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For Immediate

December 14, 2001


For More

Kim Miller
(202) 332-9110
ext. 322

Don’t let General Electric’s NBC Pollute Network Television Like General Electric Polluted the Hudson River

WASHINGTON - The Center for Science in the Public Interest today issued the following statement by George A. Hacker, Alcohol Policies Project Director, in response to NBC’s decision to undo five decades of responsible voluntary standards prohibiting hard-liquor advertising on broadcast television:

"By agreeing to accept liquor ads on network television, General Electric’s NBC network has succumbed to the same polluting mentality that it followed on the Hudson river. Except this time, its pollution takes more direct aim at America’s young people."

"NBC, a division of General Electric, is shirking its public interest responsibility as a broadcaster by putting its bottom line ahead of the health and safety of young people."

"That GE/NBC will now require liquor companies to sponsor responsibility messages for a few months is a meager sop that will disappear once liquor money really starts to flow. If GE/NBC were serious about promoting responsibility it would broadcast messages from public health experts about the consequences of alcohol use, not from liquor companies whose "responsibility" messages are just another form of brand advertising. The true measure of NBC’s responsibility is its longstanding failure to impose similar restrictions on ads for beer, which routinely feature themes, characters, music, humor, and hip partying scenes that blatantly beckon young people to drink."

"Other, more responsible broadcast networks should reject GE/NBC’s dangerous precedent. We will be promoting regulatory and legislative actions to reverse this expansion of alcohol marketing to young people, heavy drinkers, and others."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on alcohol policies, nutrition, and other issues. It led efforts to obtain the warning label on alcoholic beverages and nutrition labels on foods. CSPI is supported largely by the 800,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.

For more information see our background on broadcast liquor advertising.