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ABC News to Face South Dakota Jury Over ‘Pink Slime’ Story
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Arrow ABC News to Face South Dakota Jury Over ‘Pink Slime’ Story - 03-14-2017, 08:47 AM

We have a right to know just exactly what sort of garbage the USDA allows manufacturers to put into our food.
However. The media should be held accountable for how it represents its stories.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/abc-new...ory-1489504974

ABC News to Face South Dakota Jury Over ‘Pink Slime’ Story
Lawsuit claims reporting caused $1.9 billion worth of damage to meat-product maker Beef Products Inc.

A judge in South Dakota has cleared the way to trial of a lawsuit claiming ABC News “pink slime” coverage caused $1.9 billion worth of damage to the business of Beef Products Inc., which makes the meat product tagged with the term.

Judge Cheryle Gering threw out defamation claims against anchor Diane Sawyer but left standing accusations against ABC News and multiple Emmy award-winning journalist, Jim Avila.

Judge Gering, in rejecting ABC’s bid to have the case dismissed, said a jury could find the network was pursuing “a negative spin” on the story before conducting any research and that Mr. Avilla had an anti-meat-industry agenda.

“Looking at the evidence in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, a jury could determine that there is clear and convincing evidence that ABC Broadcasting and Mr. Avila were reckless,” the judge said, and that “they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth.”

Five years in the making, the case threatens ABC News with punishing damages over its coverage of lean, finely textured beef, or LFTB, a component of about 70% of the ground beef found on supermarket shelves in 2012, when the stories ran.

Due to a South Dakota food-libel law that triples damages against those found to have knowingly lied about the safety of a food product, ABC News could be hit with as much as $6 billion in damages.

The network stands by its reporting.

“We are pleased that the Court dismissed all claims against Diane Sawyer,” ABC News said in a statement. The Court has not ruled on the merits of the case against the other defendants, and we welcome the opportunity to defend the ABC News reports at trial and are confident that we will ultimately prevail.” Decades of First Amendment law back ABC’s defense—its right to report truthfully on a newsworthy subject, what is in the nation’s food supply, the company’s lawyers say. Every broadcast said the meat product was safe.

Beef Products says it was forced to close three of its four plants and erase hundreds of jobs when consumers recoiled. It declined to provide current production figures.

The case will play out before a jury in Union County, S.D., where Beef Products is based, and where jobs were lost after the ABC News broadcasts.

“The American public is hostile to the media. Every news outfit should be very afraid of what a jury will do,” said Mary-Rose Papandrea, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Beef Products says ABC News whipped up the controversy about the meat product to boost ratings, inflaming consumers’ fears and forcing the plant closures.

“This was fake news,” Beef Products lawyer J. Erik Connolly told Judge Gering during arguments in January. “It’s perfectly safe. It’s perfectly nutritious. It was properly approved by the USDA. There was no news here. There was nothing to rush out and talk about. There was no news.”

The term “pink slime” was in wide use after a 2009 New York Times story on the product, but it exploded on social media after the ABC News broadcasts. The network focused on the fact ground beef labels made no mention of LFTB, made from defatted beef trimmings in a process involving ammonium hydroxide.

“Why—if it is just another additive, a way to put leaner beef in the burgers at a cheaper price, if it is no problem, if it’s safe, all those things, why not just label it? Why not just put it on the package?” Mr. Avila asked a meat industry spokeswoman in an interview.

Mr. Avila, the judge said, was “rude, agitated and hostile” in his questioning of the Beef Products defender.

As the coverage played out, Beef Products endorsed a USDA move to allow voluntary labeling so consumers would know which packages of ground beef had LFTB and which didn’t.

