In today’s POLITICO (the daily newspaper for the professional political set) Marion Nestle and two fellow “preventive medicine” — the P.R.-approved name for food police — researchers expressed outrage that a Congressman would dare to suggest restricting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) propaganda slush fund. They claim that forbidding the CDC from “educating” the public about the horrors supposedly caused by foods and beverages would be horrible.
They neglect to acknowledge the Congressman’s more important points: Not all the grants went for true education about choices. Some may have gone to backhanded lobbying for policies most Americans don’t support. Evidence suggests that the CDC took money allocated to it by the fiscal stimulus and gave it to local authorities to push states and local governments to impose steep taxes on soft drinks.
Even the supposedly “educational” spending often went to propagandistic attack ads rather than factual information. Federal taxpayers subsidized gross-out ads that put safe, legal products in the cross-hairs. (New York City’s scientifically dubious anti-soda ads were among them.)
The CDC’s campaign proved not to be about putting the facts before the public and letting people make responsible decisions (or accept the consequences of irresponsible ones). Instead it became agenda-driven activism, and until the CDC learns the difference it might just need to told the difference by the people’s representatives.