Hershey Teams Up With ADA - the American Dietetic Association - says the press release.   The Hershey Center for Health&Nutrition® sponsoring an advocacy group devoted to dietary health workers?  Sure, why not?  Hershey's says they want to make us all healthier...
by working with industry sponsors to include registered dietitians in the development of policies and products; sharing science-based information and new research with ADA members; and enabling ADA to reach millions of consumers with healthy-eating messages.
So Hershey's is willing to spend money even if that means telling people not to eat so much chocolate?   Makes complete sense, right?    Of course not, some confusion about small amounts of dark chocolate versus a candy bar per day of sweetened milk chocolate is good for business but that is a marketing decision, not a science one, and I have said too many times to count that scientists and doctors didn't check their ethics at the door just because they work at a corporation.    If Oneida designs a better spoon I don't think it's fair to blame them for making people fat and Hershey's is not going to get a better reputation if dietary consultants are vilifying them, so this is perhaps a good way to show they can also be part of the solution.

And it isn't even a new thing in the largest nutrition group out there, the ADA already has corporate sponsors like General Mills, Mars and ... PepsiCo.  You remember Pepsi, they caused a big blowup at Scienceblogs by doing the exact same thing - if by exact same thing we mean buying legitimacy with members and the audience.

Nutritional Blogma notes that 
Because behavioral change in general won’t occur unless the message is perceived as important, mixing corporate sponsorships with nutrition organizations may downplay the importance of reducing/eliminating processed foods. To draw an analogy from smoking campaigns, they would certainly be less effective if smoking corporations sponsored major medical organizations and this was prominently displayed to the public.
No argument there, though people still have to buy cigarettes and smoke them, but more importantly to me is, if this trend is suddenly so pervasive, why?   Is it simply not possible to succeed financially without this sort of payola?  

Obviously it is, we do it every day, but in hindsight it helps to frame the mentality of some former Scienceblogs people who have long had an unbridled hatred of successful, non-money-driven sites like Science 2.0 and others - market share (audience size) counted most and you must be the best if you are the biggest, even if you spent $20 million to get there and it is better not to know where that money came from.   And ridiculing others that are truly independent like us, or other magazine publishers like Nature Networks, may have been a way to maintain a position of strength

As time goes on, the uncomfortable question will be why, if 20 people left Scienceblogs because a corporate sponsorship is so obviously wrong, the remaining two thirds stayed.    No one at Scienceblogs even noticed when Mars hosted an entire panel at a 2007 AAAS meeting devoted to discussing how nutritionally awesome chocolate was - but we sure did.   What could bring more legitimacy for a candy company than that?

I can argue that, rather than missing a competitive advantage - the rationale baseball players used to start steroids after other players did - we may be simply culling the herd in science media, and the ethically weaker companies were already financially challenged because buying an audience can only get you so far - so the stronger ones will survive just fine.