Oh Chico News and Review, bless your hearts.
If my readers missed last week’s blog about this local little paper, let me get you up to speed. The CN&R and I have a long history together. For years now, I’ve occasionally written in asking the Editors to provide a more balanced view about agriculture, with very little success.
The CN&R has a tendency to print anything from Farm Sanctuary as fact, they rarely do any independent research, and when they do talk to local farmers or ranchers it tends to be only from a certain segment of agriculture. Years ago, one of the current Editors informed me, that she too, lived on a walnut ranch and supported agriculture. That surprised me. Why on earth would she let her paper attack her friends, neighbors, family and community?
Butte County has a wide variety of agriculture, from hydroponics to cattle ranchers, from organic to traditional, from artisan to commercial. And all of these hard working farmers and ranchers contribute to the success and quality of life in our community and should be celebrated, not attacked by the very community they support and feed.
This paper claims to be our “independent alternative news & entertainment resource”, which is great, in theory. I think we all can agree that mainstream media has slowly been decaying. It feels like a lot of our media outlets are less concerned with reporting the facts and more concerned with ratings and advertisers. So theoretically, an alternative paper could have the opportunity to do good. Unfortunately this isn’t the case here.
Last week, one of CN&R’s reporters, wrote her column about lean finely textured beef. It was poorly done. Several people from our agvocate community wrote in to the Editor in an attempt to provide better resources to this reporter. Jenny Dewey from Chico Locker and Sausage had her letter printed. Score one for local farmers and ranchers! But to my dismay, as I read further into this week’s issue, it became apparent that our attempt to provide facts to this paper only encouraged them print more fallacies. Am I surprised? No. So what did this week’s edition contain you ask? Well let’s see….
– A letter to the Editor from PETA (we all know how hard PETA works to support our farmers and ranchers).
– The flawed study done by Harvard that claims red meat causes cancer.
– And more on lean finely textured beef.
So basically what happened, and maybe I’m wrong, but several farmers, ranchers and other industry professionals wrote to the CN&R providing them with resources, facts and information, straight from the source. Instead of using these factual resources the CN&R chose to continue to muckrake and fear monger.
I don’t want to play this game with this paper. Agriculture is not a game. This is our life. It is our family, friends, home, job, religion even. In a county like Butte, in a community like Chico, we should not have journalists printing such untruths and rumors. It’s embarrassing to everyone involved.
The only thing I can do is provide another point of view on this blog. Writing letters to the CN&R Editor is obviously a waste of my time. I feel like my time would be better spent gathering research and providing truthful and factual based information to my readers so they will have the tools to refute poor information. Hopefully, since both the California Beef Council and California Cattlemen’s had enough time to read and suggest edits for my blog, they can offer their assistance to the CN&R too. It would be wonderful to connect industry with some media!