–Show Omitted U.S. Gov’t Reports Showing Significant Progress–

Washington, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council today commended ABC’s 20/20 program for correcting a September 21st segment on underage drinking that had failed to point out that multiple U.S. Government reports show that both underage drinking and youth binge drinking are at historic lows.

In the original report, that information was attributed to the industry instead of the U.S. Government.  In fact, data from multiple government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have shown significant declines in both underage drinking and binge drinking over the course of the last decade.  For instance, a 12/14/11 National Institutes of Health (NIH) press release said “…alcohol use at historic low among teens” in the headline.  The 20/20 reporter had been provided this information along with the government data sources by the Council prior to the original broadcast.

“ABC 20/20 is to be commended for correcting the original program’s innuendo that it was industry data showing sharp declines,” said Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President Frank Coleman.  “After speaking to senior producer Miguel Sancho, he ensured ABC’s commitment to accuracy and fairness by correcting the record on the web and on-air.  He also ensured anchor Chris Cuomo made the important points that the industry is totally opposed to underage and binge drinking, and that it spends millions each year to fight the problem.”

The 20/20 on-air correction from Friday night can be seen here.

The transcript of the correction appears below:

Before we sign off, a little clarification.  Last week we reported on the new trends in underage drinking. After our report aired, the Distilled Spirits Council, an alcohol industry trade group, asked us to make it clear that the industry is totally opposed to underage drinking. The industry says it spends millions each year fighting the problem and they note U.S. Government statistics showed there has been progress.  A Federal study out this week shows underage drinking, while still a problem, has declined more than 10% over the past ten years. Good news. Let’s just hope it keeps dropping. And please remember to watch “nightline” after your local news. I am Chris Cuomo, and for all of us at “20/20” and ABC News, have a great weekend.