No amount of spin can mask evidence on trans fat dangers

No one should be surprised to see hired gun Rick Berman deny that artificial trans fat is a dangerous, unnecessary ingredient in foods (K Street Insiders column, “The Third Leg of the Stool,” April 29). No matter that it puts him at odds with the Institute of Medicine, the American Medical Association, and other respected health authorities. He’s paid to variously downplay the dangers or downsides of trans fat, drunk driving, obesity, mercury in fish and even indoor tanning, and the obvious purpose of his op-ed was to look for more such clients.

But far from plowing new ground in public opinion lobbying, Berman’s business model is old hat. The front groups he has created, such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, can temporarily muddy the waters with a sophomoric ad or two, but quickly fade in credibility. Some companies clearly enjoy avoiding sullying their brand names by enlisting such front groups. Once in a while, a lazy reporter will fail to disclose that the Center for Consumer Freedom is funded by restaurants and food manufacturers. But any Hill staffer, reporter, or local health official who spends a few moments on Google can quickly figure out that there are no consumers behind the Center for Consumer Freedom.

To the extent there is a public opinion “war” on trans fat, Berman’s side has lost. It’s not that it’s all his fault; it’s just that no amount of paid spin can obscure the accumulated weight of the medical evidence linking artificial trans fat to heart disease and other health problems.

Washington


Ignoring Darfur

From Phil Reardon

While Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) were swaggering, guzzling beer and bowling, more children were likely being killed in Darfur. This is a crisis most needful of doers. Bills have been presented to watch this genocide, set aside funds, and even to act, but still there has been no action for years.

What has Hillary learned from our indifference to genocide? She failed more than 800,000 innocents brutally murdered in Rwanda. Children were killed while she knowingly stood by in the White House, never disclosing the truth of raging genocide. Bill Clinton stated during the genocide that Rwandans were not in our interest.

There is a crisis call again from Darfur for doers to decisively end these killings. Darfur children are in our highest interest. Which candidate will demonstrate leadership in nothing less than actually stopping this Darfur genocide?

Further, our senators will act decisively only if enough of us tell them to act. Our responsibility is to do what we can, to write each of them, and hold them accountable. Anything less by any one of us is a failure in indifference.

Gorham, Maine

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