February 13, 2005

Stickin' it to the LA Times (tip to Pejman)

This is a great column from a blogger published in the LA Times criticizing the Times.

Just to be clear, the FDA makes sure that there's nothing misleading about food package and labels; the FCC makes sure that commercials don't overstate claims about their products; no busy-body government agency exists to make sure that major regional, national and international newspapers or news agencies (AP, Reuters) are telling factual information.

The FCC can fine a radio station many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for saying 'fuck' on the air - which is allowable in PG-13 movies - but there's absolutely no fine As long as we're stuck with an overly large, intrusive government, at least it ought to be fair about whom it polices. I fail to see how I am better served if the government blocks the Got Milk? people for overstating the good effects of milk in an ad but lets the New York Times, AP, Reuters and the rest continue to misreport the news.

Dave Barry wrote in one of his books ('Dave Barry Hits Below The beltway') about California prune producers that tried to rename their product dried plums, since the latter sounds better. They had to apply to the Office of Food Labeling in order to name their own product. Yes, that's right; they had to ASK permission to name their own product. Worse than that, the OFL took months and didn't even respond to the request. The prune people called in some favors and requests and got a politician to request an update on the status. The OFL wrote back asking for extensive studies on the impact, marketing and health implications of the request. Now let's all remember, prunes ARE fucking dried plums. In order to get permission to call dried plums 'dried plums,' the producers had to wait months before being asked to fund several studies on the impact of that decision.

Dried plums can't be called dried plums, and yet, the LA Times can assert that Paul Bremer cowardly slinked away from Iraq without a farewell speech, when in fact his farewell speech was re-broadcast on CNN. Seems like either the newspapers need to get regulated or the economy needs to be liberated. I unreservedly prefer the latter, but a lot of people seem to think that newspapers are trustworthy and businesses aren't.


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