Red Meat

By this time, most Americans who follow the news–or, in the alternative, Fox– have encountered the great meat hoax. It will undoubtedly go into the history books next to those non-existent “death panels” that Republicans insisted were part of the Affordable Care Act.

In case you’ve been vacationing under a rock somewhere, here’s the short version. When President Biden announced his climate plans, a garbage story from the routinely garbage-y Daily Mail somehow conflated those plans with a 2020 research study that was totally unconnected. The study had considered various methods of combatting climate change, and identified a drastic reduction in meat consumption as good for the environment.

Many pundits, including Paul Krugman, reported on that article, and on what happened next.

Among other things [the Daily Mail] took the most extreme scenario from a University of Michigan study of how reduced meat consumption could affect greenhouse gas emissions — a study released in January 2020 that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Biden plans. The Daily Mail also used a deceptive graphic to make it seem as if this was an actual administration proposal.

American right-wing pundits and politicians then ran with it. Did they actually believe the nonsense they were spouting? Well, Kudlow’s apparent belief that beer is made with meat is arguably a point in his favor, an indication that he’s genuinely clueless rather than merely cynical.

The reference to Kudlow (I vote for clueless) was a response to his laughable assertion (on Fox, of course) that Biden would soon have Americans drinking beer made from plants. (As one wag asked, “What’s next? Fruit based orange juice?”)  Twitter and Facebook users wondered what Kudlow thought beer is currently made from.

What’s clear, however, is that neither Kudlow nor other Republicans touting an imaginary war on meat saw any need to check out their story, felt any concern that their audience — Fox News viewers, Republican voters — would find the claim that Joe Biden is coming for their red meat implausible.

Krugman has an answer to the question why Republicans don’t bother to fact-check: he suggests that facts are incompatible with the GOP’s goal to define Democrats as “woke feminist vegetarians who don’t share the values of Real Americans.” He cites the right’s constant yammering about “cancel culture” and persistent demonization of Democratic women of color, along with the continual portrayal of Biden– a white male senior citizen–as nothing but a passive puppet.

Right-wing media are pushing this narrative nonstop. According to a Morning Consult poll last month, more Republicans said they’d heard “a lot” about the move to withdraw some Dr. Seuss books than said the same about Biden’s huge Covid-19 relief bill.

Talk about your alternate realities! (Along the same lines, Tucker Carlson recently told Fox viewers that they should “report” parents of children wearing masks, because making your child wear a mask equates to child abuse.)

One commenter on this blog opined that the real pandemic in this country isn’t COVID; it’s insanity. Purveyors of snark clearly agree. As a columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote (after emphasizing that neither Biden nor his administration had suggested a plan to reduce or limit the consumption of red meat):

But because the Daily Mail, a chronically wrong British tabloid, connected the Michigan study to Biden’s climate plan, America’s right-wing media ecosystem erupted over the weekend in a perverse display of meat-rage. It was a veritable beef freak out. Baseless burger bollocks.

Fox News, the network where facts go to die, ran a graphic featuring a double cheeseburger under the titles “Up In Your Grill” and “Biden’s Climate Requirements.” The graphic’s burger-adjacent text included the lines: “CUT 90% OF RED MEAT FROM DIET”; “MAX 4 LBS PER YEAR”; and “ONE BURGER PER MONTH.”


We can laugh at Larry Kudlow’s apparent ignorance about the origin of beer and we can shake our heads over the GOP’s increasing distance from sanity, but the willingness of partisans to believe and spread utter nonsense is frightening. It’s true that a significant percentage of Americans has always been credulous–think of those who panicked listening to Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds–but we have never before had a major political party  composed in large part of credulous citizens willing to believe “leaders” who routinely manufacture “red meat”–or attacks on red meat–for their consumption.

A disloyal opposition is dangerous.


  1. And these crazies carry guns. And their dear leader may get back on Facebook and twitter. This crazy crap is far from over.

  2. To patmmcc’s excellent point, I have commented (railed) here about the inherent evil embedded in Facebook’s business model. Zuckerberg allowing the former guy back on his platform would be proof positive they cannot maintain revenue growth without the boost they get from spreading lies and disinformation. They’re much more dangerous than FOX, and more pervasive.

    I don’t believe Twitter will do so as they have a policy of keeping suspended accounts suspended permanently, but you never know.

