Sometimes when a media outlet chooses sensationalism and talking points over journalism and insight, pushback is necessary. Minnesota corn farmers stepped up and reached out to correct misinformation and untruths contained in an ethanol attack piece published by the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Responding directly to media hatchet jobs isn’t always necessary — often it’s best to let agenda-driven stories like this one flame out on their own — but the AP piece got so much wrong (claims such as farmers “plowing up pristine prairies,” and “raping the land” were cringe-worthy) and came at such a suspect time (the Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce a reduction in ethanol-blending goals in the Renewable Fuels Standard, a major victory for Big Oil) that a strong response was necessary.
Here is a sample of the response in Minnesota:
- MinnesotaCornerstone.com fact-checked the AP story before it was even published.
- Minnesota Corn Growers Association president and Goodhue County farmer Ryan Buck published a commentary in the Star Tribune.
- Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council chair and Clarks Grove farmer Jerry Demmer wrote a letter to the editor in the Albert Lea Tribune. The Tribune also published it’s own editorial refuting the AP piece.
- Dale Busch, a corn farmer in St. James, spoke with KEYC TV in Mankato to refute many of the stories false claims. Here’s the video:
- Corn farmers and renewable fuels supporters spoke with the Grand Forks Herald and Winona Daily News for local stories focusing on corn and ethanol. The Worthington Daily Globe and Marshall Independent also interviewed corn farmers for local stories, but have not published yet.
- The AP bureau in Minnesota did a local sidebar to the national ethanol story and spoke with a corn farmer in Red Lake Falls.
- A Facebook post directing people to the MinnesotaCornerstone.com fact check post was viewed by over 80,000 people.
- MCGA fact checked the story throughout the week via Twitter using the hashtag #APFactCheck
- MCGA executive director Tim Gerlach interviewed on WCCO radio.
Corn farmers and other media throughout the nation also pushed back. Here is a sample:
- Fuels America did a fact check blog post.
- Even one of the farmers interviewed in the AP story thought it was misleading and inaccurate.
- Farm Policy Facts also weighed in with a fact check.
- Chris Clayton at the Progressive Farmer blog posted a smart and thoughtful response to the AP attack
- Even the AP published a story highlighting the pushback it was receiving from corn farmers and renewable fuels supporters.