Thursday, January 19, 2006

And now, from the "I'm going to blame mis-spelled words on my pencil" files and Yahoo! News

Sudiegirl sez: Ya know, when I first saw this, it made me think of a Larry the Cable Guy gag (paraphrased because my memory is like a sieve.)…”If someone can sue McDonald’s because their coffee is hot, I’ll sue Hustler for giving me carpal tunnel syndrome.” Truer words hath never been spoken…so I’ll do my thing and you do yours. Roll ‘em!

Nickelodeon, Kellogg Targets of Lawsuit
By LIBBY QUAID, AP Food and Farm Writer
Wed Jan 18, 5:30 PM ET

Advocacy groups and parents are suing the Nickelodeon TV network and cereal maker Kellogg Co. in an effort to stop junk food marketing to kids. (And this has been going on for HOW many years now? Yada yada yada.)

The plaintiffs are citing a recent report documenting the influence of marketing on what children eat. Ads aimed at kids are mostly for high-calorie, low-nutrition food and drinks, according to the government-chartered Institute of Medicine. (And this is SUDDENLY a new phenomenon, huh? My God…apparently whoever is spear-heading this study also just found out that humans breathe air, space travel is now a reality, and grass is green – except in my yard, where it’s brown.)

Wakefield, Mass., mother Sherri Carlson said she tries her best to get her three kids to eat healthy foods. (I don’t doubt that…if you don’t feed ‘em, someone takes ‘em away after a while.)

"But then they turn on Nickelodeon and see all those enticing junk-food ads," Carlson said. "Adding insult to injury, we enter the grocery store and see our beloved Nick characters plastered on all those junky snacks and cereals." (It ain’t just Nick, my friend…it’s Shrek, Scooby Doo, and other characters from TV and movies. Hell, even Sesame Street gets in on it! Why pick on just one entity? That’s half of children’s TV success – MARKETING!!!!)

Carlson and another plaintiff, Andrew Leong of Brookline, Mass., spoke at a news conference organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. (Uh-huh. You know the last time there was a commercial-free childhood? I think around the same time Columbus sailed in the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. It’s a part of life. )

They intend to sue Kellogg and Nickelodeon parent Viacom Inc. in state court in Massachusetts and served the required 30 days' notice on Wednesday. (How nice for them that they’re prompt! Too bad it won’t do them any good.)

"For over 30 years, public health advocates have urged companies to stop marketing junk food to children," said Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "Even as rates of childhood obesity have soared, neither Viacom nor Kellogg has listened." (OK, you’re officially annoying me, Ms. Linn. Kellogg and Viacom have a heck of a lot more going on than worrying about your little lawsuit. They have salaries and employees to pay, health codes to meet, etc. Get off it, buy your kids some Cheerios and ration the sugar. You can only control so much.)

Both companies said they have enduring commitments to healthy lifestyles. (I don’t doubt it, really…)

Nickelodeon spokesman Dan Martinsen said the kids' cable network has been a leader in helping kids and their families be more active and healthier and has pushed advertisers for more balance in their offerings. (I don’t doubt that either…Nickelodeon is very influencial on kids. Even if families don’t have cable, their kids still know all the Nick characters from movies and other things. It’s amazing.)

Kellogg spokeswoman Jill Saletta said the company is proud of its contributions to healthy diets and will keep educating people about good nutrition and exercise. (They’ve always done that…I remember the PSAs from when I was a child!)

A food industry-backed group defended the companies, saying the lawsuit assumes that parents can't turn off televisions, have no control over the food they buy and can't make their kids go outside to play. (THANK YOU! My point exactly. It’s a hell of a lot easier to blame companies than actually say “No” to your child, isn’t it?)

"Going out on a limb here, perhaps her (Carlson's) kids want these foods not because of ads, but because they're children," said Dan Mindus, spokesman for the Center for Consumer Freedom. (I’d have to agree with Mr. Mindus. I mean, there are very few children out there I know that turn down sweets or junk food. Even if their parents live an organic, junk food free lifestyle, the kids have friends or relatives that don’t, so they partake, they find it’s something they like, and then bug their parents for it. You might as well just drop a nuclear bomb on the whole earth because that’s the only way it’s going to stop!)

The lawsuit seeks to stop the companies from marketing junk food when 15 percent or more of the audience is 8 years old or younger. It targets not only commercials but Web sites, toy giveaways, contests and other marketing aimed at that age group. (OK, so I guess the Playboy channel is safe…)

CSPI said it had analyzed food advertising on Nickelodeon and during Saturday-morning TV shows as well as in magazines and food packages. The majority of the food ads involving both companies were for nutrition-poor foods, CSPI said. (It’s amazing how much you find when you’re subjective, huh?
On the Net:
Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

Sudiegirl’s final word?

It’s OK to say no to your kids, folks. I don’t think they’ll turn into snipers hiding out in bell towers ready to pick off every third person wearing a hat just because you told them they couldn’t have something they wanted. Life's kind of like that sometimes, and if you try to shape the world to fit you, you'll be highly disappointed.

Yours on a sugar high,