MSNBC-TV host Lawrence ODonnell used the Herman Cain sexual harassment charges last week to slam the National Restaurant Association (NRA), claiming the NRA, which Cain served as president, tried to silence the presidential candidates accusers under the auspices of confidentiality. He claimed the NRA was not allowing the accusers, who settled cases that occurred more than 10 years ago, to come forward, a charge that proved to be false.O Donnell brought mud slinging to a new level, targeting the nations foodservice industry, which includes refreshment service companies.Make no mistake: an attack on the nations largest foodservice association hurts the refreshment service industry since many refreshment industry members belong to the NRA; many refreshment service operators have found the NRAs ServeSafe safe food handling program invaluable. In addition, the NRA supports positions the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) supports on issues such as calorie disclosure and union card check rules. ODonnell didnt bother to report if Cains accusers wanted their confidences revealed before falsely claiming the NRA was muzzling these women. As it turned out, the NRA agreed to release one of the accusers from the confidentiality clause. The accuser declined to do so in order to protect her privacy.But before the full facts came to light, ODonnell called on the Occupy Washington, D.C. mob to converge on the NRAs Washington D.C. headquarters. He also threatened a boycott of NRA member companies.ODonnell warned the NRA if they dont decide to do the right thing, a firestorm will be visited upon them. Dont hesitate, he urged his listeners, after all, most of what Americas restaurants provide is junk food.After issuing his marching orders, ODonnell interviewed the Washington Journals Chris Frates for the "inside scoop" on the NRA. We learn the NRA contributes more money to Republicans than Democrats and opposes MSNBC-favored causes such as raising the minimum wage, higher taxes, smoking bans and stricter drunk driving rules.Hence, the reason for ODonnells beef with the NRA is revealed in full. The NRA is an association that represents the interest of employers, who by ODonnells measure are the bad guys in todays troubled America.This ugly incident serves notice to the foodservice industry that they must support their industry organizations. In an age of omnipresent, irresponsible media, consumer-focused industries have to be proactive. This means supporting industry associations, especially ones with proactive media relations initiatives like NAMA.