All of those in animal agriculture production need to be concerned about how the industry is portrayed in the mainstream media, and a recent report by KMPH Fox 26, a television station that serves the Fresno, California, area is a prime example of why.
On its website, KMPH provides a report on the latest court proceeding involving two members of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). The headline itself, “Judge grands subpoena of Foster Farms after activist chicken rescue,” hints at a bias toward the animal rights activists and a bias against Foster Farms, which is the largest broiler and turkey producer in the western United States.
‘Rescue’ term used too freely
Speaking as someone who has both covered court news and supervised reporters who cover court news, I can say that this is not good reporting.
The two suspects, Alexandra Paul and Alicia Santurio, currently face theft charges for allegedly removing two chickens from a truck. Those chickens were being raised for Foster Farms.
Did you get that I used the phrase “allegedly removing” in the previous paragraph. That was very deliberate.
The use of the word “allegedly” removes all assumption that the suspect is either guilty or innocent. And the phrase “removed” does not imply either theft, of which the two women are accused, or rescue, which the DxE folks like to use and KMPH repeated.
And repeat they did.
In addition to using the word “rescue” in the headline, that word, or a variation of it was used five times in a brief 10-sentence report. The word “allegedly” was never used.
You can bet your bottom dollar that had KMPH had used words like “theft” or “stole” as freely as reporter Michael Tellez did with “rescue,” DxE would be raising quite a stink. Incidentally, the word “theft” was only used once to describe the charges filed against Paul and Santurio. And of course “rescue” was used in that same sentence.
We’ve all heard the phrase “innocent until proven guilty,” but it seems like KMPH is taking that phrase a little too literally and, if anything, trying to make Foster Farms look like the guilty ones.
And people wonder why nobody trusts the mainstream media to be impartial and truthful.
KMPH, you can and should do better.