Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MSM and the farm bill...

One of the last remaining ogres in the closet for extremists has been the Mainstream Media (MSM). Which is why many were delighted with the great kerfluffle over John McCain and the Not Very Unattractive Lobbyist. The much despised NYT was roundly booed from rafters around the nation. And if you can't connect the dots, the NYT constitutes the focal point of the MSM.

So editorial calls to reform the Farm Bill were dismissed by the agents of status quo and most farmers as another attempt by liberal eggheads to interfere in something about which they were essentially clueless.

Well, there is some cluelessness running loose, but it may not be the MSM.
The editorial map also deflates recent claims that criticism of status quo subsidies amount to little more than uninformed complaining by out of touch elites far removed, geographically and intellectually, from the realities of “production agriculture.” Senate Agriculture Committee member Kent Conrad (D-ND) told the Bismarck Tribune “We're also fighting against an East Coast media that simply doesn't understand farming and is encouraging opposition to the farm bill.” Back in August, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson (D-MN) informed Delta Farm Press that “those of us in farm country don’t know about the big city and we aren’t about to tell them what to do. But these big-city editorial writers and others don’t have a clue about agriculture and they should keep out of our business. We’d all be better off.”

As the map makes clear, some of the strongest criticism of agri-business as usual farm subsidies has arisen from the heart of farm country itself, in California, the Midwest, the Mountain West and the South. Nor is it only editorial boards that think an overhaul of agriculture policy is past due. A recent poll commissioned by Oxfam America in several states including Iowa, Colorado, and Minnesota shows that 60 percent of voters believe the Farm Bill needs reform. [More]
What has fascinated me is the wide political spectrum calling for reform. When the SF Chronicle and WSJ all want the farm bill changed fundamentally, this is not a "wing" phenomenon. (Can you have a "middle wing", BTW?)

I have also noticed an attitude of "farmers should write the farm bill" is widespread. This interesting approach would be a hoot if it spread to other legislation. Why not let doctors write the health bills, and generals write the defense bill, and teachers write the education bills?

The same reason applies - because the people who foot the bill get to say what the rules are - not those who get the checks.

One final note to all those who loudly point out out the farm bill loot mostly goes to food stamps, etc. Are you suggesting a we should take those programs out of the farm bill?

I thought not.

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