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Sunday, January 1, 2012

READER'S POST #3 - "Headlining"... How the Mainstream Media Sways Opinions

By: 32slim32

I was reading on this morning and came across this headline:

“Farmers Seeking High Profits Add Acreage, Harvest 'Rottenest' Land”

I chuckled as I clicked on the story wondering what the “catch” was. What was the “rottenest land”? Was it nuclear wasteland? 
As the story came up, I noticed it was actually a New York Times story. The NYT ran a headline of:

What a difference in headlines for the same exact story.

“The rottenest piece of land there is,” said Mick Elbert, a local car dealer who served on the golf association board. “All it is good for is a golf course. That’s why we built it there.”

I was kind of expecting to hear from maybe an agronomist, or a pedologist, or even maybe a horticulturist. Leave it to the New York Times to go to an expert on the subject like a used car dealer. Talk about thinking outside of the box. Plus he can break it down in to simpler to understand terms like “rottenest piece of land there is”.  Yeah, yeah, I saw he served on the golf association board, but it still doesn’t qualify him as an expert.

The third paragraph of the story states:

“But this year, over a chorus of objections, the greens and fairways were plowed under. The course had been losing money, and crop prices had been breaking records, so the new owner did the type of quick calculation that is quietly reshaping the region and determined that it was more valuable as farmland. The first harvest took place this fall.”

Why would there be a chorus of objections? If the owner decides that today it’s a golf course, next year a corn field and in 5 years it is a cow pasture, whose business is it? What say do they have in the matter?

The best part of the paragraph is the last sentence. “The first harvest took place this fall”. What? I thought you said in the first paragraph, “the rocky soil was so poor, the saying went, that you couldn’t raise hell there with a fifth of whiskey”. Maybe the “expert” (car dealer) may have exaggerated his claim a little bit about the “rottenest piece of land”.

Anyway, the author goes on to complain about a long list of things like, farmers taking down old barns to squeeze in a few more rows of crops (Oh my gawd…..the horror), plowing up areas that used to graze cattle (again, the horror and how dare they get rid of unprofitable cattle and plant profit making corn), plowing up land that used to be in conservation (so reducing a couple of Billion dollars in subsidies to NOT grow crops is a bad thing?) and that “they are returning crops to places that had been reserved for ostensibly more lucrative purposes like strip malls, housing developments or, in several cases, struggling small-town golf courses.” Notice it is places that had been RESERVED for. It’s not as if we tore down strip malls to plant corn. I would think the main reason the housing developments and strip malls are not going up may have something to do with, like, say, the economy.

The story also mentions a significant increase in the amount of dormant land going back into production and that there is a debate whether it should be a source of concern.  Yes it seems any time there is progress or profit there will always be liberals there to oppose and hinder it every way they can.  What’s next, Occupy Corn Fields?

Here is another line from the story that amuses me, “While working one overgrown parcel for a neighbor, Mr. Coddington discovered a rusting horse-drawn plow buried beneath a foot of earth, a find that suggested the land had not been farmed in a century.” Why would it suggest to them the land had not been farmed in a century? That is a very stupid assumption. For instance, my father was born in 1947, grew up on a farm and plowed with mules. Just because the tractor may have been around for 100 years (I’m guessing that is what their assumption is based on), doesn’t mean that no one used horses and plows or mules and plows since their (tractors) invention.

It doesn’t appear to me that the article actually had a point. It seems more like just a way to get liberals worked up into a tizzy. You know, just combine the word profit with one persons speculation that we are destroying the earth and you get them foaming at the mouth.

This article really just goes to show how you can NEVER make a liberal happy. For instance the main reason for the high demand and record profits for corn is ethanol, a liberal idea to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They cry and moan about farm subsidies then when farmers quit taking the subsidy to NOT farm their land and start farming that upsets them too. However, it appears the main thing that just rubs them raw is that a farmer could actually turn a profit.

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  1. Thanks to the author 32slim32 for a great post.

    I couldn't avoid commenting on this. 32slim32 makes some great points and highlights how the media can distort (without technically lying) the truth behind any situation.

    As Americans, we are the only check the media has. It is protected by the Constitution and is the only unchecked, unbalanced institution in the country. Because of this, it can be a source of good, or a source of negative influence. In today's society, I believe the media's influence all too often tends to have a very negative influence by "Headlining" as 32slim32's post states. Just look how MSNBC's article conveniently ties this situation to Iowa, and, of course, throws in the new liberal curse word: profit.

    Looking for some good debate on this. Thank you!

  2. Blah blah blah. Replace msnbc with foxnews, you have the same article. If you are trying to claim only the msnbc does this you are not going to win.

  3. @32slim32 Thank you! You started my Monday off with a chuckle.

    I love a 'juicy headline' that leads to a story, that turns out to be something else entirely. As an aspiring children's writer - we call that 'the hook' thus drawing the reader in.

    Our mainstream news seems to be quite talented of late with the 'suspension of disbelief' concept as well... an outrageous idea written in such a way that (if done correctly) FORCES the reader to believe it's both possible AND true.

    @ Anonymous As an informed American,I watch/listen/read ALL sides of the issues... I watch MSM news and recieve email updates from several liberal sites. I process the information - but never comment. As ANY conservative views are rejected - with venomous, hateful rhetoric, I feel it would be pointless.

    That said, I'll borrow a quote:'The truth has NO agenda'.

    The MSM/liberal news sites DO.

    Thanks again 32slim32!

  4. "Here is another line from the story that amuses me, 'While working one overgrown parcel for a neighbor, Mr. Coddington discovered a rusting horse-drawn plow buried beneath a foot of earth, a find that suggested the land had not been farmed in a century.' Why would it suggest to them the land had not been farmed in a century? That is a very stupid assumption."

    No, yours is. You obviously are totally clueless in assuming that land that gets plowed is only disturbed up to 11.99 inches below the ground level. Typical ignorant republican.

  5. Anonymous - Again, guessing you're the same on that recently commented on our posts...

    Can you actually back what you say with evidence, citations, etc? I am not familiar with any of the topics 32slim32 wrote about, but you did say "no, yours is... you are obviously totally clueless..." but you provide NO proof you actually no about it yourself. So, instead of calling the author 32slim32 an ignorant republican, you should give some backing behind your opinions before you look like an "ignorant liberal."