Message in a Bottle

By Russell Berger

In Nutrition, Rest Day/Theory

November 11, 2015

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Clinton Foundation sends mixed signals by partnering with Coca-Cola while claiming to work for health and wellness.

The Clinton Foundation is currently giving a nod to Coca-Cola by hosting a public art exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, until Feb. 15, 2016.

The exhibit marks “The Coca-Cola Bottle’s 100-year anniversary” and features iconic images from the last century of Coca-cola marketing, complete with the classic small-town Americana of Norman Rockwell and Fred Mizen’s Coke-slinging Santa. While many will see Coca-Cola: An American Original as nothing more than a nostalgic tribute to a classic U.S. brand, the exhibit actually highlights the uncomfortably close relationship between Big Soda and big philanthropy.

Historically, the Clinton Foundation has taken a strong stance against childhood obesity, which Bill Clinton recently called “one of the most important issues facing our country today.” The foundation’s website also notes that “people are eating more but exercising less; working harder but sleeping less; and drinking more high calorie beverages but less water.” The former president himself, in an article co-authored with Nancy Brown of the American Heart Association, noted as positive the fact children are “drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages.”

The Clinton Foundation presents itself as an advocate for health and wellness through disease prevention—and yet a growing body of research suggests sugar is a primary culprit behind obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Why then, would the Clinton Foundation be honoring a company that sells products known to cause these diseases?

I believe the answer is simple: As of September 2015, Coca-Cola is reported to have donated between $5,000,001 and $10,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Similarly, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette linked Coca-Cola and the Clinton Foundation to no less than 32 joint initiatives.

You can call Big Soda advertising art, but there’s no artistry here. If you happen to catch a glimpse of the Clinton Foundation’s glorification of America’s most popular sugar drink, consider it a perfect display of the corruption and hypocrisy that comes with Big Soda dollars.

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