ABC, NBC Hype CSPI's Left-Wing Anti-Restaurant Study

The food police are at it again – attacking the restaurant industry under the premise the general public is too ignorant to determine what is healthy and what isn’t.

On May 11, both the “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” aired stories about the left-wing Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) new study, “Heart Attack Entrées with Side Orders of Stroke.” CSPI’s argument? The public is too naïve to determine high-sodium content dishes, so the government must step in and regulate in the name of saving government money in health costs.

“A well-known health group is out with a new warning about America’s most popular chain restaurants saying many of their meals have dangerous amounts of salt,” “World News” anchor Charles Gibson said. “The Center for Science in the Public Interest checked 102 meals and found 85 of them had more than a day’s worth of sodium.”

According to CSPI executive director and spokesman Michael Jacobson, salt is the most dangerous ingredient in the food supply. Jacobson put part of the blame for that on restaurants during the ABC segment. ABC and NBC both singled out the Red Lobster, Chili’s and Olive Garden chains in their segments – as spelled out in the press release for the CSPI study.

“As Americans think more about watching their weight, tonight one group suggests watching the salt, especially when eating out,” NBC correspondent Rehema Ellis said. “In a study released today, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group says, of 17 restaurant chains they looked at Chili’s, Olive Garden and [Red Lobster] – are three big offenders, serving meals loaded with sodium.”

ABC correspondent John McKenzie demonstrated how much salt was actually in meal, shaking the salt over and over onto his plate and claimed it would take a “half-a-minute’ to equal the amount of salt in one of the restaurant dishes he’d mentioned.

“Eating too much salt causes the walls of blood vessels, even the heart itself to gradually thicken,” McKenzie said. “But for some people even one salty meal can be dangerous.”

McKenzie suggested more labeling on menus to warn people of the salt content would appropriate, because otherwise “few people have any idea how much salt awaits them in that next restaurant meal.”

The NBC report, which included video of ambulances to suggest salt is truly dangerous, proposed government regulation.

“Tonight, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is pushing for the federal government to take control and limit sodium content in processed food and restaurant meals,” Ellis said.

CSPI has been campaigning against salt since 1978. The group has warned about the dangers of dozens of foods in past years including water, milk, bread, eggs and many others in addition to pushing a pro-regulation and taxation agenda.