CNN Loves Internet Regulation Like a Fat Kid Loves Cake

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta found another explanation for why Junior is rolling round the family room with a spare tire: food advertising on the Internet.

It gets better. The study he's citing is 6 months old and hails from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. What's more, Gupta didn't give any tips for parents about how to regulate their kids Internet use and only gave 6 seconds to an advertising industry spokesman for comment.

Sounds like Dr. Sanjay has a fever, and the only prescription is bigger government.

See my article here.

And no, unlike CBS's Dr. Emily Senay, Gupta avoided the left-wing SpongeBob SquarePants=Joe Camel line.

UPDATE: I put together clips from Gupta's story, as clips from ABC's "World News" and CBS's "The Early Show" that display similar biases. You can find that video here (Windows Media) and here (Real Player).

CNN’s in-house doctor used his “Fit Nation” story to hype a
6-month-old study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“As we look at the
problem of childhood obesity, and as we look at the possible role of food
marketing … we need to be sure we’re looking at online food marketing to kids,”
insisted Kaiser’s Vicky Rideout, pointing to her group’s July 19, 2006, study
that suggests candy and cereal Web sites featuring online games aggravate the
nation’s “obesity epidemic” among children.

Rideout’s prescription for the outbreak of pudgy kids
hunched over the keyboard seemed to point to government regulation.

“The Internet is potentially way more powerful than
television advertising ever dreamed of being, but it’s also way more
challenging in terms of any kind of oversight,” Rideout added.

Of course, computers and cable modems have off buttons and
software exists for parents to block unwanted Web sites. And of course most
young children rely on their parents for food shopping or allowance money they
might use to buy snacks.

Yet rather than giving parents practical advice to get their
kids more physically active and less reliant on Internet games, Gupta lamented
a lack of government regulation of the Internet.

“Where television ads
are regulated in length, Internet ads for now are only regulated voluntarily,”
Gupta noted, before tossing in a 6-second sound bite from industry spokesman
Daniel Jaffe.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.