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For Immediate
Release:
December 14, 2001

For more information:
202/332-9110

  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 it’s 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.”