Three years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported on Karden, an adorable puppet used in part to convince kids that gardening with sewage sludge was a fun activity for all ages. (Karden, of course, failed to explain that sewage sludge contains toxic and hazardous materials.) Well, move over Karden the sludge puppet, there's a new kid in town: Frank N. Foode, "your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism," who "help[s] make the science of biotechnology fun and approachable."
"The vitamin D in your milk ... is almost surely a derivative -- after many chemical stages -- from lanolin from Australian sheep wool, concocted in a factory in China. ... Vitamin A, is often synthesized from acetone, a principal ingredient in nail polish remover," notes George Kenney based on his interview with Melanie Warner, a former writer for the New York Times.
Have you ever wondered what labels like "humanely raised" and "cage free" mean when you're looking at a package of meat or eggs at the supermarket? Do corporations actually live up to the claims on the labels?
Flavored alcoholic beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade -- dubbed "alcopops" by public health advocates -- should be taxed at the higher rate of distilled spirits rather than as beer, according to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The lawsuit, Project Extra Mile v. Nebraska Liquor Control Comm., was brought by Nebraska taxpayers and nonprofit groups battling underage drinking. Now the Nebraska legislature is considering a bill, LB824, that would undo the state Supreme Court's decision.
The Center for Media and Democracy is asking Congress to reject a bill that could "open up everyone's cell phones, land lines, and business phone numbers, without their consent, to a flood of commercial, marketing and debt collection calls," according to a letter signed by the Center and a number of public interest groups. The Mobile International Call Act of 2011 amends the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a statute that regulates telemarketing and limits telephone solicitations and robo-calls. The bill purportedly makes sensible updates to the TCPA to allow consumers to be notified about fraud, appointment cancellations, drug recalls, late payments, and the like. However, other provisions of the bill would allow businesses to make pre-recorded robo-calls "for any commercial purpose that is not a solicitation." This applies to any consumer's cell phone, even for those that have placed themselves on the Do-Not-Call list. The bill also exempts modern automated predictive dialers from the TCPA, "permitting repetitive 'phantom' calls to cell phones doctor's offices, hospital rooms and pagers."
Today's teenagers are probably the most savvy generation yet when it comes to filtering out advertising, but that is no worry for junk food and drink companies who steadily deploy stealthier and more sophisticated interactive promotions that specifically target teens and exploit their emotional and developmental vulnerabilities. The newest generation of internet-based junk food promotions uses cutting edge marketing techniques with names like "augmented reality," "virtual environments" and "neuromarketing" -- the use of scientifically-devised digital marketing techniques that trigger teens' subconscious emotional arousal.
This year, the Susan G. Komen Foundation -- the nonprofit organization that created the corporate phenomenon of pinkwashing -- is hawking its own highly questionable pinkwashed product: a perfume called "Promise Me" that retails for $59.00 a bottle and reportedly contains chemicals, some of which are not listed on the label, that are a suspected hormone disruptor, a known neurotoxin and an anticoagulant banned for use in human food, respectively.
Businesses are seeking to cash in on the emotion generated by the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks by selling 9-11 related swag. The vintner Lieb Cellars released 9-11 commemorative bottles of wine priced at $19.11 per bottle, with "up to 10 percent" of the proceeds going to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Reebok is offering 9/11 commemorative sneakers and gloves, and a website called Ruby Lane is selling 9/11 commemorative cribbage boards with the words "Never Forget" emblazoned on them for $115. An assortment of 9-11 musical snow globes are for sale on EBay, including one that "features a revolving subway on the base of the globe that plays the theme of New York, New York when the globe is cranked." Consumers also need to be on the lookout for rip-offs involving the sale of 9/11 commemorative coins. A website cleverly named Govmint.com is charging a whopping $495 each for $1 Silver Eagle coins dated 2001 that it claims came from a vault that was dug up from under the rubble of the twin towers.