Posted by Sheldon Rampton on December 23, 2003

After Seattle, Washington TV station KIRO-TV aired an investigation last year into the cattle industry's continuing sale of downer cows for human consumption, the station came under attack from the industry as well as state and national government regulators. According to KIRO reporter Chris Halsne, "The USDA public relations folks in Washington DC are spinning 'pure' fantasy to imply KIRO-TV played 'gotcha journalism.' Perhaps, the USDA didn't want proof that their meat inspectors failed repeatedly to perform a proper inspection of downer cows outside a slaughterhouse in Chehalis. ... Big-money beef and dairy promoters are out to protect themselves, their industry, their profits and their political interests by silencing future journalists who dare question them." KIRO's investigative team found that "meat from dying, sick or diseased cows" is "getting into your food." After the report aired, a "host of state agencies" spent "tax money in a campaign to discredit our findings." KIRO stands by its story, even though "The Washington Beef and Dairy Commissions have been conducting a public relations campaign, criticizing KIRO-TV for broadcasting the stories of downer cows you just saw. You may not know, but you're paying for this government agency to attack our investigation."

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