I made myself tape "Dateline NBC" since its theme last night was "Food Fight." I hoped they would do some nice work on the growing obesity levels. What we got was a lot of rehashing of old issues with very shallow coverage. It looked liked they could have done it 2-3 years ago, and it still would have been a fluff piece.
The show spent way too long on the teenagers in the Bronx that sued McDonald's, a suit originally filed in 2002. The other major discovery was that marketers try to appeal to kids. Hey Dateline, this is 2006, tell us something new.
The show's method of interviewing regular people has some appeal. But Phillips is asking them irrelevant questions that won't produce enlightened answers.
The ironic moment in the show was Stone Phillips' lovefest at Kraft's headquarters, when he pointed out that the new Oreos had 0 grams of trans fat on the ingredient list. Nowhere does it get mentioned that 0 grams on a label may not mean anything, since food manufacturers are allowed to say 0 grams of trans fat if the actual amount is less than 1/2 gram PER SERVING. Again if Phillips and his producers don't know this, a small amount of research would have uncovered the answer.
The discussion with the guy from McDonald's didn't even mention the reluctance to change the oil for the fries. With Kraft, Phillips talked about how to make the food healthier. He needed to make that same point with McDonald's.
Though there was one ironic moment during a commercial break. At about :47 after the hour, there was a spot for Wish-Bone's 1-calorie dressing spray. The appeal sounds great: spray on the dressing and use fewer calories. Well, there is one major problem. The top 2 ingredients in the spray are water and high-fructose corn syrup. Nobody needs HFCS on a salad.
If you watched that episode and actually learned something, then you must watch "Dateline NBC" on a regular basis. I was depressed for its take on the food battle and its excuse for journalism. This is a serious issue that needed some serious coverage.