“Really??? After all we have done.” That was Coca-Cola’s response to learning that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton publicly supported Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s soda tax last April.
The recent DC Leaks hack “aimed at revealing Clinton campaign emails inadvertently discovered years’ worth of correspondence among Coca-Cola’s communications team.”
As The Russells explain on their Crossfit blog, “if there is any doubt that Coca-Cola’s generous donations come with strings attached, these email should erase all doubt. When Coke opens its coffers, it expects reciprocity.”
But, there is much more here beyond Coca-Cola’s “red alert” reaction to Hillary Clinton supporting a soda tax (something the soda giant apparently thought would never happen due to their financial ties, and had to be reassured would not happen again).
Leaked documents also show how Coca-Cola keeps tabs on journalists.
You may recall an Associated Press story from last year by reporter Candice Choi which revealed that Coca-Cola worked with dietitians to suggest mini cans of soda as a heart-healthy treat.
In these leaked documents, Coca-Cola communications executive Ben Scheilder writes:
“The reason for Candice wanting to do this piece was prompted by an inadvertent email that was sent to her, which was meant for internal purposes. Despite our efforts to dissuade Candice from writing this story, she and her editors have decided to move forward anyway.”
These are important revelations because they provide a deeper understanding of how industry works behind the scenes to control narratives, and what their expectations are when they provide financial assistance.
This is one of the reasons why we advocate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to eliminate a $5,000 PepsiCo grant. Financial favors come at a price, and we think a health organization like AND would be more better off without those kinds of financial ties.