A story released by Mississippi State University blames the media for the shadow cast over lean, finely textured beef, which has been more commonly referred to as pink slime.
An MSU meat scientist, Byron Williams, describes recent media reports as “irresponsible journalism that casts a shadow over established practices that he contends make certain ground beef products healthier and safer.”
The fact is, the phrase “pink slime” was coined by a federal microbiologist — not the media. Also, the recent uproar is not new. Stories about the product go back to at least a 2009 New York Times story, and Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has railed against it, and it made headlines after McDonald’s and other major chains discontinued their use last year.
Mississippi State and Byron Williams are disingenuous — at best — at blaming the media for this controversy.
At worst, blaming the media is lazy.
I know the media is an easy target and sometimes rightfully so as Howard Kurtz pointed out in his book “Media Circus: The Trouble with America’s Newspapers.”
Kurtz, the long-time Washington Post media critic, who is now with the web’s “Daily Beast,” points out a what-he-believes to be a bias toward bad news, and an emphasis on scandal.
Remember, there are nearly 9,500 newspapers in America — just newspapers. And more than 95 percent of them are reporting on local issues, more than anything else. So, what is really meant with the term of “the mainstream media”.
But, by and large, the media gets it right.
In this case, a federal employee first pointed out the “pink slime.” The media reported the findings and comments more than three years ago.
While we might not like everything we read or see, the media serves a great purpose in our society, which we would miss dearly were it not available in an objective form. I only hope we at the MBJ can live up to the other great journalism being practiced in every form of the profession.