Stuffed Full of it: Top Five Food Police Turkeys

The media love a good food scare.

Turkeys just can’t catch a break. Somebody has finally made a film highlighting the gobblers’ annual Thanksgiving plight, and it was a paint-by-numbers politically correct animated clunker nobody wants to see. “Free Birds” depicted a ludicrous story of turkeys attempting to “get turkeys off the [Thanksiving] menu.”

Following the film’s Oct. 14 premier, members of the cast expressed a desire to refrain from eating turkey, with liberal actor George Takei saying “I’m sure the sale of turkeys next year is going to plummet.” Fellow star Amy Poehler suggested that, because she “got to pet a turkey,” she might serve tofurkey this year. After all, “Now I know a few things about turkeys!” Celebrities – is there anything they don’t know?

Unfortunately, not every wanna-be food cop is as inept as the people who brought you “Free Birds.” Every year, some activist or politician discovers a different common and well-loved food that will kill everyone if it isn’t banned. The portions are too big. Too much caffeine! Those ingredients are not all-natural! The ingredients used to replace the ingredients aren’t organic!

These would-be heroes of mankind are never out of crises, and never without sympathetic media to help push their agenda on a public they don’t believe can care for itself.

The Business and Media Institute monitors these food police throughout the year. In honor of Thanksgiving, we here are the Top Five Turkeys of 2013. Now pass the stuffing …

The Soda Jerk

Brainchild of business mogul and frustrated dietician Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the infamous New York City soda ban was implemented on Sept. 13 of last year, and overturned on March 11. The arbitrary and unworkable regulation barred some kinds of New York businesses (but not others) from selling sodas larger than 16 oz. Bloomberg claimed that this ban would help poor people, since they “don’t have the ability to take care of themselves.” The controversial ban garnered Bloomberg a sea of liberal media support.

Besides banning sugary drinks, salt and smoking within the Big Apple, Bloomberg founded Bloomberg L.P., which owns Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek. Nurse Bloomberg moved on from soda to trying to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  He co-founded and funds Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group he co-founded and funds as a much needed counterbalance to Mayors For Illegal Guns.

The Salad Fairy

With her Let’s Move initiative, first lady Michelle Obama wants kids to go outside and exercise, and who could be against that? (Well, besides conservatives, who lack the perception to read “regulating leisure time” among the federal government’s constitutionally enumerated powers.)

But Mrs. Obama’s campaign isn’t simply about using government funds to nag fat kids. It’s also a mechanism for instituting food bans, and the media were more than happy to let her promote her ideas for healthy school lunches. She’s a one-scold media juggernaut, with cameos and appearance on dozens of shows, and even her own healthy-themed hip-hop album. Back in February, Good Morning America gave Obama an eight and a half minute segment to do just that.

At the behest of Lets Move, incidents of abject culinary stupidity became commonplace (pancake breakfasts without syrup?), and an awful lot of salad fixings were tossed. When the USDA adopted strict nutrition standards for school lunches last year, Obama was hailed for her part in it. But when schools ended up having to drop the lunches because, like every parent before the dawn of time, they couldn’t get kids to eat their vegetables, the networks were silent on Obama’s complicity.

On Good Morning America on Aug. 28, anchor George Stephanopoulos allowed, "Schools across the country are dropping out of a federal program to curb childhood obesity because the kids just won't eat what they're served." Reporter David Kerley asserted that the "national school lunch program rolled just last fall to great fanfare." According to a student in Kentucky, the new lunches "taste like vomit."

According to The Blaze in July 2013, the cost of complying with Michelle Obama’s school lunch plan was estimated at $3.2 billion. That’s a lot of money for something that kids won’t even eat.

Incidentally, the FDA has proved it doesn’t need Michelle Obama or raps about food to mess things up. It continues to pass regulations implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which Obama signed into law in 2011. This sweeping legislation sought to overhaul food safety regulations but may end up heavily burdening farmers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition estimated in October 2013 that the law “could cost farmers over half of their profits.”

The Cheesy Comic

Nobody intones the grim warnings of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other anti-free market killjoys like news reader Brian Williams, host of NBC’s “Nightly News.” Williams promotes the food police’s word as law.

When two food bloggers launched an attack against Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, referring to an outdated study, and ABC and NBC were quick to rush to their aid.

NBC’s Brian Williams began “Nightly News” coverage of the petition by noting that the orange color given to macaroni and cheese by the food dyes was “a color normally worn by road crews.”

Maybe Williams should take a lesson from his time hosting SNL and making cameos on “30 Rock” and stick to comedy.

In fairness, Williams is far from the only CSPI press-release regurgitator. CSPI absurdly claimed in January 2013 that major restaurant chains are purposefully “promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.” CBS hyped this report, on Jan. 16, as coming from an industry “watchdog,” with no coverage of the restaurants’ rebuttals.

Poison in your Coffee

“It’s killing us, it’s killing our children.”

What? Radiation? Pollution? Small Pox? Soccer hooliganism? Nope. Big Soda.

Sure, a lot of people don’t like soda. But only Mike Brzezinski can get really unhinged about sweet carbonated beverages. On March 12, after Nurse Bloomberg’s large soda ban was struck down, Brzezinski ranted on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“It’s liquid sugar, and sugar is poison,” she spat, calling sugar “poison” four times in five minutes. To her, Bloomberg is a “visionary,” and the “American Beverage Association is relieved because they can continue to make money poisoning people.”

And you, dear consumer, have only yourself to blame for buying this “stuff” that encourages companies to “produce poison for you and your children.”

Al Roker (No joke. Just Al Roker.)

Al Roker was a lot more fun when he was fat. But now, free from the appetites he couldn’t keep in check, he’s certain you need daddy figures like Mike Bloomberg to control yours. The co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Roker is an outspoken supporter of Bloomberg’s micromaneagement of New Yorkers’ lives.

On Nov. 8, Roker said Bloomberg was “ahead of the curve.” “People have been giving Mayor Bloomberg a lot of flack, but, you know, there are certain things that he’s been ahead of the curve on.”

On June 17, Roker and Co-hosts Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales praised Bloomberg’s mandatory program to get New York City residents to sort out rotten food scraps from their garbage for composting. Roker claimed that the move was “not only good for the environment, but saves like millions of bucks.” And Al lost like, millions of pounds.

These are just the top five. Sadly, we could go on, because there’s never any shortage of busy-bodies, daddy figures and scolds who know better than you what’s good for you. Some of them even mean well, some just dislike freedom. Hopefully, none will be at your table this Thursday.

— Mike Ciandella is Research Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Mike Ciandella on Twitter.