March 12, 2013

Rent-a-Minority Inc.

From the NYT:
Minority Groups and Bottlers Team Up in Battles Over Soda

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

The decision by a New York State judge striking down the Bloomberg administration’s ban on large, sugary drinks this week was not just a high-profile victory for the soda companies in their pitched battle against anti-obesity policies that are aimed at their products. It was also a victory for the industry’s steadfast, if surprising, allies: advocacy groups representing the very communities hit hardest by the obesity epidemic.

There shouldn't be anything too "surprising" about the Rent-a-Minority business, no more than Henry Cisneros being the Hispanic face of Countrywide Financial. Similarly, the tobacco companies poured a lot of money into minority groups before their legal defeat in the 1990s. It's just that The Narrative gets in the way of people noticing it, just as The Narrative encourages it.

Also, much of what we remember about the past is due to which subjects are deemed worthy of rehashing because they Fit the Narrative. For example, here's a 1987 NYT article mentioning all the Big Tobacco money accepted by civil rights and feminist organizations. But, that's not the kind of topic that gets dredged up on its anniversary.
Dozens of Hispanic and African-American civil rights groups, health advocacy organizations and business associations have joined the beverage industry in opposing soda regulation around the country in recent years, arguing that such measures — perhaps the greatest regulatory threat the soft-drink industry has ever faced — are discriminatory, paternalistic or ineffective.
Many of these groups have something else in common: They are among the recipients of tens of millions of dollars from the beverage industry that has flowed to nonprofit and educational organizations serving blacks and Hispanics over the last decade, according to a review by The New York Times of charity records and other documents. 

The beverage business, in particular, has a long history of this. I can recall after the Al Campanis brouhaha in the 1980s, sportswriters called on baseball teams to hire Joe Morgan as a manager. But Morgan, as a black Republican (an old friend of George H.W. Bush going back to their days in Houston in the mid-1960s), instead got to buy a Coors bottling company as part of that Republican-owned company's innoculation of itself against charges of racism for being Republican. As Morgan sensibly explained, you don't get to leave a big league manager's job to your son in your will.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...arguing that such measures — perhaps the greatest regulatory threat the soft-drink industry has ever faced — are discriminatory, paternalistic or ineffective."

And they are. Pointing and spluttering won't change that.

NOTA said...

The soft drink bans are paternalistic, *and* the ethnic interest groups are on the take. There is no contradiction between these two statements.

ben tillman said...

Similarly, the tobacco companies poured a lot of money into minority groups before their legal defeat in the 1990s.

They didn't suffer a legal defeat. They agreed to a deal with the States despite the lack of legal merit to the States' claims.

Big Bill said...

Mega real estate mogul Ratner bought of ftoken minority groups to agitate for his Atlantic Yards redevelopment project in New York City.

On the Left Coast, Fleet Bank and Wells Fargo bought off ACORN (ACORN Housing, Inc.) to pimp their junk mortgages to poor folks during the boom.

Google "ACORN loans".

It seems the way to get ahead is either to (1) create an astroturf green/gay/feminist/black group, or (2) coopt an existing group with a pile of cash.

Jesse and Al may have pioneered the tactic, but corporations have learned to use it with some frequency to get corporate welfare.

www.Salon.com, for example just published a press release from some corporate green/social justice shill group hyping the desperate need to spend half a trillion dollars to upgrade schoolhouses all across the nation. You know the drill: "think of the poor minority children!"

No connection between $1000 triple-glazed windows and the educational attainment of black children has ever been shown, but Joan Walsh at Salon printed it without comment.

I hate to say liberals are knee-jerk, but they sure act that way. They are remarkably unreflective once you punch their social justice buttons.

Anonymous said...

Heh, but nobody ever wonders if DuPont was funding environmentalists in the lead up to the CFC ban.

countenance said...

The Rent-a-Minority foolishness exists on both sides of this soda non-troversy. The Bloomberg types are whining about the disparate impact of obesity on minorities, while, like you say in this blog post, the beverage industry is throwing up token minorities to whine about the disparate impact of banning large soda size cups on minorities.

Londoner said...

"Hit hardest" - file alongside "vibrant".

Anonymous said...

If you ever heard Joe Morgan broadcast you would understand the saying "There are only two types of Baseball managers those that are sacked ands those that are about to be sacked."

helene edwards said...

Joe Morgan had the most memorably idiotic broadcasting call I ever heard. On a Dodgers-Reds game in 1995 he said, "the Dodgers seem to play better when they're hitting the ball out of the park." And I don't think he went Republican because of Mr. Bush. If he voted Republican at all before Obama, it was because he owned liquor stores in Oakland.

Otis McWrong said...

OT but about 10 years ago I was playing in a fund-raiser golf tournament at Spanish Bay and Joe Morgan was in the group behind mine. The tourney had something on every hole – a bar, taco stand, take a picture with some cheerleaders – so there was a lengthy wait on every tee. Consequently our group (our “celebrity” was a one-time 49’ers backup QB that was fairly famous in the Bay Area) had to interact with Morgan every 20 minutes or so. He talks non-stop and with no concern for whether anybody is listening. Nice enough guy but “transmit-only” like a radio station.

After about 5 holes our group had a running joke based on what nonsense Morgan would be blabbering about on the next tee and we decided to see if we could throw him off. Our ex-QB interrupted Joe’s monologue asking “Joe, who played center field on those Big Red Machine teams” and Morgan answered “Cesar Geronimo” and went back to his monologue.

