The mainstream media had a grand old time last month reporting that several West Virginia legislators appeared to have been sickened by raw milk, just days after passing legislation to legalize herdshares.
The hosts of the Today Show yukked it up. You could see Matt Lauer’s eyes gleaming as he intoned sarcastically, “It could be just a coincidence….” that several people became sick with what they said was a bad stomach virus after drinking raw milk to celebrate the state passing the landmark legislation.
“Bad stomach virus is not what you want to hear,” commented another host.
As the segment ended, Al Roker pretended to barf (see photo above).
Big print media were only slightly more gentle: “It’s just a strange coincidence, West Virginia pols say,” according to the NY Daily News.
Said Time: “A group of West Virginia lawmakers may have punished their stomachs after having a raw milk party to celebrate loosened restrictions on the drink.:
Chuckled the Chicago Tribune: “Some West Virginia lawmakers and Capitol staffers had a very bad weekend after celebrating the passage of a raw milk bill by drinking some. Now state health officials are investigating whether the milk was to blame for their fever, vomiting and diarrhea, and weighing allegations the raw-milk party broke the law.”
So, now that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has issued a statement saying its investigation into whether raw milk caused the West Virginia illnesses was “inconclusive,” will the Today Show issue an apology for rushing to judgment? What do you think?
The agency described its investigative results this way: “Three ill persons went to an urgent care or emergency room. Based on record review, three patients reported raw milk consumption. No ill persons required overnight hospitalization. No milk was available for testing. Because of the limitations of this investigation, no conclusions can be drawn about the extent of illness, etiologic agent, or the mode of transmission.”
To its credit, the Associated Press, which reported on the illnesses last month, put out a story, which the Washington Times and a few West Virginia publications have posted. Something tells me this followup story won’t get nearly the coverage of the original reports.
(Thanks to Brigitte Ruthman for information about the reaction from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.)