PDF Version

NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: April 5th, 2002

Nader, Doctors Ask Surgeon General Nominee: Will You Protect Kids or Corporations?

Ralph Nader, Commercial Alert, health professionals and child advocates sent a letter today to Dr. Richard Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General nominee, inquiring of his views on child health issues related to media violence, television, alcohol, tobacco, junk food and in-school advertising.  The letter follows.

Dear Dr. Carmona:

Congratulations on your nomination to be the next Surgeon General of the United States. 

Protecting the health of our nationís children must be a top priority for every Surgeon General.  Parents and children across the country need their Surgeon General to be courageous enough to promote childrenís health, even if it conflicts with the interests of industries with considerable political power.

Before the Senate confirmation process begins, we wish to get a sense of how you would handle some of these child health issues.

Television & media violence. A recent study by Jeffrey Johnson of Columbia University found a link between television viewing during adolescence and adulthood, and aggressive acts, including violent crime, committed later in life. In a joint statement, The American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association have written thatwell over 1000 studies...point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.

1.  Do you agree that the amount of violent entertainment that children watch is a serious problem?

2. Do you agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents shouldavoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years?

3. Will you make it a high priority during your tenure to urge parents to reduce the amount of television that children watch?

Alcohol.  As you know, alcohol is a major cause of death among teenagers, contributing to motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, suicide, date rape, and family, school and other problems. Following intense public pressure, NBC recently backed off its plan to broadcast liquor advertisements.

4. Do you oppose the broadcasting of liquor advertisements on television or cable TV?

Tobacco. Each day, about three thousand children become smokers in the United States.  About one-third of them will have their lives cut short from tobacco-related illness.

5. Do you support the Justice Departmentís current civil lawsuit against the tobacco industry?

6. Do you support increasing the federal tax on cigarettes?

7. What will you do to reduce the amount of tobacco advertising and marketing that targets children and teenagers in the United States?

Junk food and soda pop.  Children are suffering from skyrocketing levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Under the compulsory education laws, children are required to attend school.  But increasingly, our nationís public schools have been converted into marketing showcases for high-calorie junk food and soda pop.  For example, Primediaís Channel One shows a parade of ads for soda pop and junk food to eight million students each school day.

8. Will you encourage our nationís public schools not to market junk food and soda pop to children, and to get rid of Primediaís Channel One?

Sincerely,

Enola Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values
Craig A. Anderson, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University
Karl Anderson, MD, Professor, Depts. of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Internal Medicine, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Univ. of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens’ Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Bettye M. Caldwell, PhD, Past President, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Education, Lesley University
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas
Cathey E. Falvo, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, New York Medical College; Program Director, International & Public Health, School of Public Health, NYMC
Gilbert L. Fuld, MD, former member, Board of Directors, American Academy of Pediatrics
Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
Sut Jhally, PhD, Founder and Executive Director, The Media Education Foundation
Carden Johnston, MD, FAAP, FACEP, FRCP, Chair, Commercialism in the Classroom Task Force, Alabama Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics
Timothy J. Kasser, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Knox College
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor of Public Health & Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Yale Prevention Research Center
Joe Kelly, Executive Director, Dads and Daughters
Rebecca T. Kirkland, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Academic General Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard University
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College
Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Dana Mack, author, The Assault on Parenthood
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, Chief of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
William J. McCarthy, PhD, Adj. Associate Professor of Psychology, UCLA
Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Adjunct Professor, School of International Service, American University
Ralph Nader
Peggy OíMara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center
Michael Rich, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Donald L. Shifrin, MD, FAAP, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine
Victor Strasburger, MD, Professor & Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine
Steven Sussman, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology, University of Southern California
Frank Vespe, Executive Director, TV-Turnoff Network
Patience H. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Children’s National Medical Center
Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH, Chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Margo N. Woods, DSc, Associate Professor of Community
Health, Tufts University School of Medicine
<-----letter ends here------>

A copy of the letter is available in .pdf format at http://www.commercialalert.org/
releases/carmona.pdf
.

Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.  Commercial Alertís website is at http://www.commercialalert.org.

