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Worst Press Release of 2006

Georgetown University booze researchers try their best to spin new data.

The Flann O’Brien award for logical argumentation in the course of demonstrating the baleful influence of booze goes to Georgetown University’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, who concocted this end-of-year press release for tired and vexed eyes on December 21:

Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth Statement Regarding Findings of the
Latest Monitoring the Future Survey Data on Youth Drug Use

Statement attributable to David H. Jernigan, PhD, Executive Director,
Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University

“Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine found that from 1993 to 2002 we had not made much progress in reducing underage drinking. The good news today from Monitoring the Future is that between 2001 and 2006, we have made progress and it seems to be holding. At the same time there are storm clouds on the horizon. Excessive drinking by youth remains unacceptably high. In 2006, one in nine eight graders, one in five tenth graders and more than one in four twelfth graders reported binge drinking in the past two weeks. Thirty percent of high school seniors were drunk in the past month.

Cleary, we cannot settle for the progress we have made and need to do more. The 41% increase in youth exposure to alcohol advertising on television between 2001 and 2005 is troubling. The more ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink and drink more. All of us, including alcohol advertisers, need to do more to protect our youth.”

To summarize: Underage drinking declined, significantly, during a time when kids experienced a massive increase in exposure to alcohol advertising; but “the more ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink," (sic); therefore, alcohol advertisers “need to do more to protect our youth.”

Perhaps this release was composed during the CAMY holiday party. And, perhaps, this is just the kind of febrile logic that is responsible for the Center’s imminent demise; it will, reportedly, cease operations sometime in mid 2007.

For more of STATS on CAMY:

Targeting Youth? Alcohol Advertising in Magazines

The media likes one side of a complicated story; ignores new study challenging widely believed claim that alcohol industry targets teens.

TV Diversity Drives African American Youth to Drink

In a week when the Supreme Court took on race as a factor in college admissions, USA Today decided to tackle a hitherto unknown aspect of diversity - the "hidden costs" of increasing numbers of minorities on primetime TV.