CAFTA Gets Help From An "Unbiased" News Source: USDA

If you haven't had a chance to review today's eHealthy News You Can Use newsletter (if you aren't a subscriber to my free newsletter, consider the many benefits readers from more than 200 countries enjoy three times a week), you'll want to review the article I posted about the powerful sugar lobby, the major opponent of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Seems the controversial trade agreement has had a big promotional boost -- in the form of 36 radio and TV reports -- produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Even worse, those reports were often used verbatim and largely by smaller radio stations with tiny news staffs and even tinier resources under the guise of objective news.

Although the USDA defends the practice -- the reports are clearly identified as being generated by the agency -- those disclaimers typically appear at the end, and are left on the cutting room floor in some cases as some stations attempt to claim them as their own work.

If this sounds a lot like a waste of tax dollars -- and ammunition to ruin your health -- by urging people to get flu shots even though they don't need them, or contradicting its own food pyramid advice for the sake of a powerful lobbying group, I suspect you're right. That's why I always caution you to consider the source of information carefully for the sake of your health and that of your family.

Chicago Tribune June 16, 2005 Registration Required

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