“Hungry? Watch out, food in America is becoming increasingly suspect,” warned Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly as he introduced his top story for the December 11 “O’Reilly Factor.”
But in the interview segment that followed, O’Reilly turned to an activist from the liberal Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to give viewers advice on food preparation in the wake of a Taco Bell E. Coli outbreak.
O’Reilly himself issued a call for more government regulation, and he left out any mention of the CSPI’s liberal, pro-regulation agenda.
“If you’re going to depend on the federal government to defend you, you’re going to get sick, and maybe die,” O’Reilly lamented even as he suggested to CSPI’s Caroline Smith DeWaal that “maybe we should have more stringent law” to regulate the fruit and vegetables sold in American supermarkets.
Even so, “the government is not going to be able to regulate massive amounts of food going coast to coast,” O’Reilly insisted before asking DeWaal what consumers can do to protect themselves.
But while DeWaal’s went on to give tips to his audience about how to safeguard themselves from bacterial infection, O’Reilly left out how CSPI leans heavily in favor of government regulation as a solution to preventing food-borne illness.
In a November 2005 report, CSPI called for Congress to “pass legislation to form a unified, independent food-safety agency” with the power “to recall food from the market and to penalize companies that produce contaminated products.”
What’s more, while DeWaal avoided sounding the alarm for government regulation, she’s no stranger to political theatre.
“President Bush, don’t make us put our lives on the line every time we put meat on our plates,” DeWaal complained in a March 14, 2002, press statement that urged greater federal regulation of ground beef.
The Business & Media Institute has previously documented CSPI’s penchant for litigation as a means of changing public policy, a point the media frequently ignore.
“The judicial system can play an important role in spurring public health advances,” CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson argued in a May 3 press release. Yet the following morning on “The Early Show,” co-host Julie Chen failed to mention, much less question, CSPI’s use of lawsuit threats to achieve its aims.