- McLibel -
Posted by: Ben ( UK ) on June 21, 1997 at 04:20:05:
In Reply to: Where does this leave free speech? posted by Dave on June 20, 1997 at 18:17:23:
> In regard to some of the points that Morris & Steel lost on, I think
> the judge was right in saying certain points in the leaflet were
> perhaps worded too extremely given the evidence. However, even so I
> felt that the judgement that they were defamatory was unfair, but
> then perhaps this is just because of the legal definition of
> defamation. For example, while the judge felt that eating many
> burgers posed a health risk, it was still found defamatory
> to associate McD with lack of nutrition and disease, on the basis
> that an occasional burger as part of a reasonable diet would be OK.
> But he also said that high fat, salt etc. were the kind of things
> associated with disease, and that the defendants could have expressed
> this in a more moderate wording. To my mind, the gist of this is
> still that McD burgers are NOT healthy food, and that, despite the
> extremity of the L.Greenpeace comments, the balance of judgment
> here should have favoured the defendants.
A agree mostly with what you say but must take you to task on your claim the the London Greenpeace comments were extreme. Below is
the relevent extract from the factsheet...
"McDONALD's try to show in their "Nutrition Guide" (which is full of impressive-looking but really quite irrelevant facts & figures) that mass-produced hamburgers, chips, colas, milkshakes, etc., are a useful and nutritious part of any diet.
What they don't make clear is that a diet high in fat, sugar, animal products and salt (sodium), and low in fibre, vitamins and minerals - which describes an average McDonald's meal - is linked with cancers of the breast and bowel, and heart disease. This is accepted medical fact, not a cranky theory. Every year in Britain, heart disease alone causes about 180,000 deaths.
It is hardly extreme but the meaning attributed to that section by the judge (with the help of McDonald's) was that if you ate a McDonald's burger you stood a very real risk of getting heart disease or cancer.
Now that is extreme!