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Free Market Project

3/7/2006 12:50:21 AM

Updated 02/24/06

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CNN Unloads Double Portion of Bias
‘In the Money’ segment features uncritical plug of ‘Supersize Me’ star

By Ken Shepherd
Free Market Project

Nov. 28, 2005

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     Heaping up more one-sided coverage on the obesity issue, CNN’s “In the Money” touted a star of the anti-food-industry “Supersize Me” on November 26. 

     Christine Romans opened the segment with New York University dietician Lisa Young, who appeared on the program to plug her new book, “The Portion Teller: Smartsize Your Way to Permanent Weight Loss.” 

     Romans said that “you can’t hardly clean your plate anymore these days. Everything is so big.” Although the rest of the interview constituted a veiled attack on the food industry, no effort was made to balance out the interview with Young, an expert featured in Morgan Spurlock’s unbalanced anti-McDonalds documentary “Supersize Me.”

     Acting as though she had never seen a convenience store soda fountain before, the CNN anchor marveled at 64-ounce drink sizes and demanded of Young, “When did this happen?”

     This prompted Young to blame low food prices. “This happened really beginning mostly in the 1980s where we had a lot of money, we were producing more food and food is so cheap,” lamented Young, adding, “It's really such a cheap thing for the manufacturer … they charge you an extra quarter and you get twice as much or three times as much and at the end of day.”

     Co-hosts Romans and Andy Serwer then joined Young in blaming the FDA and food producers for “misleading” consumers on what constitutes a serving size, while co-host Susan Lisovicz blamed restaurants for responding to what their customers want.

     “We’ve really gotten addicted to these generous sizes,” complained Lisovicz. “Ruby Tuesdays apparently started limiting its portions on French fries and pasta and customers balked,” she added, noting customers “did not order that anymore so they went back and they started offering even less healthy choices.”

     The Free Market Project has previously documented media bias on the obesity issue, particularly focusing on incidents like this where the media portray the food industry in a negative light while downplaying personal responsibility.


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