Saying that “liquor has no business with kids,” President Clinton Tuesday appealed to hard-liquor companies to stop advertising on television and called for a study to determine whether the ads prompt children to drink.
But the president stopped short of advocating a mandatory ban on liquor ads. And he declined to criticize beer and wine companies.
Instead, he asked the Federal Communications Commission to explore the effects of last year’s decision by some makers of hard liquor to advertise for the first time in television history. For 48 years, the industry voluntarily stayed away from television advertising.
It is dubious Clinton will get his way. The president does not have the authority to compel the FCC to study the effects of liquor advertising. Even if the government imposed restrictions, they would probably face a court challenge. In recent years, the Supreme Court has broadened protections for commercial speech.
And the hard-liquor industry has no intention of going back to a system that it feels gives an unfair advantage to beer and wine companies, according to industry officials.
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