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When reporters get “news” from trade associations

4 Feb

On Saturday, the Mexican government agreed to require its farmers to raise the price of tomatoes they sell in the U.S. — in some cases the prices will more than double — after succumbing


to pressure from the U.S. government. The U.S. Commerce Department pursued the trade deal after the Obama Administration closed the U.S. tomato market to Mexican growers in September to pacify tomato farming operations in Florida, which had lobbied the government to protect its business interests. (You have to read between the lines in this Reuters story to figure out what happened.)

Here’s how Angie Goff of NBC Washington’s News4 Today reported the story on Sunday morning around 9:30:

Do you love tomatoes? If you do, we have some good news for you. Just hearing that the U.S. and Mexico tomato growers reached a tentative deal to keep those prices from doubling. Under the agreement, Mexico can raise the minimum price of tomatoes sold in the U.S. That should help American growers stay competitive. Fresh Produce Association of America warned prices could have spiked without that agreement.

So a deal in which Mexican farmers are forced to double the price of their tomatoes sold in the U.S. is presented as “good news” that will “keep (tomato) prices from doubling.”That’s what happens when reporters get their news from trade associations.


A great new Ethiopian restaurant in Fairfax

25 Apr

I love Sheba, the new Ethiopian restaurant in Fairfax.

Keep in mind that I’m no foodie, and my perspective is extremely narrow. Although I’ve eaten food from Sheba at least a half-dozen times now, it’s always been takeout. So I’ve never actually had a meal inside the restaurant.

And I’ve ordered the same dish every timeĀ  — the vegetarian combination.

Like I said: My perspective is narrow.

The injera (the pancake-looking thing in the photo) is fresh and spongy, and the vegetable dishes — green beans and carrots, lentils, collard greens, cabbage and a couple of other things that I haven’t figured out yet — are delicious and not too greasy.

Tyler Cowen reviewed Sheba recently. He liked the food, but complained about the service. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about the service.

Although I’ve never had a meal inside Sheba, I’m the Foursquare mayor. A proud accomplishment.

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