St. Louis television station KMOV (Channel 4) did an extraordinary disservice to viewers on March 7. Anchor Sharon Reed read, in her usual dramatic style, this promo at 6:20 p.m.: “Tonight at 10, tainted beef on local store shelves. News 4 exposing a major alert that your family needs to know about before your next meal. Tonight at 10.”
If it’s so important, tell us now … at dinnertime, no less. It was irresponsible at best. Yet this story that was so vital did not air until 10:07 p.m. and was just 22 seconds long.
Here is the word-for-word transcript of the story Channel 4 indicated was so important (it was read by Steve Sevard, and the transcript is correct in that he said “Rite” but meant “Rite-aid”): “News 4’s got a new warning tonight. Tainted beef may have been sold in stores in both Missouri and Illinois. The USDA now says a recent beef recall from a meat producer called Rancho Feeding Corporation may extend to as many as 35 states. The beef may have been used in products sold at retailers that include 7-11, Familiy Dollar, Rite and Walgreens.
So what makes this worse is a lack of any specific information – and the fact it appears to be old news. When was the recall first issued? What products might the beef be in? Are there any dates we should know about? This Channel 4 tactic of making almost every story sound urgent is getting old. Let’s hope viewers wise up and get their news elsewhere.