ABC Labels Litigious Food Police a 'Consumer Group'
ABCâ€™s Charlie Gibson promised his June 13 â€śWorld News Tonightâ€ť viewers a look at â€śwhy a leading consumer group has a bone to pick over the fat in KFC food.â€ť But that organization was none other than the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an anti-food industry group that has had a beef with everything from movie theater popcorn to soda pop.
â€śThe Center for Science in the Public Interest is taking KFC to court over the trans fat used to fry the chicken,â€ť Gibson noted as he introduced a segment by correspondent Elisabeth Leamy. â€śThe consumer group says trans fat is killing a lot of Americans.â€ť
Leamy began her story by pitting the fast food chicken chainâ€™s slogan against CSPIâ€™s harsh rhetoric. â€śKFC says we do chicken right, but the chain fries its food in oil loaded in trans fat,â€ť Leamy added, complaining of the partially hydrogenated oil the restaurant uses.
The ABC reporter then showed CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson blasting the food chain: â€śIf they had a conscience, they wouldnâ€™t use it,â€ť he charged.
Contrary to the â€śconsumer groupâ€ť label Leamy affixed to CSPI, her reporting made it clear Jacobsonâ€™s complaint wasnâ€™t with consumers being uninformed about health risks from trans fats, but with the consumersâ€™ choices to consume them nonetheless.
â€śKFC says it discloses its trans fat levels online and in each restaurant,â€ť Leamy conceded, but quickly added CSPIâ€™s rebuttal. â€śIn the hamburger chains, the trans fat is in the side dishes. At KFC, itâ€™s in the main course and some of the side dishes,â€ť Jacobson griped.
In a press release that began gleefully with the line â€śSee you in court, Colonel Sanders,â€ť Jacobson defended his lawsuit against Yum Brands, (NYSE: YUM) KFCâ€™s parent company.
â€śCSPI would far prefer the trans-fat problem be solved through voluntary action by restaurants or regulatory action by the FDA, but neither industry nor government has acted,â€ť he complained.
Leamy left out how CSPI has attacked KFC before over its advertising, nor did she bring in any legal experts critical of CSPIâ€™s litigation.
In May, the Business & Media Institute published two stories on how ABC and CBS papered over CSPIâ€™s litigious agenda.