McDonald's has been criticized by PR professionals for its response to the recent study by Stanford University School of Medicine and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital which found that young children preferred foods associated with the company's packaging. In a media statement (not available in its website), McDonald's spokesman Matt Riker tried to shift the focus away from the fast food giant, writing that "parents make the decisions for their children." PR consultant Eric Dezenhall opined that "you really can't attack a children's hospital." Instead, Dezenhall suggested the company should embrace the third party technique, using scientists or other experts to attack the study. Peter Sandman took the opposite tack, suggesting the company would be better off admitting its responsibility to children. The effect, he said, would be to "take the wind out of the sails of your critics by giving them some credit for the positive changes you've made."
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