Special interest catfish lobby’s distortion compulsion


Gavin Gibbons

Published on
June 30, 2011

The USDA’s comment period on proposed catfish regulation has closed and many a journalist is combing through the submissions, sifting through the repetitious rhetoric shoveled onto the record by myriad special interest catfish foot soldiers. Reading the record with an understanding of the regulatory comment process, and an appreciation for the fact that said process is not a vote in which quantity trumps quality, the story is clear:  all mainstream, commercial facets of the agricultural sector submitted comments and along with public policy and legal experts are, without question, uniformly opposed to USDA settling on a protectionist-designed definition that would not improve food safety but would waste taxpayer money and have an overtly negative impact on countless U.S. interests.

Despite speaking loudly, the special interest catfish lobby stands outside the mainstream and alone on this issue, once again.
But today the special interest group’s apparent compulsion to distort the facts and the record is on display with a press release that claims “USDA Reports Overwhelming Support on New Regulations for all Imported, Domestic Catfish.”

Really, reporters? Is that what USDA is reporting? Is that what Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is reporting? Is that what the USDA press office is reporting… overwhelming support on new catfish regulations?

That’s what the catfish lobby is reporting not USDA. Their press release, their words, their continued distortions.

Oh and while we’re noting distortions the contact on the press release is Molly Moore, from Sanderson Strategies a firm hired by the catfish lobby. And on the USDA docket we find comments by one Molly Moore, the very same Molly Moore. But interestingly she fails to identify herself as representing the catfish lobby for which she so clearly works, in fact she cites her organization as “consumer” and notes that as a former journalist she’s been “monitoring Asian media coverage of catfish farming for the past two years.”

Food for thought, reporters.

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