ABC's Lisa Stark Pours Cold Milk on Advertising Trend
Whatâs next, a âDateline NBCâ sting operation to snag Toucan Sam?
Basing her story on a July 19 study by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation, ABCâs Lisa Stark offered the audience of the July 26 âWorld News Tonightâ a look at the âWild Westâ world of food marketing on the Internet geared to kids, complete with flashy games on company Web sites.
The Kaiser report found that âmore than eight out of ten (85%) of the top food brands that target children through TV advertising also use branded websites to market to children online.â
But rather than presenting the development as a safer Internet pastime for children then chatting with complete strangers or looking up pornographic Web sites, Stark suggested the advertising development is a danger to children that needs to be regulated.
âOn television, there are regulations on marketing to kids, a limit on the amount of ad time on a childrenâs show for example, but online, itâs wide open,â complained Stark, who went on to conclude her story lamenting the trend was âonly likely to get worse.â
To bolster her complaint, Stark trotted out Yale School of Healthâs Dr. David Katz to gripe that cereal Web sites are âthe Wild West of food advertising for childrenâ with âno rules out thereâ to control content.
Yet Starkâs expert is no dispassionate medical professional. The Yale doctor signed a petition circulated by the left-wing Center for a Commercial Free Childhood that attacked âpurveyors of junk foodâ for using âpublic schools as a platform for their marketing campaignsâ to âcorral a captive audience of impressionable children.â
Simply put, Katz attacked food companies for the âepidemicâ of fat kids, a decidedly liberal point of view that Stark failed to mention.
âWe think it is possible to be a responsible marketer and to provide some fun online for kids,â Daigler told ABC, before Stark rebutted.
âParents donât buy it,â Stark insisted, presenting mother Susan Wertheim as a spokeswoman for parents everywhere. âWho needs one more place, one more front that you have to tell your kid no, I didnât really want you to have Lucky Charms for breakfast today,â Wertheim complained.
ABC News is hardly alone in hyping marketing to kids as a health danger. On December 7, 2005, the Business & Media Institute recorded how CBSâs Julie Chen called cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePantsâs appearance on food packages as âvery powerful stuffâ that was ânot unlike, for example, Joe Camel.â