Detecting corporate media bias
often requires us to discern omissions. For example, consider how the recent
pet food recall was reported. Los Angeles
Times staff writer Kimi Yoshino penned an article (�Recall of pet food
alarms owners�) on March 19 that was widely syndicated.
In the piece (which was consistent
with almost all corporate media accounts), readers learned what brands were in
question, how many animals had been affected, and (of course) that the company�s
stock has plummeted. Yoshino also interviewed a handful of pet owners [sic], including Victoria Levy, who declared: �That�s so disturbing.
When they put food on the shelves, you trust that it�s safe.�
When they put food on the shelves, you trust that it�s
This is where the concept of �omissions�
kicks in because what the Los Angeles
Times and its ilk opted to ignore is this: As tragic as the animal deaths
caused by the tainted �food� are, a small number of contaminated cans is not
really the issue when it comes to pet food. In an industry dominated by
multi-nationals like Nestl�, Heinz, Colgate-Palmolive, and Procter &
Gamble, repulsiveness should come as no surprise.
�What most consumers don�t know is
that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture
industries,� explains the Animal Protection Institute. �Pet food provides a
market for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered �unfit for human
consumption,� and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste
includes intestines, udders, esophagi, and possibly diseased and cancerous
If you question the motives of an animal �protection� group, here�s what the Pet Food
Institute (the trade association of pet food manufacturers) has to say: �The
growth of the pet food industry not only provided pet owners with better foods
for their pets, but also created profitable additional markets for American
farm products and for the byproducts of the meat packing, poultry, and other
food industries which prepare food for human consumption.
In a particularly ugly twist,
euthanized pets are often themselves boiled and used to make cosmetics,
fertilizer, gelatin, pharmaceuticals, and yes, pet food (with traces of sodium
pentobarbital for added flavor). �When you read pet-food labels and it says
meat or bone meal, that�s what it is: cooked and converted animals, including
some dogs and cats,� explains Eileen Layne of the California Veterinary Medical
One more time . . . and this time
with feeling: �When they put food on the shelves, you trust that it�s safe?�
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net.