by Marion Nestle
Jul 5 2016

The Disney-funded paper episode comes to closure (I sincerely hope)

My invited, accepted—but omitted—commentary about a study funded by Disney has at last been published by the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research.

In February, I explained how the editors had solicited this commentary, but then given it to the article’s authors to rebut, and allowed me to comment on their rebuttal.  None of this correspondence appeared when the journal published the Disney-funded article.

Could Disney’s involvement have anything to do with this omission?  The editors said no; they had just ran out of page room.

But in April, I wrote about how Stat had obtained e-mails between Disney and one of the authors indicating that the company had attempted to withdraw its study because it feared adverse publicity.  Some of the study’s authors had been associated with the Global Energy Balance Network, the group funded by Coca-Cola to promote the idea that physical activity is more important than diet in maintaining healthy weight.

When I complained about the omission of my accepted piece, the editors arranged to have it and the correspondence published in the journal’s June issue.

While the correspondence was in proof, I added a last line bringing the situation up to date: “Disney’s now exposed attempt to withdraw their paper from publication (Kaplan 2016) provides further evidence for the hazards of industry-funded research.”

Done.  Finished.  Amen.