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Playing fast and loose with the news

I was watching CBS News on Wednesday evening and they had a story about glyphosate. The story "Lawsuit accuses Monsanto of manipulating research to hide Roundup dangers" started with a clip of a woman who had stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

She claims that glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Roundup, caused her illness and that she used it every week on her lawn.

The story showed her playing with her children and talking about how she still has health issues related to the disease.

I don't know if glyphosate causes cancer but I think CBS news did a great disservice to its viewers by featuring this woman in that story. First, because there is no clear evidence that glyphosate caused her illness, and second, it's still not clear if glyphosate is carcinogenic.

I don't want to go all Trump here and say this is "fake" news. But it is playing fast and loose with the news.

It's obvious they used the woman to tug at our heartstrings, and I'm sure those who haven't been following the issue will immediately stop using Roundup.

This reminds me of the "pink slime" story. I don't know if you remember this, but in 2012, the term was used for a product called lean finely textured beef (LFTB) that was produced by a South Dakota company, Beef Products, Inc.

LFTB is used in ground beef and is made from beef fat that is treated with ammonia or citric acid to kill bacteria.

After the news reports, fast food restaurants and public schools stopped using it even though the Food and Drug Administration considers it safe for human consumption.

Beef Products had to close three of its four plants and layoff 700 people.

Beef Products sued ABC Broadcasting, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., anchor Diane Sawyer and reporter Jim Avila. The story is back in the news because a judge dismissed Diane Sawyer from the lawsuit but said Walt Disney and Avila must defend themselves in court.

"A jury could determine that there is clear and convincing evidence that ABC Broadcasting and Mr. Avila were reckless, that defendants had obvious reason to doubt the veracity of informants, and that they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth," said Judge Cheryle Gering of the Union County Circuit Court in Elk Point, S.D.

You would think that news organizations would be more careful after this, but I suppose Beef Products is going to have to win the case before they take notice. ❖