Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anti-McDonald's Ad to Air in DC

Photo courtesy of WSJ.com
Washington City paper reports that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medecine (PCRM) will be airing an attack ad against McDonalds in DC, before rolling out the ad in other cities. PCRM is quoted by the Wall Street Journal, citing some interesting statistics about DC and fast food.

Most intriguing to me is the allegation that DC has the highest concentration of McDonald's, Burger King and KFC restaurants of any US city. Surely DC's geography must come into play here, but it's still a shocking claim. Really--more than NYC or LA? Wow.

I have to say though, I find the attack ad campaign (which cost the organization $7,000, by the way) a bit ridiculous. You can watch the video here, if you're interested. Personally, I think this kind of fear-mongering is hypocritical--people should make informed decisions about what they eat. Being too terrified to eat a chicken nugget because of something you saw on TV is just as bad as eating the chicken nugget because you saw it on a commercial while watching a King of the Hill rerun. Is this commercial informative? Vaguely. It's kind of hard to focus on the facts when you're having propaganda shoved down your throat (but hey, better than a Big Mac, right PCRM?).

PCRM also advocates a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants. If their proposal is anything like the one LA passed in 2008, I'm sure it would be predominantly focused on limiting fast food expansion in DC's poorest neighbhorhood. Right. Because that's what DC's poor neighbhorhoods need. For us to limit the availability of new jobs and restrict the potential for tax revenue.

Yes I realize that a disproportionate number of low-income Americans are overweight or obese. But policy like that offends me because you're basically saying--OK, poor person. You're clearly not smart enough to make this choice yourself, so I'm taking the option away. Instead, why not propose tax credits or other incentives to encourage healthier restaurants in these areas? Part of the reason there's only unhealthy fast-food restaurants in poor neighborhoods is because other restuarants don't find it economically viable. Economic incentives change that, give people options--and, newsflash, change a culture by familiarizing people with new options.

Educate people about their decisions, let them make their choices and move on, PCRM.

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