Yesterday, Soft drinks totally hated videogames. Was trying to blame games, and not soft drinks, for fat kids. Imagine that! Today, though, soft drink is sorry. It didn't mean to single out videogames. It's all a big misunderstanding! Soft drink would never hate on vieogames. How do we know this? Because soft drink (ie American Beverage Association vice president Kevin Keane) contacted us to set the record straight.
Folks - The ABA statement is from me and I would appreciate you taking the time to understand the context of our statement and the point we were making about the mayor's ridiculous plan (which is getting lambasted in the national media, by the way).
Bottom line is that weren't bashing video games, but saying it is just as silly to tax retailers who sell soft drink as it would be to tax high tech companies who make video games, computers and search engines -- all important industries in SF area. If you read our full statement, it attacks the mayor's flawed strategy and logic of singling out one food or beverage as the cause for a complex problem of childhood obesity - thus deserving of unique taxation. Our point is that it would be equally flawed to single out video games as a driving source for obesity. (And if you aren't aware - there are advocacy groups that do blame video games and computers as much as soft drink for childhood obesity and think they should be regulated in ways similar to foods and beverages to discourage "screen time" by kids and teens.)
Here's what our statement said: "We certainly hope the mayor doesn't pursue the flawed strategy of taxing retailers who sell soft drinks. Not only would it have no impact on childhood obesity, it would highlight a significant lack of understanding about the complexity of this problem by government leaders. It makes no sense to single out one food or beverage product to address an issue created by a lack of balance between calories consumed and calories burned. If one were to follow this FLAWED LOGIC (emphasis added here for purpose of this blog entry), the mayor also should tax all the high-tech companies in San Francisco for their culpability in contributing to childhood obesity through their video games, computer games, and Internet search engines that keep kids glued to their chairs instead of outside playing and burning calories." It goes onto to talk about balanced lifestyles as the most effective way to address childhood obesity.
Of course, Newsom's not going to tax video games or SF high-tech companies...nor should he...nor were we advocating he do so. We were pointing out how ridiculous and FLAWED it is to begin singling out any one cause for obesity and taxing it. There isn't one cause. And there's no one factor that is a greater contributor than any other factor.
Look, I've got three teenagers so I've got more money invested in video games and laptops (one for each kid and wife) than anything else. I'm a fan and "investor" - though a ticked one now that my kids whoop me at Madden and just about every other game I used to dominate them at.
But, as a society, we need to get away from these ridiculous ploys to address tough issues by simply taxing something. It's soundbite activism that does nothing to solve the problem. Politicians, and many parents, are afraid to do the hard work of actually teaching their kids how to balance all foods and all activities into their lives, including drinking a good, tasty soft drink while you're playing Halo. As many of you have written here - you partake in both soft drinks and gaming and are just fine. Of course, you are...you know how to balance your lifestyle.
Bottom line - we're not bashing video games. Again, whether you realise it or not, video games get blamed for obesity by advocates/zeolots just as we do. We were drawing a parallel to mock the concept. I could have made the same point about pizza, ice cream, steak, TV, movies, etc....(Save the keystrokes that I probably should have used those instead.) But we're in the same boat when it comes to these attacks.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to get the full story and get our perspective. I do hope you help push back on this tax. It is ridiculous. It isn't going to make a difference. And it does open the door for any food, beverage or activity perceived as contributing to obesity to be regulated or taxed in some way.
As for industry, check out our National School Beverage Guidelines on our website www.ameribev.org. You'll see we're doing some tough and ambitious things to do our part for kids in schools.
SVP @ American Beverage Association
So they were misquoted by the original piece. It's OK, soft drink, you and us, we cool. Especially since the email was entitled "Soft drink loves videogames". Can't hate a carbonated beverage that loves videogames, that would be wrong.