Ding Dongs Don’t Kill People…

Image: Knight-Ridder Tribune

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With health advocates threatening to sue McDonald’s and impose “fat taxes” on snacks, what’s the junk-food industry to do? The answer: Borrow a page from the gun lobby’s playbook and launch a PR campaign to convince Americans that it’s not the food’s fault if you’re fat. Leading the charge is the Center for Consumer Freedom, an organization created to defend “the freedoms we hold dear, like nachos, Ding Dongs, and powdered-sugar doughnuts.” The center is using opinion pieces, magazine ads, websites, and talk shows to attack what it calls the “food police.”

Founded by Rick Berman, a longtime lobbyist for the food industry, the center won’t disclose its backers, but documents show that it has received at least $2 million from Philip Morris, maker of Oreos, Doo Dads, and Cheez Whiz. To beef up their presence in Washington, junk-food companies have also backed several other lobbying groups, including the American Council on Science and Health. As part of its mission to keep America fit, the council has issued a list of “summer tips for staying healthy.” Its title: “For Your Upcoming Picnic, Don’t Hold the Mayo.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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