April 11, 2012

Iowa Gov. Branstad Attacks ‘Shadowy’ Bloggers Exposing Pink Slime, Says Asking About Industry Cash Is A ‘Smear’

Pink slime, the ammonia-treated filler substance made with beef scraps, was once reserved for dog food before corrupted regulators changed the rules. Many Americans are demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture force food dealers to reveal which products include pink slime. But the beef industry’s lobbyists are fighting back, as my colleague Lee Fang explained.

One outspoken advocate for pink slime is Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R). In an interview with Marketplace this morning, Branstad said there was a “vicious smear campaign” against pink slime run by “shadowy” social media. When asked about the $180,000 in campaign contributions he’s gotten from the beef industry over the past couple years, he simply wrote it off as a smear:

Hobson: Now I can’t see you in person, but I hear you’re wearing a “Dude, it’s beef” t-shirt?

Branstad: That’s right, given to me by Lt. Gov. Sheehy from Nebraska when we had the big meeting out there with BPI and went through and showed that it’s a very good, clean, USDA-approved process that provides this lean, finely textured beef. This is a very positive campaign to get the truth out, and to counter the vicious smear campaign that’s been conducted.

Hobson: Well who’s running this “vicious smear campaign?”

Branstad: You know, you’ve got a celebrity chef; you’ve got some folks that have traditionally been against the consumption of meat. We’ve asked the agriculture committee in Congress to look into it and see if they can find out more. But a lot of this has been done, kind of a shadowy thing using the social network to get that out there. […]

Hobson: Now, some people are going to hear you say this and say, “Wait a minute — Gov. Branstad is just sticking up for an industry that’s important to his state and that donated $180,000 to his campaign over the last two years.” How do you respond to that?

Branstad: Well, that’s what happens when you confront people with the facts, they tend to attack the people that are delivering the message. I as governor certainly am going to fight for jobs in my state, and I believe in agriculture and I believe in the beef industry. We are fighting back with the truth and with scientific evidence, and the only thing they’ll do is personally attack and use smear tactics. That tells you a lot about the character of the people conducting the smear campaign, doesn’t it?


Listen to the interview with Branstad:


It’s telling that Branstad simply disregards questions about his campaign’s funders as part of a “smear campaign.” The governor has a responsibility to approach the address the issue and not simply seek to tar the people pointing out inconvenient facts about pink slime.

  • eps62

    Sorry, Branstad is a Republican.

  • kristimg

    The last bit of this article just confirms what the Gov. said. He is standing up for his state, jobs, and a product he believes in. Why do people have to suggest ulterior motives to that? Recieving campaign donations does not negate someone for actually standing up for what he believes is right. Instead of looking into WHY this product may deserve to be championed, this article is all about smearing his motives. Instead of getting the facts about a product, this article degrades his principles.

    • guest

      UH, what principles? Wonder how much of this stuff he eats? How about touring the plant and taking a big bite right there?

  • Brentj94

    Have never heard anything positive come from a liberal. Everything they say is always putting someone or something down. And they never talk about the millions Obama is getting from Hollywood and Buffet.

    • guest

      That’s because money is all you hear. Let the people eat, drink, breathe all our pollution. When they become ill just deny them healthcare, after all, they’re just stupid Liberals. The death panels for the masses.

  • Branstad’s hypocrisy filter is broken.


    “kristimg” is right on point! What scientific evidence does the “anti” LFTB side have? A disgruntled USDA employee who hasn’t worked there in YEARS, a celebrity chef who’s been cited as having unsanitary conditions in his kitchen, and a news reporter who dismissed every credible food scientist that he contacted when he couldn’t get them to say that this was an unsafe, unnutricious, product. People are running scared instead of getting the facts. It has nothing to do with politics. Midwesterners know agriculture. It’s what we do and our political representatives are expected to tell the truth. When they do, they get criticized for taking campaign contributions. Give me a break! Reality check, people! Agriculture is big business in the midwest & I can’t imagine there are many political figures who don’t get contributions. There were both Democrats and Republicans at the rally supporting this company – it has NOTHING to do with politics! It has to do with TRUTH!

    • guest

      Yall really do stick together don’t you. We know you’re part of the deal.

  • Joshua H

    This article is just another one of the “shadowy thing” Branstad is talking about. Branstad fights for what he believes in and you write it off like he was bought out?! Maybe the fact that over 3000+ Americans can lose their job if something doesn’t change is tge motivation for him. Seriously look at the facts.

    Also those pictures that are displayed show mechanically separated chicken, not lean finely textured beef. A good reporter would research the facts before posting a pack of lies…

  • Don Hatland

    This whole article just seems to prove Branstad’s point. First off is he the only politician to receive campaign funds? I bet not. Just like many other bias media sites using a picture of Mechanically separated chicken in a story dealing with LFTB only serves a single purpose of enforcing your bias views on to your readers.

  • Michael

    This picture of pink extrusion is not pink slime,pink slime looks like meat pellets.The pink ooze you are showing is pressed chicken,this is were they grind and press the hole chicken,skin, intestines,etc.then it is bleached and there you have chicken tenders,McNuggets, etc

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