Beef Products also launched a counteroffensive, mustering governors of big meat-producing states and advisers to persuade others writing on the topic that ABC News got it wrong. Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, who wrote about Beef Products’ problem in 2012, says she was confronted with “nothing less than a major effort to get me to agree that pink slime is safe, something that was never at issue,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “Yes, it’s safe, but that does not make it acceptable. What we like to eat has a great deal to do with cultural values, and the unfortunate name, ‘pink slime,’ made it culturally unacceptable. ”

Michael Roberts, director of the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at University of California Los Angeles School of Law, said Beef Products pioneered a system to produce a safe meat product that reduces the number of cattle that need to be slaughtered. However, he views the lawsuit against ABC as a harbinger for the future of food-policy development and a threat to free discussion. News organizations are supposed to do what ABC News did, he said, by asking questions about what is in the food supply.


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03-14-2017, 09:00 AM

But it was "pink slime", wasn't it ? So, it appears they are upset because the consumer was informed what they were actually eating. And yes, I'm a truth in labeling advocate, because I want to know exactly what I'm eating. If you don't want folks to know, then don't put the "bad" stuff in it.

though, not that it will make a difference for the masses. I see the MCD's drive through packed every morning, and I doubt they are all getting coffee.


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03-14-2017, 09:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRJ View Post
But it was "pink slime", wasn't it ? So, it appears they are upset because the consumer was informed what they were actually eating. And yes, I'm a truth in labeling advocate, because I want to know exactly what I'm eating. If you don't want folks to know, then don't put the "bad" stuff in it.

thought, not that it will make a difference for the masses. I see the MCD's drive through packed every morning, and I doubt they are all getting coffee.
I would agree with this.
That stuff was in there and the customers were not informed through labeling.

I find that voluntary labeling is a joke and just raises questions on how much did the big manufacturers grease (pun intended) the USDA to get it so.


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03-14-2017, 09:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRJ View Post
But it was "pink slime", wasn't it ? So, it appears they are upset because the consumer was informed what they were actually eating. And yes, I'm a truth in labeling advocate, because I want to know exactly what I'm eating. If you don't want folks to know, then don't put the "bad" stuff in it.

thought, not that it will make a difference for the masses. I see the MCD's drive through packed every morning, and I doubt they are all getting coffee.
Actually if you follow who has what in their meats and breads (fast food) you might be surprised.


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03-14-2017, 11:26 AM

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Originally Posted by Sev View Post
Actually if you follow who has what in their meats and breads (fast food) you might be surprised.
No, it would not. Subway is the worse, followed by McDonalds.


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03-14-2017, 11:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
I would agree with this.
That stuff was in there and the customers were not informed through labeling.

I find that voluntary labeling is a joke and just raises questions on how much did the big manufacturers grease (pun intended) the USDA to get it so.
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03-14-2017, 01:12 PM

$6 billion is something ABC can sneeze to.

Maybe a change of attitude. But attitude dies hard.

Of course this is a case of justice delayed and denied.




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03-14-2017, 01:26 PM

What a dilemma!

Who do we dislike more? The corporation that literally slimed its customers (as the ABC reporting revealed), or ABC, as part of the hated MSM?

Well, at least we can agree that ammonium hydroxide is a healthful ingredient, totally natural, and nobody needs that ingredient listed, right?


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03-14-2017, 01:30 PM

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No, it would not. Subway is the worse, followed by McDonalds.
Yes but not as bad in the lineup as you would think.
McD has been moving towards better beef and Subway has also has been improving its product.
Well except for the chicken according to a DNA test.


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03-14-2017, 01:57 PM

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Yes but not as bad in the lineup as you would think.
McD has been moving towards better beef and Subway has also has been improving its product.
Well except for the chicken according to a DNA test.
Yes, thank god it only took 50 or so years. It's all garbage. Subway should get nobodies business based on what they did in the past, I don't care if the CEO saves 100 kids from a fire, I won't ever eat there.

It's a shame that folks don't hold business accountable for their actions.


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03-14-2017, 02:04 PM

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Yes, thank god it only took 50 or so years. It's all garbage. Subway should get nobodies business based on what they did in the past, I don't care if the CEO saves 100 kids from a fire, I won't ever eat there.

It's a shame that folks don't hold business accountable for their actions.
Once we get that long awaited tort reform, they'll have even less ability to do that.

Wait, I thought that was a good idea that many favored? How confusing!


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