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Missing Parents: Media Continue Claiming Kids the Ones Buying Fast Food

Art Linkletter hosted ‘Kids Say the Darnedest Things’ and USA Today should create a new show called ‘Kids Buy the Darnedest Things.’


An August 13 USA Today story reported on proposed legislation in San Francisco that would ban toys from kids meals at chain restaurants unless the meals met stricter dietary guidelines. The story noted the fast food industry sold $5.5 billion worth of kids meals last year and that some national requirements, such as menu-labeling, started with locally enacted laws.


However, reporter Bruce Horovitz used standard liberal media consumer advocacy tropes. First, he interviewed Michael Jacobson, executive director of the left-leaning and media-beloved Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), who claimed “companies know it doesn’t work to advertise food to kids – they want the toy.”


Furthermore, Horovitz cited the liberal assumption that kids, not the parents, are the ones purchasing the meal.


“For each kid who buys a kids meal, there’s typically at least one parent—and often siblings – who make more profitable purchases.”


This is the oft-repeated liberal claim that kids are the ones ordering at the counter and are taking food from the “stranger in the playground,” as CSPI’s litigation director Stephen Gardner once claimed in a June 23, 2010 ABC report.


Not until the final paragraph did Horovitz interview someone opposing the legislation.


“’This is just another example of San Francisco taking a bad idea and making it worse," says Daniel Conway, spokesman for the California Restaurant Association. "This ordinance will put restaurant employees in the position of playing food police.’”


The media love championing CSPI and its attempts to promote government regulation on businesses, as MSNBC legal analyst Jennifer Bonjean attempted on the June 26, 2010 edition of MSNBC News live:


“Corporations left to their own devices will not self regulate,” she said of the fast food chains. “BP, Wall Street – those are all examples.”


CSPI is the media’ go-to for consumer reports, with the media promoting CSPI complaints on everything from movie popcorn to school lunches to fruits and vegetables. The media rarely acknowledges CSPI’s liberal leanings and, ironically, eat everything CSPI serves.

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