BLBT Gets Slimed
Mar 08, 2012
Sigh. No doubt you’ve seen the hysteria surrounding the inclusion of Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings in school lunches. If not, Google the term. Oops. You don’t find much, do you? Now try "pink slime" and read a few of the "news" reports. Count the number of activist-types cited, note that there is no evidence anywhere indicating there is anything unsafe about the product and then take a minute to ponder the state of American journalism.
The problem with this modern media is there are too many "reporters" and too many of them are untrained and/or stupid. At about noon Thursday, a Google news search turned up 77 news stories with the term "pink slime." But if you added "Patrick Boyle" or BLBT to the search, you got one hit and it's from the PR Newswire.
PR Newswire would be where Mr. Boyle, the guy at the American Meat Institute every one of those reporters should have called, was shouting the facts into the wind.
About the only thing I found online worth reading was from Alexandra Petri—the pun-loving dish who writes satire for the Washington Post—who does a better job of reporting the facts than the reporters and gets it in perspective.
The rest? Whooboy. I recommend the one from MSNBC. It’s pretty typical in its hyperbolic tone, but a bit clumsier with the facts and background than most of the others:
Notice that it (a) includes ZERO explanation of what the product is and (b) makes the outlandishly ridiculous statement that the product "accounts for 70 percent of all ground beef consumed in the U.S."
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a big fan of including ammonia-treated beef in school lunches. I remember the sheep farmer who told me he thought lamb consumption fell after World War II because the Army fed so many troops bad-tasting mutton and they came home and refused to eat lamb of any kind.
Giving schoolkids off-flavored meat strikes me as a poor form of long-range planning for an industry, and charging more than necessary isn’t so smart either. But it isn’t going to hurt them. This is a case where somebody comes up with a pejorative term and all at once you’ve got the media’s attention. Remember chicken’s "fecal soup?" Or "mad cow?"
So as far as I’m concerned, they can go back to putting the trimmings in hot dogs and sausage, which, I guess, all these reporters presume are made from ground-up T-bone steak. But in the meantime, don’t have a cow.