-30-

PDF Version

NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: April 5th, 2002

Nader, Doctors Ask Surgeon General Nominee: Will You Protect Kids or Corporations?

Ralph Nader, Commercial Alert, health professionals and child advocates sent a letter today to Dr. Richard Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General nominee, inquiring of his views on child health issues related to media violence, television, alcohol, tobacco, junk food and in-school advertising.  The letter follows.

Dear Dr. Carmona:

Congratulations on your nomination to be the next Surgeon General of the United States. 

Protecting the health of our nationís children must be a top priority for every Surgeon General.  Parents and children across the country need their Surgeon General to be courageous enough to promote childrenís health, even if it conflicts with the interests of industries with considerable political power.

Before the Senate confirmation process begins, we wish to get a sense of how you would handle some of these child health issues.

Television & media violence. A recent study by Jeffrey Johnson of Columbia University found a link between television viewing during adolescence and adulthood, and aggressive acts, including violent crime, committed later in life. In a joint statement, The American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association have written thatwell over 1000 studies...point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.

1.  Do you agree that the amount of violent entertainment that children watch is a serious problem?

2. Do you agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents shouldavoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years?

3. Will you make it a high priority during your tenure to urge parents to reduce the amount of television that children watch?

Alcohol.  As you know, alcohol is a major cause of death among teenagers, contributing to motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, suicide, date rape, and family, school and other problems. Following intense public pressure, NBC recently backed off its plan to broadcast liquor advertisements.

4. Do you oppose the broadcasting of liquor advertisements on television or cable TV?

Tobacco. Each day, about three thousand children become smokers in the United States.  About one-third of them will have their lives cut short from tobacco-related illness.

5. Do you support the Justice Departmentís current civil lawsuit against the tobacco industry?

6. Do you support increasing the federal tax on cigarettes?

7. What will you do to reduce the amount of tobacco advertising and marketing that targets children and teenagers in the United States?

Junk food and soda pop.  Children are suffering from skyrocketing levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Under the compulsory education laws, children are required to attend school.  But increasingly, our nationís public schools have been converted into marketing showcases for high-calorie junk food and soda pop.  For example, Primediaís Channel One shows a parade of ads for soda pop and junk food to eight million students each school day.

8. Will you encourage our nationís public schools not to market junk food and soda pop to children, and to get rid of Primediaís Channel One?

Sincerely,

Enola Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values
Craig A. Anderson, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University
Karl Anderson, MD, Professor, Depts. of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Internal Medicine, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Univ. of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens’ Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Bettye M. Caldwell, PhD, Past President, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Education, Lesley University
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas
Cathey E. Falvo, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, New York Medical College; Program Director, International & Public Health, School of Public Health, NYMC
Gilbert L. Fuld, MD, former member, Board of Directors, American Academy of Pediatrics
Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
Sut Jhally, PhD, Founder and Executive Director, The Media Education Foundation
Carden Johnston, MD, FAAP, FACEP, FRCP, Chair, Commercialism in the Classroom Task Force, Alabama Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics
Timothy J. Kasser, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Knox College
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor of Public Health & Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Yale Prevention Research Center
Joe Kelly, Executive Director, Dads and Daughters
Rebecca T. Kirkland, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Academic General Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard University
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College
Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Dana Mack, author, The Assault on Parenthood
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, Chief of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
William J. McCarthy, PhD, Adj. Associate Professor of Psychology, UCLA
Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Adjunct Professor, School of International Service, American University
Ralph Nader
Peggy OíMara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center
Michael Rich, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Donald L. Shifrin, MD, FAAP, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine
Victor Strasburger, MD, Professor & Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine
Steven Sussman, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology, University of Southern California
Frank Vespe, Executive Director, TV-Turnoff Network
Patience H. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Children’s National Medical Center
Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH, Chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Margo N. Woods, DSc, Associate Professor of Community
Health, Tufts University School of Medicine
<-----letter ends here------>

A copy of the letter is available in .pdf format at http://www.commercialalert.org/
releases/carmona.pdf
.

Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.  Commercial Alertís website is at http://www.commercialalert.org.

-30-