Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 5, 2012

Pink Slime — Plus, the Return of Rick Perry!

Perry Pink Slime Thumb

When the public found out last week that most of the country’s beef has ammonia-infused pink slime in it, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his buddy Rick from Texas—looking to stick up for their constituents in the beef industry—headed over to the pink slime factory in Nebraska so they could pose for some damage-controlling photographs. They needed to reassure the wider public that they still know how to get to the bottom of things.

As you can see, Gov. Brownback is taking the matter into his own hands, showing those B-list politicos how to have a moment of reflection when it really counts.

To make a convincing case that pink slime = beef, it’s perfectly sensible to lay out a sampling of choice cuts on butchers’ blocks so the public can make the visual association between cow paste and their local grocer. Unfortunately, there’s a real danger that all these slabs of raw meat will make men in suits come off looking too much like hungry savages.

To civilize, try dressing up in the latest science and progress garb in order to help project a confident air of quality and control.

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And nothing says “Dude it’s beef” like complex, futuristic machinery.

The strongest reassurance, of course, that pink slime is no big deal comes from images of these guys actually eating pink slime burger. Who needs the color test when you have the always conclusive taste test? Luckily, this is where having a seasoned Texan in front of the cameras really cuts the mustard. Do it, dude! We’ll totally put it up on YouTube.

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But at the moment of truth (below), our good sport Rick Perry sure looks horrified. Kind of like he’s giving it his Texas best to not think about what he just saw churning through all that machinery. To make things worse for Perry, Brownback appears to have slipped away before they fired up the grill. Maybe he saw something unappetizing during that color comparison test.

Oops.

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— Phil Perdue

(photos: Nati Harnik/Associated Press caption 1: Craig Letch, director of food quality and assurance for Beef Products Inc., left, briefs from left: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels and Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy during a tour Thursday of the Beef Products Inc. plant in South Sioux City, Neb., where lean, finely textured beef is made.caption 2 & 3: Craig Letch, director of food quality and assurance for Beef Products Inc. (BPI), left, leads a tour of governors from left: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Thursday, March 29, 2012, through Beef Products Inc.’s plant in South Sioux City, Neb., where the beef product is made. caption 3: Complex machinery fill the area where the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef is made, Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Beef Products Inc.’s plant in South Sioux City, Neb. The governors of Iowa, Texas and Kansas… caption 4:Complex machinery fill the area where the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef is made, Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Beef Products Inc.’s plant in South Sioux City, Neb. The governors of… caption 5: Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes a hamburger that contains the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef, Thursday, March 29, 2012, following a news conference in South Sioux City, Neb. The governors of… caption 6: Texas Gov. Rick Perry eats a hamburger which contains the beef product known as pink slime or lean finely textured beef following a news conference in South Sioux City, Neb., Thursday, March 29, 2012. Earlier, the governors.)

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