  3. Does anyone else find it interesting that, no matter how bizarre a story they tell, their audience swallows it hook, line, and sinker. What kind of mindset does it take to be so gullible? As patmcc points out, these people carry guns. In fact they carry a LOT of guns. Small wonder we now have to label our satire.

  4. About time for me to clang my “teach critical thinking” chime…

  5. Peggy,
    Those people believe in sky fairies! They’ll believe anything as long as it makes us liberals freak out. We need to point and laugh at them until they shut up and crawl back under that rock where they came from. Honest to Goodness!

  6. Actually, I’ve been honoring this ignorance by avoiding it completely on Facebook and the TV. It’s called “unfriend” and an “off button.”

    I recently came across a post on the reliably self-promoting professional media site called LinkedIn. It’s usually fluff pieces from marketers and PR people. Occasionally, I will share a story from the World Economic Forum about ingeniously creative ways of doing things. Nobody is interested.

    The other day, someone posted a picture of a K-9 female officer holding the thin blue line American flag and her German Shephard barking ferociously at it. The poster said it was the “greatest photo he’s ever seen.”

    I commented that it was great propaganda but could have been better had the female officer been black instead. Three days later, they are still arguing under my post about racism in the USA. Some CEOs are questioning PhDs — arguing for proof of systemic racism.

    Yesterday, for World Press Freedom Day, our US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was in Europe telling the world how the USA supports the free press and how essential it is to an open democracy, what hypocritical bullshit and propaganda seeing that Julian Assange is being held in a British maximum security prison for holding the most powerful country accountable for war crimes. His whistleblower has done jail time and was held in contempt for not lying under oath to a magistrate. None of the international war criminals have faced a single day in jail. Not even been charged. To add context, the RSF ranks the USA 44th in the globe for press freedom.

    So, do you want to know why Americans are gullible enough to believe our government would cancel red meat? They’ve been lied to so often by seemingly credible people that nothing is worth believing coming from any of them. Regardless of their title or how well they wear their suit and tie.

  7. My personal thoughts on this subject began with the fact that eating less red meat would mean millions more cows breathing our oxygen which would also be lessened due to using all forms of plant life to create foods to replace meat. Those cows would be depositing immeasurable amounts of manure which produce gasses going into our dwindling oxygen levels. We must include the Republicans who fear too many wind towers will make the earth spin faster and all those solar panels will steal too much heat from the sun. Summed up; all of this would result in bypassing the “Soylent Green” era and move directly to total destruction of life as we know it on planet earth.

    Personally; I would hate to think of the closing of Texas Roadhouse, my favorite steak house, just sayin’

  8. Republicans have no use for truth because it doesn’t serve their position. Their base is only interested in reasons why the dreaded liberals are wrong, blame, and they will happily repeat endlessly any such fodder they are fed. No thinking is required on anyone’s part including Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.

    Their interest in politics has nothing to do with public service. It’s just a celebrity opportunity for them and pays as well as most celebrity positions nowadays. They just hang in there until their wealth exceeds their wildest dreams and then they retire to the golf course.

    I think that most of them know that they represent the end of their line but the future is just not their concern with politics, life, and civilization. That explains why they are very happy to ignore science aimed at sustainable human civilization.

    It’s not about being honorable, it’s about making the most money possible just by keeping your name up in the lights.

  9. Well Todd,

    I think you can find a better example than Julian Assange!

    Assange and his thinking was the enemy of my enemy is my friend? In his mind he might’ve thought himself a freedom fighter and a truth teller, but, he still broke many laws peddling stolen information. And then, as the Ecuadorian embassy gave him diplomatic credentials therefore diplomatic immunity and tried to give him a post in Russia, He capitulated, chickened out, it doesn’t look so good for a self perceived truth teller!

    The enemy of the West, a friend to Assange, and for someone who considered themselves a freedom fighter turned a blind eye to his Russian friend and benefactors onslaught against human rights! So, I don’t think he’s a very good example of freedom of the press!

    Politics is a human game, and, depending on what lens you look at it through, you are either a freedom fighter, a truth teller, a patriot, or, an enemy of the state in every way shape and form!

    Julian drank his own Kool-Aid, and so did Edward Snowden for that matter. And just as Snowden ended up in Russia, Assange was concerned about being arrested once he stepped out of the Ecuadorian embassy. Quite interesting, and, Bradley/Chelsea Manning was kind of in the same boat, a person who was used and abused by others with an agenda.

