On March 3, 2016, small farm and food freedom advocates rejoiced when West Virginia, one of the most anti-raw milk states in the nation, passed herd-share legislation.
Just a few days after, food safety advocates claimed cosmic karma at work when a stomach bug struck the legislature, including a number who drank raw milk in celebration of the herd-share bill’s passage. The media immediately picked up on the story and ran wild with it, echoing the idea that this was quick karma for bad policy and legislation.
But there was just one problem: The story circulated by the media and by food safety advocates was nothing more than smoke.
Kelli Sobonya, of the West Virginia House of Delegates, says, “People I speak with are disappointed with the media doing a report on a rumor. Irresponsible journalism. Had they dug deep enough they would have learned of the numerous legislators who were victims of the stomach virus. One Putnam delegate consumed two glasses of the raw milk and did not get sick. The delegate hospitalized was told it was not a food-borne illness, but a virus. Many were sick and are still getting sick from being exposed to the intestinal flu. No wonder people are tuning the news out and no longer tuning in. Universities should start re-emphasizing responsible journalism in their curriculum.”
Even a few minutes of cursory leg work would show that the illnesses hit a wide swath of people across the capitol, regardless of their raw milk relationships. Why would the media not take even a few minutes to do due diligence on such a major issue? Could it perhaps be that the media is a lapdog to the FDA and other vested interests whose unscientific war on raw milk continues to falter and fail? As more details finally become available, I wonder how many outlets will print retractions or corrections as boldly as incriminations and accusations blaming raw milk?
Mark Twain once said. “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” When it comes to raw milk, it appears that the lies get an even greater head start, especially with the help of the modern media.
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