fried chicken.” That restaurant’s menu carries a dish named after Sharpton-it’s chicken and waffles.
The “Will Sue Your Mom for Publicity” Category
Awarded to George Washington University professor John “Sue the Bastards” Banzhaf for threatening to sue doctors of overweight patients and parents of overweight children. Of course, that’s in addition to his supporting role in a billion-dollar fishing expedition to sue food companies for making people fat.
The “Porn Identity” Category
Awarded to the wingnuts at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for their unnerving obsession with adult entertainment. With virtually millions of analogies in existence, these food prudes regularly equate America’s favorite foods with pornography, even going so far as to dedicate the back cover of their monthly newsletter to complaining about “food porn.” This year they called Hardee’s new Monster Thickburger a “snuff film.”
The “Wrong Turn on Logic Lane” Category
Awarded to buxom beauty Pamela Anderson for her hypocritical criticism of NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Anderson attacked Earnhardt for his relationship with KFC, insisting he had to “take some responsibility for the company’s practices.” But Anderson is a vocal supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which wants to end the very medical research Anderson champions as a cure for her own disease, hepatitis C.
The “Spurious Spurlock” Category
Awarded to Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock, who got his start as host of the TV show I Bet You Will. With cameras rolling, Spurlock paid a man to gulp down an entire 24-ounce jar of mayonnaise. He paid a woman to shave her head, combine the hair with butter to form a giant hairball, and then eat it. Internet voyeurs could also see one guy chew on a piece of dog feces for Spurlock’s ready cash. Not surprisingly, the show featured an “Official Puke Bucket.” Incredibly, Spurlock said of Super Size Me that: “[People] need to start thinking about what they’re shoveling into their mouths.”
The “Cereal Killer” Category
Awarded to New York University professor Marion Nestle for insisting that 19-year-old college students aren’t smart enough to pick their own breakfast cereal. She stated: “It’s asking far too much of late adolescents to exercise that kind of choice.”
The “Pants on Fire” Category
Awarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for being forced to admit that their much-publicized claim that obesity kills 400,000 Americans every year was wildly exaggerated. A recently completed internal investigation has revealed that the CDC ran roughshod over its own scientists to support the phony number and then covered up the mistake. One skeptical CDC researcher even told Science magazine he feared that speaking out would cost him his job.
The “Breath Lock or Brain Lock?” Category
Awarded to New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who wants to put expensive, intrusive, (and ineffective) onboard alcohol breathalyzers in every car. If he gets his way, every New York resident would be guilty until proven innocent every time we get behind the wheel. And if Ortiz’s costly plan went into effect, the cost would reach $16 billion in the first year alone. That’s larger than the 2005 budget of either the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, or the Treasury Department.
The “Culinary Cruella DeVille” Category
Awarded to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, for anointing herself the “Food Czarina.” While this owner of a tarnished tiara finally bowed to common sense and let cupcakes back into Texas schools on special occasions, her edicts still forbid kids from sharing snacks such as gummy bears brought from home.
The “Wrong Casting Call” Category
Awarded to supermodel Sarah Jane, the world’s “most-downloaded woman,” for lending her image to PETA. While the activist group advocates an extreme vegetarian diet, Jane lists raw meat and lamb kidney among her favorite foods.
The “Biggest Loser” Category
Awarded to Yale professor and father of the “Twinkie tax” Kelly Brownell for continuing to deny the importance of personal responsibility while admitting his significant paunch comes from remaining inactive and snacking too much while writing a book about … (drum roll) obesity.
The “We Have No Recollection of That Event, Senator” Category
Awarded to the PETA-affiliated Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) for claiming this year that murder advocate and long-time spokesman Jerry Vlasak was not, in fact, a spokesman for the group. Yet he was listed as a PCRM spokesperson in a brochure for an animal-rights conference in which he chillingly supported the murder of humans to further animal rights, saying of doctors whose medical research requires the use of animals: “I don’t think you’d have to kill-assassinate-too many.” PCRM’s website still carries stories listing Vlasak as a representative (that is-until they read this!).
Click here to see a pdf version of the Tarnished Halos.