It devolved into:
Ex-QB: “are you sure it wasn’t Ken Griffey Jr?”
Morgan: “no it was Geronimo”
Me: : “I think it was Al Bumbry”
Morgan: “No it was Geronimo”
Another guy: “I’m pretty sure it was Al Kaline”
Morgan: “No it was Geronimo”
Ex-QB: “I seem to remember Johnny Unitas out there a lot in those days”
Morgan, now suspicious: “No, it was definitely Geronimo..anyway, what I was saying about…”
Another Guy: “Joe, are you sure it wasn’t Mickey Mantle”?
Morgan, still blabbering: “No it was Geronimo”
Another Guy: "I think Rock Hudson played there sometimes"
Morgan: "It was Geronimo"
Ex-QB: “I seem to remember [said his own name]”
Morgan: “Oh you guys have been hitting the sauce huh? Anyway, as I was saying...”

It was both hilarious and bizarre. Getting Morgan to shut up was like stopping a freight train by waving your arms at it: utterly futile

Gnosis Sisong said...

Who can ever forget the cataclysmic moment when Rosa Parks said ... "Supersize me!"

Anonymous said...

They just picked a new pope, and the only info about him from the Times and other news outlets is that he is from Latin America, that he is pro-life and anti-gay marriage. I'd like to know if he is conservative or liberal *for a high-ranking Catholic clergyman*. I kind of knew that whoever it was would be pro-life and anti-gay marriage. And what about reporting on his intellectual and administrative chops.

This guy is going to help run the world for the next 10 or 20 years, and we aren't given any info on his past decisions, accomplishments or his leadership style. You know, stuff that might indicate his goals and how well he'll run things. I challenge any isteve reader to link to any news story about this guy from today that isn't pure fluff.

Anonymous said...

Search on Jesse Jackson Beer

What's odd is it matters. Why would the NAACP's opinion of soft drink size matter?

Anonymous said...

Minorities are the ones who want the big drinks, so...what did you think was untoward about this?

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bloomberg is paternalistically exercising unearned white skin privilege by implicitly criticizing the dietary choices of historically oppressed (but vibrant) People of Color. Fortunately, there was an African-American judge, Judge Tingling, available to address Bloomberg's failure to unpack his privilege knapsack; as Justice Sotomayer might say, the decision of a wise Black judge is superior to that of a white male mayor.

Is it not racist to obstruct People of Color who want a gallon of soda to wash down their bacon triple-cheeseburgers and French Fries? If someone wants to eat a diet consisting only of twelve triple bacon cheeseburgers, six super-sized containers of French Fries, and a gallon of soda each day, so be it. It is "Their body, [it is] Their choice."

To further reduce the dominance of the oppressive white male patriarchy, I would advocate ending the ban on marijuana. The appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis could only benefit oppressed minorities living in so-called “food deserts” who are forced to subsist only on a meager, calorie-deficient, diet of jumbo-sized cheese and meat burritos, Coca-Cola, Big Gulps, double bacon cheeseburgers, malt liquor, Doritos, and French Fries. Doubling their intake of such foods could only raise their weight, blood sugar levels, and serum cholesterol. Oh, the shame of living in a country where people eat such low-calorie food just to survive.

/sarc

(Seriously, when the Clinton and Bush administrations tried to promote healthier dietary choices, the Left carried on as to how it was an exercise in "White privilege," "male privilege," and "cultural imperialism" for "Whites" to tell women and People of Color how to eat. A “womyn (sic),” after all, knows what is best for their body. Some even ranted on that these recommendations were evidence of fascism.

O.k. If someone wants their super-sized soda and triple bacon cheeseburgers, they should get their super-sized soda and triple bacon cheeseburgers. Treating their ensuing health problems will help keep many people employed, at least until their premature death from heart disease, diabetes, etc. And I don't have to read articles about how all White people are racist because someone was unable to buy their super-sized soda to go with their triple bacon cheeseburgers.)

Cail Corishev said...

They just picked a new pope, and the only info about him from the Times and other news outlets is that he is from Latin America, that he is pro-life and anti-gay marriage. I'd like to know if he is conservative or liberal *for a high-ranking Catholic clergyman*.

Yeah, it's pretty funny to watch. The talking heads seem to assume that the Church hierarchy parallels American politics, with a lot of liberals and some conservatives, and when a conservative like Reagan/Benedict gets elected, it's an aberration that surely will be corrected next time.

They don't get that all the Catholic clergy who are anywhere near the papacy, even the ones whom orthodox Catholics consider liberal, are pro-life, anti-homosexualist, anti-womyn-priests, etc. Every single one. There was never any chance that this pope would be less than 100% pro-life, etc., and there's no chance that the next one will be either.

In the context of the papacy, liberal/conservative applies to things these people don't have a clue about, like whether the pope will participate in ecumenical prayer services that his predecessors would have considered heretical. Boring stuff like that, that TV people don't understand and wouldn't care about if they did.

Galactic Overlord said...

Steve, you were mentioning Joe Morgan... I can't remember where I saw it, but I clearly recall reading that at the same time all of the PC press was calling on MLB to hire Morgan, he was on record saying he wanted no part of being a manager.

David said...

I wants my Big Gulp and you raciss ain't gonna tell me that I can't have it! (Now please make the check payable to my trust manager in Georgetown; thank-you ever so much.)