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I had the misfortune to stumble across a program called "America Revealed" on my local PBS affiliate tonight. What I saw was a shallow, happy-talk report of America's food industry. Using glitzy GPS tracking of pizza delivery guys and crop dusters, arial photography by ultralight aircraft and skydiving, the down-side of the American food industry is seldom mentioned and only then in passing.

What is revealed in "America Revealed" is the Bush Administration's strategy to weaken PBS come to fruition. What a diservice to the American people! If you happen to stumble across "America Revealed," I recommend you keep on stumbling.


Has PBS gone to the dogs?

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| 89 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 08:14:27 PM PDT

  •  I disagree (10+ / 0-)

    I saw the show and thought it was very well done.

    It's purpose was not tell us how wonderful agribusiness is or how bad it is, the purpose of the show was to show how it works, for better or worse, and I believe it did that vey well.

    In fact, I think some of the shots are very much a turn off to the industry.  Seeing the mass produced, assembly line of steers being fed and then led to slaughter was not something you would see in an "eat more beef" ad.  I doubt that Outback is happy that their 2000 calorie Bloomin' Onion was the example of unhealthy cravability is making their executives smile.

    I teach an advanced placement course in Human Geography, and this show is spot on as to the type of subject matter in the course.  It is about people live in different environments and the processes that make it possible.

    The show dealt, albeit only in small parts, with the problem of corn sugars, obesity, pesticide overuse, the colony collapse among the incredibly vital bee population, etc.

    If you were looking for politics, it was the wrong show.

    Personally, I can't wait to get the DVDs and show it to my class just in time for their AP exam in May.

    •  Negative consequences were merely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quequeg, Agathena

      hinted at. I wasn't the only person to have this reaction. Comments on the "America Revealed" page at were in accord with my reaction.

      I hope you show your class "The Story of Stuff" as well. That's a great illustration of how things work.

      I may tend to see politics because I majored on Politics.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 09:02:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think many people today are aware of the (0+ / 0-)

        threat associated with industrial food and the environmental threat associated with the cattle industry particularly the feed lots.

        "The Story of Stuff" is a great documentary.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 04:09:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is why I wondered about the (0+ / 0-)

          necessity to show how feed lots work if many people already know about them. When I visited Epcot Center, I felt the presentations ended just when I thougt they were getting started. "America Revealed" seemed kinda Epcot to me. I expect more depth from PBS.

          "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

          by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:34:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  PBS is honestly stuck between a rock and a hard (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lily O Lady, Quequeg

        Place. Relying on big corporations for production funding has its cost. And I agree that it's not only sad, but dangerous that our public television system is so at the mercy of big business for its sustainability.

        If you think the show was bad, google America's Heartland whose sponsor is Monsanto.

        I encourage you to check out my soon-to-launched non-profit, formed because many many producers cannot find funding to produce great shows. This hurts PBS in many ways but hurts the American public exponentially.

        You'll notice that we have a show in our "under consideration" line up that is all about fresh, local, sustainable cooking and agriculture. It's called Let's Eat Freshand had a great line up of guests for the discussion part of the show. But the show lacked the funding necessary to get produced.

        Hopefully, ppptv can change that. It's long overdue and unless something changes, America will lose its public television network. Viewers just have so many options for eduction and entertainment now. If PBS cannot begin to attract the under 40 set with any regularity, and give them programming they like and value enough to contribute financially to stations to support, they're toast.

        •  Wow! Thanks for doing something to help (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mdmslle, Quequeg

          Public Television! Agree that PBS is between a rock and a hard place--just where Republicans and coporate America want it. So Democrats need to work to get more public funding for Public TV. If my tax dollars can pay for faith-based abstence only sex ed in schools, why can't go to public TV?

          "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

          by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 08:43:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's replaying here at 3am, so I'll record it and (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quequeg, Larsstephens, oxfdblue, mdmslle

      see -- although from the looks of the rest of the series topics, (#2 is about Transportation, #3 about Electricity / Power, #4 about Manufacturing), I see nothing terribly nefarious in any of it.  

      Perhaps the diarist was thinking of Frontline?

      Anyway - don't forget that PBS sometimes gives a special one year taping license / allowance for educators and classroom viewings, so if you're on a budget you can probably show it to your kids from an off-the-air recording.

      Dear liberal media... the term you're looking for is "Lied".

      by here4tehbeer on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 09:30:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not nefarious-just vacuous, therefore pointless.nt (0+ / 0-)

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:35:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What, because it wasn't concentrating on (0+ / 0-)

          sewage dam failure w/ r / t concentrated animal feeding operations?

          It's aimed at an audience that doesn't know how our major industries work -- transportation, agriculture, power generation.

          Baby steps: first you get 'em interested, then you get 'em to turn over the rocks and look underneath, then you get 'em to care enough to clean up the messes.

          LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 09:52:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Th disturbing thing about this is that it's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      sponsored by Dow Chemical.

      And at every turn there is the celebration of chemicals in our food processing and food chain.

      Now, while I realize this the way it is, what IU find MOST disturbing is that our PUBLIC TELEVISION is in the position to rely of corporate funding to make these programs. And those corporations have commercial interests and often political ones.

      This is a serious problem.

      I just watched it online. An hour of basically Down Chemical telling us that it's great that these processes are used in our food production. There was very little information provided on the other side, except in a very cursory way.

