It has been just under two weeks since the CBS Evening News aired a two-part story on antibiotics in livestock production. The story concerned many agricultural producers but Pork Checkoff spokesman Mike Wegner says it didn’t get much reaction in the general media. “There has been very little public reaction to the story. We monitor very carefully social media, Twitter and those kinds of things, as well as print and broadcast, and found that where a very few, less than a handful of CBS stations that did their own stories about the CBS report, even though they were all encouraged to by CBS national. The other traffic has just been very, very quiet.”
Antibiotic use in animal agriculture is a very complex issue and quite difficult to explain in a short television news story. Wegner says the story lacked any attempt at balance. “When you get called by a national television network you sort of assume that it’s not going to be a great story for the livestock industry or the pork industry, but it was important for us to participate with their reporting just to make sure we had the best opportunity possible to tell our side of the story. That being said, Liz Wagstrom went to New York at pork industry expense and did a 70 minute interview with Katie Couric and appeared I think less than 30 seconds the first day and even less than that on the second day. Those were really the only participants in the story that had a view other than the view that CBS News was espousing. I don’t think most people would consider that to be fair.”
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