Americans, the problem is not just that they are consuming so much fat, it is that they don’t know what they are eating.

Americans, the problem is not just that they are consuming so much fat, it is that they don’t know what they are eating. While government standards for weight and other recommended health-related metrics change, the 2010 government-recommended daily caloric intake of adult men in the United States is between 2,000 and 3,000, depending on age and the level of physical activity; the recommended calories for adult women is 1,600–2,400, also depending on age and level of physical activity. This range is still current in 2014. Many Americans far exceed those recommendations, in part because of their increasing reliance on restaurant food.25

Advertising and Free Speech Because ads are often ambiguous, sometimes misleading, and can omit essential facts, the legal question of “free speech” enters more serious controversies. In commercial speech cases, there is no First Amendment protection if it can be proven that information was false or misleading. In other types of free speech cases, people who file suit must prove either negligence or actual malice.26

Should certain ads by corporations be banned or restricted by courts? For example, should children be protected from accessing pornography ads on the Internet? Should companies that intentionally mislead the public when selling their products be denied protection by the court? 27 The U.S. Supreme Court has differentiated commercial speech from pure speech in the context of the First Amendment. (See Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation v. Public Service Commission, 1980, and Posadas de Puerto Rico Associates v. Tourism Company of Puerto Rico, 54 LW 4960). Pure speech is more generalized, relating to political, scientific, and artistic expression in marketplace dealings. Commercial speech refers to language in ads and business dealings. The Supreme Court has balanced these concepts against the general principle that freedom of speech must be weighed against the public’s general welfare. The four-step test developed by Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. and used to determine whether commercial speech in advertisements can be banned or restricted follows:

1. Is the ad accurate, and does it promote a lawful product? 2. Is the government’s interest in banning or restricting the commercial speech important, nontrivial, and substantial?

3. Does the proposed restriction of commercial speech assist the government in obtaining a public policy goal?

4. Is the proposed restriction of commercial speech limited only to achieving the government’s purpose?28

For example, do you agree or disagree with the conservative plurality on the Supreme Court that has argued in the tobacco smoking controversy to give more free speech rights to tobacco companies? This has been suggested by Lawrence Gostin: “The [Supreme] [C]ourt has held that the FDA lacks jurisdiction to regulate cigarettes. The court observed that Congress, despite having many opportunities, has repeatedly refused to permit agency regulation of the product. Thus, Congress has systematically declined to regulate tobacco but has also

Weiss, Joseph W.. <i>Business Ethics : A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach</i>, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, Created from apus on 2019-06-15 17:18:23.


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