The Corner

How ABC News Created and Stoked the ‘Pink Slime’ Scare

I write on the homepage about the twelve reports that ABC’s flagship broadcast, World News, did in March and April of 2012 on the beef product it referred to as “pink slime.” Lean finely textured beef, as its producers call it, was invented as a response to the E. coli scare of the early 1990s during which three toddlers died after eating undercooked Jack in the Box burgers. The product not only lowered the price of ground beef but was revolutionary supposedly because it inoculated any beef it touched against bacteria including E. coli and salmonella. 

There was some debate about the effectiveness with which it did so, but that’s not what ABC told its viewers about. Instead, Diane Sawyer and her team set off a panic by delivering “stunning” and “startling” revelations to viewers about the nefarious product that might be lurking in their food. The result was that the company that produces lean finely textured beef was forced to close three of its four factories and to lay off over 650 employees; it has now sued ABC News for a whopping $1.2 billion. My piece is about the underlying factors that have led ABC to produce an increasingly sensationalist, consumer-oriented broadcast, and about the news division’s larger slide away from traditional news and toward entertainment. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More
Elections

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More