Below we have an excerpt from a piece written recently by National Public Radio’s ombudsman, in response to listener feedback. Listeners wondered why reporters and commentators on a publicly funded radio network would express opinions that cast doubt the wisdom of government policy and seemed to ignore what they viewed as established consensus among the public health community. An interesting question indeed:
“When it comes to raw milk, even a simple story can turn sour on some listeners. There’s an ongoing controversy over raw milk’s safety. Proponents hail its taste and nutrients. Adversaries worry about deadly food-borne diseases. Government regulators are caught in between, accused of being too lax, too stiff or too in bed with Big Dairy.
Then there is NPR. Its science and health reporters are familiar with the debate; you can find their ongoing coverage primarily on The Salt, NPR’s food blog. But concerns didn’t reach me untilBonny Wolf, a regular food commentator for NPR, did a short piece for Weekend Edition Sunday in which she described her first sip.
“It didn’t taste like a bad idea. It tasted like milk – fresh, rich milk,” she said.
That approving statement—and the commentary that followed—left some listeners feeling as though Wolf did the audience a dangerous disservice.”How could this qualify as reporting on NPR?,” wrote Jo Ann Lutz from Durham, NC. “The article implied that the government is wrong to require milk to be pasteurized and that the nutrients in raw milk are very important.”
“Where were the facts?,” Lutz added. “What are the illnesses the government is worried about?”…”