The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a small advocacy group that last fall successfully got the Disney Company to offer full refunds to people who had purchased the company's "Baby Einstein" videos, which were supposed to make very young children into geniuses. But research found that Baby Einstein videos not only failed to make babies smarter, but they actually delayed language development in toddlers. Kids who watched the videos learned fewer words than babies who never watched them. In 2006, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood complained to the Federal Trade Commission about Disney's educational claims about the videos. As a result, Disney dropped the word "educational" from their marketing materials for the videos, but that wasn't enough. Lawyers threatened a class-action lawsuit for deceptive practices unless Disney agreed to refund the purchase price to everyone who had bought the videos. Disney finally agreed to the refund, calling it an "enhanced consumer satisfaction guarantee," without mentioning the product's defect or the lawyers' demands. Shortly after the New York Times announced the refunds, though, Disney contacted officials at the children's mental health center that had long housed and sponsored the Campaign, and pressured them to evict the Campaign, saying the group should not advocate against corporations (even though advocacy is a core responsibility of the 1963 law that provides federal financing for community mental health centers).
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