CBS Obesity Report Trims Opposing Views
Trish Reganâs âOverweight in Americaâ report investigated a possible âscientific reasonâ for overeating on Nov. 30, but kept the story light on balance.
âEver wonder why we seem to crave most, the food thatâs worst for us? Could it be that we literally canât resist it?â Regan asked as images of fast food restaurants, pastries and ice cream flashed across the screen. Then Regan interviewed Ann Kelley, a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin who told âEvening Newsâ viewers that âfood is like a drug.â
Kelley has been studying the effects of drugs and sweets on rats for the past 10 years, and her comments were followed up by a lawyer who wants to take the addiction ideas to court.
âThis could be the smoking gun. We could say that fat is the next tobacco,â said John Banzhaf of the George Washington University Law School, best known for his crusading lawsuits against the tobacco companies. Regan explained that Banzhaf wants to âgo after fast food companiesâ and has already been involved in lawsuits that âresulted in settlements or industry changes.â
Banzhaf said he thinks if fast food companies had to clearly disclose fat and calorie information and provide âappropriate health warningsâ it will immediately and dramatically impact âthe overall problem of obesity.â
Regan then tried to provide some balance to her report by quoting Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health, an adviser to the Business & Media Institute. âWhen you say a food is addictive,â said Whelan, âwhat youâre really saying is that the obese person is a victimâŚthatâs abandoning individual responsibility.â
But Whelanâs comments took a mere 10 seconds of the broadcast, a third of the time taken with Banzhafâs comments and Reganâs explanation of what the lawyer wants to do about fast food companies.
KFC, Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Arbyâs logos were all distinguishable during the broadcast. Despite that, Regan neglected to speak with any food companies about the cost impact of changes Banzhaf wants to see.