ShareThis Page
Couric vs. FLOTUS in statist food fight |
Featured Commentary

Couric vs. FLOTUS in statist food fight

| Saturday, February 1, 2014 9:00 p.m

First lady Michelle Obama is the patron saint of healthier kids. She launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign and the National School Lunch Program to get youngsters to eat more healthful, more nutritious food.

She has appeared on numerous television shows and magazine covers pressing the message that kids ought to stop eating junk, get up from the TV or video screen and get moving. And she’s put all public school kids on a diet (whether they need it or not), limiting their caloric intake to a degree remarkably similar to prison inmates’. So who could possibly impugn the good work to which Mrs. Obama has dedicated the last five years of her life?

Former CBS news anchor Katie Couric, who is promoting her new project, a biased documentary on the food industry titled “Fed Up,” says Michelle Obama shares some of the blame for obesity in America. According to Couric, school lunches are still “junk food” and efforts to work with food industry giants like Wal-Mart — as Mrs. Obama has done — are akin to sleeping with the enemy.

In a review of the film, Variety’s Geoff Berkshire calls “Fed Up” formulaic but excuses its artistic failings because of the subject and the heavy hitters who made it. Along with producer Couric (who also narrates), there are Laurie David, the executive producer of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” and director Stephanie Soechtig, whose last documentary was a hit job on the bottled-water industry.

According to the film, Berkshire explains, there just hasn’t been enough “political will to address the problems” of obesity because Democrats like Mrs. Obama are focused on the wrong problem (burning calories through exercise) and both parties refuse to take on the food industry directly.

Of course, the real enemy in Couric’s film is sugar and the big food companies that have (allegedly) been conspiring to hurt young Americans by putting more of the toxin sugar in their products, thereby making them obese and pushing them to an early grave. Moreover, the filmmakers argue, big food is in bed with big government — mostly the USDA — to promote these edible poisons to unsuspecting children.

Couric and company spread the blame by lumping Mrs. Obama and even President Bill Clinton in with “bad” Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

But what’s especially noteworthy is that Couric seems to believe that the solution to the obesity problem is more big government. Couric isn’t pushing a message of self-discipline and parental responsibility. She’s not arguing that it is parents who have to make the right food choices for their kids. She seems to believe that the big-food, big-government conspiracy she’s uncovered would best be remedied with more big-government rules, mandates and bans on what individual citizens can and cannot eat and drink.

Funny, but that reminds me of no one else as much as Michelle Obama.

Abby W. Schachter, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, lives in Regent Square and blogs about the intersection of government policy and parenting at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.