Dan Mindus gives us the skinny on the hack who brought you the McDonald’s lawsuits:
Remember the 1993 side-impact crash fiasco on Dateline NBC? The Los Angeles Times called it “the biggest TV scam since the Quiz Scandals.” Unbeknownst to viewers, model rockets had been attached to the “side-saddle” gas tank of a GM pickup truck and set off by remote control to ensure an explosion during the collision.
Now the man who bragged that he was instrumental in staging the phony explosion has a new cause. As executive director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI), Ben Kelley is trying to turn America’s flab into trial lawyers’ next cash cow. PHAI arranged a June conference “intended to encourage and support litigation against the food industry.” On October 16, the Senate held a hearing on legislation that would squelch these obesity lawsuits, but Kelley’s cabal shows no signs of slowing down.
Amazingly, Kelley wrote in a Washington Post op-ed (subsequently picked up by several other major papers) that a model for his Big Food lawsuits “is found in the history of auto safety regulation and litigation.” He’s right, and the parallels are frightening. Aided by Kelley, trial lawyers are once again attempting to manipulate public opinion with a barrage of false images and misrepresentations. Their goal is to influence future jury pools and reap billions in settlements….
Thanks to cooked-up images on network television, trial lawyers expropriated millions from auto companies over phony safety problems. The Dateline episode exposed them with their hand in the cookie jar. But Kelley apparently feels no shame in now applying the same model ? a classic disinformation campaign ? against restaurants and food manufacturers.
Once again, his biggest obstacle isn’t the law. It’s public opinion. According to a Gallup poll conducted in July, just nine percent of Americans think fast-food restaurants should have to pay for their customers’ lack of self-control.
Nine percent?!? Nine percent?!? That means that there are over two million people in the U.S. that believe it’s McDonald’s fault for making other people fat. I’d be horrified if there were more than two hundred people who took this stance. My God. Yes yes, we’re going to get into the is/ought fallacy thingamabob, but what the hell happened to these people’s sense of personal responsibility?
And don’t get me started on the ambulance-chasing vampires who want to get in on that cash. It’s bad enough when the fabric of civilization begins to unravel, but these creatures have to take hold of it with both hands and rip.