Scaring the Pants Off People

There’s a lot of negative news and fear tactics being used these days, and some recent articles written by Lisa Sorg of NC Policy Watch are no exception. Ms. Sorg wrote two articles (one about a superbug alert & the other about a buy-out program) that utilizes fear tactics and puts a negative spin on the pork industry.On a hog farm somewhere in the U.S. – Ms. Sorg warns that a “wayward gene has… created a bacteria that is resistant to drugs.”Sounds like a nightmare. But is it?Ms. Sorg, an ally of the Waterkeepers, is writing about a report from Ohio State University. But, in fact, hog farmers across the nation voluntarily participate in Ohio State University’s studies for one reason: to help keep our food supply safe.Ohio State University also reported not a single pig “scheduled for slaughter carried the mutant genes.”So the system didn’t break down – it worked.But straining to find a crisis, spinning away, Ms. Sorg went on to report the wayward gene could “enter the food supply through raw meat.”Now think about that: How many people eat raw pork?Ms. Sorg doesn’t stop there with her reports on the hog industry, though. She wrote another article about swine farm buy-outs. What’s interesting about her latest broadside isn’t the story she tells – it’s her spin.Ms. Sorg starts out by reporting about a state program. Back in 1999, after Hurricanes Floyd, Dennis, and Irene the program set out to buy-out and close 42 hog farms located in the 100 year flood plain.Now one thing Hurricane Matthew proved is that the buy-out program and the state’s new regulations worked. During Hurricane Matthew, there wasn’t a leak or spill on 99.5% of NC’s hog farms, but Ms. Sorg didn’t mention that fact.Instead, she reports the state needs to buy-out more farms – to avoid a looming environmental disaster.That’s called pushing the panic button to scare people.And that’s how ‘spin’ works: You manufacture a crisis, leave out facts that say your nightmare isn’t real,  then try to scare the pants off people.pani