KILLS PSA’S ALERTING PARENTS TO THE BENEFIT OF BREAST FEEDING OVER FORMULA
Far too often, lately, it becomes necessary for us to to use our not-so-bully pulpit to call attention to injustices, large and small, being fostered on “We the People” by corporate America and their friends in the Bush administration.
The recently uncovered 2004 battle between the deep-pocketed, baby formula industry and the next generation of American children is one of those times.
The point of contention, here, was a proposed series of attention-grabbing public service announcements alerting mothers-to- be, and parents of new born children to what scientists now know to be true, that breast fed children have healthier immune systems and avoid many diseases later in life that plague children who were formula fed in their first years of life.
The federally funded PSA’s, originated by the Department of Health and Human Services, by design were graphic in their imagery, featuring photos of insulin syringes and asthma inhalers topped with rubber pacifier-like nipples.
This sort of imagery was necessary in our 24-hour information-overload world to insure that this all-important message cut through the layers of clutter and reached its target audience - non-English speakers and multitasker’s too busy to give any long-winded, scientific treatise serious thought.
Unfortunately, they never got to see this campaign, and we have the overzealous boys and girls of the baby-formula industry and their friends in high places to that for that.
The mere thought of women nursing their babies as women have done since the dawn of time, sent chills down the spine of the baby-formula industry. Rather than chance loosing any of their precious profits, they did what other greedy corporate bastards have done since the latter part of the last century, and got on the horn to their bought-and-paid-for beltway allies, and guess what? Bye-bye ads, hello formula.
It was the contention of the baby-formula industry that the campaign had to be pulled because if it were allowed to run as is, it would terrorize women (I’m guessing they mean poorer, less educated women) into breast-feeding, for fear of what the alternative could mean to their children later in life.
The fact that breast-feeding was healthier didn’t matter at all. What did matter was what the companies stood to loose in decreased sales of baby formula.
Ultimately, what ran in place of the original campaign was a timid, non-threatening version, distracting in its images, and so vague as to be totally ineffective. Which is precisely the status quo that the baby-formula industry wanted.
Jump forward three years to today, and formula is still jumping off of store shelves. The toll that this will exact in the future is unknown. What is known is that the formula industry will shed no tears when the data comes home to roost and people start getting sick. Mark my words, the very same people behind this sham against the American people, at that point in the future, will be pushing their elected officials to do away with any health benefits or so-called “entitlements” that might exist at that time.
This sort of corporate irresponsibility is reprehensible. It is a fraud against America and her citizens. But it is just one of many allowed by George Bush and his cronies on K-Street, the nation’s ground-zero for lobbyists.
The only good news in this instance – and I’m not sure how good that is - is that our, to now, neutered Congress has pledged to look into this matter.
Does that mean that this wrong will be righted and the baby-food industry held accountable? I don’t think so.
In the intervening three years since this occurred, the administration’s pitiful little vanity war has eaten up much of the funds that, in a more perfect world, would be rightfully earmarked to educating our fellow Americans about matters such as this, critical to themselves and their families.
Moreover, if the Bush administration continues to have it’s way, poorer women will be forced to return to having their children in their homes attended by friends, and if they are lucky, a midwife, as many of the hospitals that they go to today, will have been forced to close for lack of funds.
Competent Medical care ,at that point in time, will have become a privilege and not a right.
READ THE WHOLE STORY AFTER THE JUMP