    I do find it fascinating that Assange Roils about Imperial humanism, but then keeps his lot thrown in with a state who rounds up nonthreatening citizens and political adversaries and throws them in prison! So, I can’t say that he’s a good guy? He has a platform that reaches many, but he refuses to point it in all directions, just a couple of specific predetermined ones. That is a red flag right there.

    Why hide behind embassy walls or diplomatic chicanery, at least Manning had the stones to go to prison, and Vladimir Putins biggest nightmare Alexei Navalny will likely die in prison for speaking truth to power! Manning and Navalny make Snowden and Assange look like 2 cowardly guttersnipe’s.

    To the rest of Sheila’s article, it was obvious from the start that Donald Trump was a giant right wing middle finger for everyone who had some sort of ethnic, racial or imagined grievance in an alternate reality made up of alternate facts, like the bizarro world!

    Willful ignorance is the illness, so is self-delusion! It’s a mental derangement that’s so strong, reality is whatever is imagined, and never what actually exists!

  10. I went to a conference on world poverty in the 70’s. We ate vegetarian all weekend. I was not hungry. It is true that if we ate far less red meat, we could reduce methane which is a powerful contriubutor to global warming. At the conference, the assertion was that if we grew and ate more soy and less meat, no one would go hungry. That’s not true. Corrupt governments deprive their citizens of financial security, even their basic needs.

    The other option is to find a way to capture methane and find productive ways to use it.

    And yes, Lester, my sister a retired teacher would agree with you that kids need to be taught critical thinking. Teaching to a test tends to undermine that. Of course, some parents also undermine it. Like the song in South Pacific says, you have to be taught to hate.

    Republicans must be running scared. Why else would they need to spin all this delusional propaganda, conspiracy theories, and try to restrict voting? They are not smart enough to diversify their base. They are stuck in a white ghetto and perhaps, a rural ghetto.

  11. Really it comes down to Marketing, i.e., the McMega Media know their audience and will pander to it.

    if it sells, it is profitable for them. If a TV personality’s ratings go into the toilet they will be cancelled, not because they told and retold lies.

    The Reactionary Right Wing GOP must no matter if it is false promote the narrative of FEAR, and Persecution.

    “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Liz Cheney tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

    Liz Cheney who is no AOC by a long shot, is now a target for The Trump Wing of the GOP. The Trumper’s must now manufacture, massage and Market the Big Lie of a Stolen Election, like “The Noble Cause” of the Confederacy. The litmus test for today’s GOP is that the Election was Stolen.

  12. Monotonous – talk about false equivalency – Liz Cheney and AOC? AOC represents one of the most DEM districts in the US and can say/do anything she wants and have no fear of nothing. She and “the squad” crew/followers almost single handedly cost the DEMs 9 House seats in the 2020 election and will, no doubt, turn the House over to the GOP in 2020. Ms. Cheney is risking her entire career/legacy in a bright red state to stand up to the mob. Give me a break…

  13. Is that the same clueless Larry Kudlow who served as Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council? All things being relative, he is a certified intellectual compared to his former boss. Thank god Trump shared with his political hires an infinitely small interest in government or that gang of crazies might have done even a lot more damage.

    What is the point of fact checking anything when the audience you are reaching out to will believe whatever you say? Their abysmal ignorance reflects that of their Republican leaders and is mostly a confirmation of firmly held but distorted biases obtained from Fox in the form of breaking news.

    We must double down on our efforts to educate people because democracy can not hold its own when the ignorati become the majority. At this moment, they are dangerously close to that goal and must be stopped at all costs. Refrigerator Salesman Reagan initiated and personified the “Dumbing Down of America,” the most successful program that Republicans have ever sponsored. Need I present evidence?

  14. John needs to stick with biblical quotes because his facts about Assange have been fed to him by the MIC/IC, who to this day refuse to hold their own accountable for committing international war crimes. We still have Guantanomo Bay open and CIA black sites worldwide where we can torture human beings we deem threatening but have committed no crimes.

    Learn the truth about Ecuador as well. Google Lenin Moreno and the now-deceased casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson. Lenin sold out the people of Ecuador and Julian Assange. Sheldon funded the spying on Assange while in the Embassy (also violating international law).

