Clinton calls for liquor ad probe

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Calling distilled spirits ads on TV "a new and emerging challenge to parents struggling to raise children," President Clinton today asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt to study the potential effects on underage drinking the ads could cause. In a White House appearance with Vice President Gore, Mr. Clinton chastised the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. for abandoning its 50-year ban on broadcast ads and said problems were "an unavoidable bad consequence of liquor advertising on TV."

Mr. Clinton sidestepped questions about why he recommended a study of spirits ads, but not beer and wine ads, saying only that there was "something to be said for not making matters worse." The FCC chief has had insufficient votes at the commission to mount an investigation. Mr. Hundt said today he wasn't sure what effect the letter will have. "I would hope the letter from the president will sway them [FCC members]," he said. "He is the president, you know."

DISCUS charged President Clinton unfairly singled out spirits advertisers. An FCC review of spirits ads contradicts federal alcohol policy that recognizes "alcohol is alcohol," the group said.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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