H1N1 Newspeak

Worldwide pork sales have collapsed due to swine flu, and agribusiness is panicking. In response, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just released this statement:

Since last spring and the onset of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza outbreak in humans, USDA has consistently asked that the media stop calling this “novel” pandemic virus “swine flu.” By continuing to mislabel the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus that is affecting human populations around the world, the media is causing undue and undeserved harm to America’s agriculture industry, especially to pork producers.

It’s clear that big media is taking its marching orders from Vilsack. Today, Time magazine released an article calling swine flu a “misnomer” and “the cause of many of the pork industry’s woes.”

Bullshit. Swine flu may be causing the pork industry great harm, but the term is certainly not a misnomer. It’s indisputably the global pork industry that has caused this flu virus to mutate into existence. So here we have Vilsack and Time Magazine trying to perpetuate H1N1 Newspeak, while assigning blame for the virus anywhere but the pork industry.

Not gonna work. We’ve entered an era in which neither the USDA nor a few media heavyweights can suppress a key element of a news story. The question this article raises is: why is Time to eager so side with big pork? (Thanks, Bea & Jessica.)