    John also might want to read Nils Melzer’s new book once translated from German to English. Nils is a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, called in to review Assange’s case.

    I don’t like my friends to be misinformed by the junk pedaled from our own state through our newspapers of record (state-propaganda). The other consequence of the Trump years, the global community has grown a set of testicles and doesn’t like being bullied by the US. Though their numbers are small, they are speaking out.

    A red line was drawn last December — call it a tipping point if you will. Times are a-changing.

  15. The GOP keeps trying to sweep back the tides and it’s just getting tiresome to watch. They pine away for a mythical past that never existed- Red meat at every meal! Women were happy at home! BIPOC didn’t exist and neither did LGBTQ! Big V-8s ruled the roads and no one cared about emissions! Taxes were nonexistent and regulations scarce! The only people who were poor chose to be poor! And those poor people could rely on the magnanimous goodness of the White Male to make everything better! Every cop was Andy Griffith and every wife Donna Reed! Music was wholesome!

    I don’t know how one kills a myth but it’s time for this one to go away.

  16. Todd,

    I agree Todd, it is pick your poison. But, what poison is less toxic? Anyone connected to the Russians, I cast a suspicious eye at. I think you’ve read enough of my comments to know I’m not putting the United States on a pedestal, not when it comes to what has been done to members of my family and other people of my ethnic makeup. Does the United States stand on moral high ground? Absolutely not! The Germans got their idea of eugenics from Britain and the United States! They also turned back the Jews during the second world war, sending them to certain death. Wiping out the native inhabitants of this land, and of course enslaving whole races of people to work for nothing as inhuman pack mules.

    But that doesn’t mean Julian Assange isn’t a creep nor does it mean that Russia or the USA for that matter, should be given a pass on their dirty deeds! I do plenty of reading Todd, and you probably are aware of that because of my statements. But, what is actually better than Russia, or, the United States, or, China? I think it’s best to deal with the devil you know.

  17. Lester, I gather you did not get my point concerning AOC and Cheney. Cheney is by a long shot not where AOC is politically. Yet, for the Trump Wing of the GOP Liz is being treated like she is.

  18. Peggy and Pat: “Does anyone else find it interesting that, no matter how bizarre a story they tell, their audience swallows it hook, line, and sinker. What kind of mindset does it take to be so gullible? As patmcc points out, these people carry guns. In fact they carry a LOT of guns. Small wonder we now have to label our satire.”
    This book is in neither of my local libraries, but I think it might make a good read:
    “Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance,” by Robert Protcor

  19. Robin Riebsomer…I have several friends from small towns in Michigan who attended grade school and high school, married their high school sweethearts and have never left their small towns. They are big supporters of, swear by you know who, and wholeheartedly believe all the lies he has told.

    There is no talking to them to enlighten them. I think they aspire to be what his image suggests, a very rich man living the high life, a billionaire, who also became president, the best president we ever had according to them. They embrace that fairy tale because it seems so much better than their boring, mundane lives. I have distanced myself from most of them because no matter what proof you show, they don’t believe it.

    I believe that since white folks are very soon, if not already, the minority race in America, that is what my friends and pretty much all the Republicans these days fear the most, . They cannot bear to think they lost out to blacks, latinos, hispanics, native americans or asians. I prefer to embrace the melting pot that epitomizes all of us. I pity them, but more so, am scared for the future of this country.

  20. And now for the lighter side – I almost forgot about Kudlow’s “beer made from plants”. Thank you for reminding me.

    So I am taking partners in my new get-rich-selling-to-Trumpsters schemes –

    1) Buy up lots of Egri Bikaver and sell it with a translated label “Bull’s Blood” – a real Man’s drink.
    Of course there is the problem that someone might figure out that it is wine, and Hungarian at that (very “liberal”) – but that leads to

    2) Let’s brew beer with meat in it – a little beef or pork won’t kill the yeast. The “Biden won’t make us drink plant-based beer” (BWMUDPBB) would sell for sure (maybe we need a better name – can’t use “Trump Beer”, he’d want 99.999% and wouldn’t pay the bills – maybe just Meat Beer or America’s Ale, with beef or pork varieties)

    I never did get that job as a chemist at Stroh’s in the ’70s, but now is my chance –
    Any takers?

    Sorry – just found the reality of the Trumpsters to be too depressing. 8)>

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