      Now the problem is that we have a chemical company celebrating the chemicals that make processed foods and addictive foods easier to produce and distribute to an increasingly obese population. It was mentioned but there was no alternative offered, even in the discussion.

      Know why?

      It's funded by Dow Chemical.

      THAT is not what public television is supposed to be about. Our underfunding of public television means producers have to raise the money to make the show themselves. When that happens, if you want good production values, you have to rely on big corporations for funding. Corporations are commercial interests and are not in the business of handing over millions of dollars to make TV shows if there is no tangible value to them in it.

      THIS is where we are with American public television and why it may not last another 20 years unless something radically different happens. I'm launching this radically different system late this summer with a debut soft launch at netroots nation.

  •  I like RT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Quequeg, Larsstephens

    then you get a different perspective, and a very liberal one at that.  It is the opposite of Fox news, in both idealogy and substance.

    •  It's disgusting when foreign media... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...covers American news better than our own media. Reagan's repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Rule have destroyed the reputation of our nation's mass media.

      Note that some sources have stated that Obama's FCC eliminated the fairness doctrine in August of last year. Technically, Obama's FCC formally deleted the language that was used to implement the Fairness Doctrine from the Federal Register, the FCC had never enforced the Fairness Doctrine from 1987 (Reagan Administration) to 2011 (Obama Administration).

  •  It was blatant propaganda for industrial food (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ubertar, Lily O Lady, Quequeg

    celebrating feeding corn to cattle. Whoo hoo!

    I was shocked to see it and turned it off immediately.

    Cows, sheep, and other grazing animals are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which those of us who possess only one stomach cannot digest, into food that we can digest. They can do this because they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon (in the case of cows) fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

    Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but in the United States today what is commercially available is almost all feedlot beef. The reason? It’s faster, and so more profitable. Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.

    "Feeding grain to cattle has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization."

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 04:04:31 AM PDT

  •  I did not watch the show so can't comment on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mali muso, mdmslle, Quequeg

    that, but as individuals, we can do more to purchase decent food for ourselves, help farmers, and lessen the demand for grain fed beef and other meats that are produced in cruel manners.

    While I realize that not everyone has access to farmers, a lot of us do. If you want grass fed beef at a reasonable price, search out a local farmer who raises cattle. Go in with friends to split a steer. Legally, you buy it from the farmer and then get it processed. Practically, the farmer takes it to the processor, you pay the farmer and then pay the processor for the slaughter and butchering. The farmer is paid by the pound for the on the hoof weight ( total weight of the animal) and the processor is paid by the pound for the hanging weight (after skin and head, etc have been removed). For me, that has averaged out to about $4-$4.50 a pound for the beef.

    The processor may know a farmer who also raises a few pigs who will sell you a pig. Likewise, look for people locally who raise lambs and chickens.

    If you don't know a farmer who raises animals, shop locally at farmers' markets and you will likely meet farmers who also raise livestock.

    Once you have eaten grass fed beef, you will not go back to grain fed. It does take more effort than running to the local grocery, but the result in taste and health are worth it.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 04:40:25 AM PDT

    •  we're having a lamb raised (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, Quequeg

      my cousin lives out "in the country" and has some land with chickens and a few sheep.  We bought a lamb from a local free range farm and are having him raised at my cousin's place (paying her for the food and care).  Next month it is off to the processor.  Lamb chops, lamb burgers, and roasts to fill the entire freezer, confidence that the meat is not poisoned with chemicals and hormones and also the knowledge that the lamb had a free-ranging, natural life in a big pasture with plenty of room to roam.  We think it's worth the $150 investment.

  •  Propaganda and Bullshit Service ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, mdmslle, BlackSheep1, Quequeg

    Their news is as pro-corporate as any of 'em. I've watched Charlie Rose give fawning interviews to Paul Ryan, Neutron Jack Welch, Jeffrey Immelt and Bill Gates and Nova is sponsored by David Koch.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:05:27 AM PDT

    •  Yes, sadly. There is still some good (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, Quequeg

      programming. American Experience: The Triangle Fire, American Experience: Civilian Conservation Corps, Bill Moyers & Company and more. But this "fair" and "balanced" approach, representing factual disortions as actual fact is a terrible trend. I wanted to call them out on it.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:41:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jacques Pepin is still the man, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and Frontline is still good, but when they ask for donations I want to tell 'em, "Get your money from the corporations, that's where you get your politics."

        The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

        by Azazello on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 08:19:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was expecting to see… (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      …Monsanto and/or ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) as underwriters, was relieved that I didn't, but then saw that Dow was, which is just one step less evil, in my view.

      The insidious nature of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) was hinted at but not named, which makes the program suspect. There was also far too much happy talk from the Kansas farmer about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) to ease my concerns.

      On the other hand, production values were great, and I was impressed that CCD (colony collapse disorder) was discussed and the link to pesticides (such as neonicotinaids, although they weren't specifically mentioned) cited as a potential cause. That there's actually a migratory industry in bee pollination was news to me. I've known about migratory harvesters for years, but not bees.

      •  The migratory life is tough on farms workers, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but even tougher on bees. Treating everything as a commodity is killing our society.

        The slick production values and happy talk seemed insidious to me--more like mind-candy than an informative programming. I much preferred Food, Inc. and The Botany of Desire.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 08:52:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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