|This appeared at the bottom of ADA's Knowledge Center email on 8/18/11|
Levelheaded criticism is different from deliberate misinformation, which ADA and many other credible organizations are occasionally subjected to. Blogs and other communications that contain falsehoods about our Association are easily written and – with a click on a keyboard – posted and re-posted the world over. I want to assure members that ADA will not be distracted by engaging in point-by-point rebuttals of disparaging untruths and insults every time they appear on the Internet. ADA will not issue formal responses to ill-informed attacks or outright lies. Such responses would only lend credibility to erroneous arguments and baseless charges and elevate their authors. This is the intent of our detractors.
First of all, I'm not sure which "falsehoods" they are referring to, since their ties to the food industry are posted on their website. Secondly, to disparage blogs and communications that are "easily written...posted and re-posted" makes them sound as dated and out of touch as their detractors claim. Finally, to defend a position that has come into question does not lend credibility to the argument, it allows an organization to reiterate, clarify and hone its stance. As a card-carrying member of the ADA, I would appreciate a position paper of ADA sponsorship policies. Their website does say:
ADA’s procedures and formal agreements with external organizations are designed to prevent any undue corporate influence particularly where there is a possibility that corporate self-interest might tend to conflict with sound science or ADA positions, policies and philosophies.
Personally I would feel more comfortable if I understood how they get around the "possibility" of corporate self-interest with their current sponsors (for amusement, see the page on "What Our Corporate Sponsors Think"). Additionally, I would like to see more statements calling upon these companies to employ more responsible and honest marketing practices, including the elimination of advertising to children. I don't feel ADA needs to refuse their money, but should use their relationship with Big Food to push an agenda of their own, namely one that promotes public health nutrition, education, greater transparency and increased access to healthy foods.