Sunday, May 11, 2003

Step away from the Whopper...we've got you surrounded

I just love when governments browbeat companies into doing what they want them to. Case in point...last week, Tommy Thompson, the federal minister for health in the U.S., made noises that he would stomp on fast food companies that didn't crack down on the amount of fat that they pump out. It's the old "I'm not responsible for my own actions" idea. It was a bit dismaying to see Mr. Thompson play both Good Cop and Bad Cop at the same time.

In the wire story picked up by the Calgary Herald, he was a Taco Terminator:

"I'm going to start giving out awards and singling out ones that are doing good and the ones that aren't," he told reporters at a food policy conference. "If I get in trouble, I get in trouble."

Thompson specified PepsiCo Inc., Coca-Cola Co., McDonald's, Wendy's and Taco Bell as companies that could offer consumers healthier options and promote more sensible diets.

Meanwhile in the Washington Post story he was made to sound like the voice of sweet reasonableness. The contrast of the two stories is interesting.