The British Channel 4 documentary, "Secret of Coca-Cola," featured above, reveals how Coca-Cola Co. is fighting the implementation of health and environmental policies that might impact the company's bottom line.
Leaked internal documents and emails — which have become known as "The Coke Files" — shows the soda industry is in fact working against public health in a very coordinated and comprehensive fashion, using well-known tobacco-industry tactics such as:
•Message coordination and influencing media. As an example of how Coca-Cola deals with journalists who fail to follow corporate talking points, in a May 2016 email, Amanda Rosseter, the global group director of strategic communications at the Coca-Cola Co., wrote:10
"A reporter for Wired reached out to our media line late last night with a series of questions and an immediate deadline … The story, however, posted early this morning without waiting for our input.
The story … focuses on sugar, stevia and the Company's attempts to offer options to consumers with a pessimistic tone … We will be reaching out to this reporter to better understand her decision not to include our perspective, and to build her brain around our strategy."
•Developing close ties with influential scientists and experts who then speak on the company's behalf while presenting themselves as "independent" experts.
As just one example, two years ago, Coca-Cola Company was outed for secretly funding and supporting the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit front group that promoted exercise as the solution to obesity while significantly downplaying the role of diet and sugary beverages in the weight loss equation.11
•Debunking and manipulating science. Research has revealed simply funding a study will significantly influence the results.
As just one example, an investigation by Marion Nestle, Ph.D. and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health, found that out of 168 studies funded by the food industry, 156 of them favored the sponsor.12
•Astroturfing — The effort on the part of special interests to surreptitiously sway public opinion and make it appear as though it's a grassroots effort for or against a particular agenda, when in reality such a groundswell of public opinion might not exist.