Fox Needs More Elitists

November 30th, 2010 at 11:02 am David Frum | 22 Comments |

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Glenn Beck last night went on a rampage against the new food safety law up for a vote in the Senate today, denouncing the bill as a George Soros attempt to control you. Obviously, that’s completely nuts.

But here’s what is not completely nuts:

The new bill threatens local and small-scale food producers, especially artisanal cheesemakers whose products of course require bacteria.

Food guru Michael Pollan has backed an amendment that would exempt local producers from some of the proposed new law’s strictures.

Walter Olson of Cato directs us to this example of what’s at stake:

Kelli Estrella, a farmer and award-winning cheesemaker whose pastureland is tucked into a bend of the Wynoochee River here [in Washington state], has become a potent symbol in a contentious national debate over the safety of food produced by small farmers and how much the government should regulate it.

To her devotees, Ms. Estrella is a homespun diva of local food. With her husband and six adopted children from Liberia, she makes tasty artisan cheeses from the milk of her 36 cows and 40 goats and sells it at farmers’ markets.

Some even winds up on tables at fancy restaurants in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

But to the federal government, Ms. Estrella is a defiant businesswoman unable to keep dangerous bacteria out of her products. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration moved to shut down her business, Estrella Family Creamery, after tests found listeria in some of her cheese and she refused to agree to a broad recall of her products.

Although no illnesses have been linked to Ms. Estrella’s cheese, listeria is a sometimes deadly bacteria that is especially hazardous for the very young and the very old. Pregnant women who become infected can have miscarriages or stillbirths.

Now here’s where the mind boggles. It’s hard to imagine any heroine less appealing to the Glenn Beck imagination than a locavore maker of artisanal cheese served at fancy restaurants. In fact, I can in my mind’s eye right now see Beck in fake smoking jacket, glasses and munchkin voice ridiculing and mocking “a particular fine example of Camembert.”  But I wonder: perhaps just this one time, Glenn Beck should let loose his inner elitist – and inform his audience accurately of the concerns genuinely at stake rather than substituting crazed paranoia about the determination of shadowy Central European financiers to control you, your banks, and your precious bodily fluids.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • MelonTarge

    Fluoridation is for commies!

  • CitizenWhig

    I’ll have three fingers of Glenlivet, with a little bit of pepper… and some cheese

  • CitizenWhig

    I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

  • politicalfan

    Who takes him seriously Frum? I can’t even watch the man because it is like watching a deranged Mr. Rogers with a chalkboard. I actuallty liked Mr. Rogers by the way. I am more offended when smart people act less than. I only watch Shepard Smith these days and then turn it to CNN/Jon Stewart. I prefer to read! I don’t want to hear little kids wanting to be like Beck and Palin (specifically the part that is negative to large groups of individuals).

    I think we need to find some of the best minds to deal with the problems that we have today. The problem with indivduals deemed as “elite” is that people have a growing mis-trust and this is a Fox, and MSNB error. While, I appreciate taking a stand on our positions. There has to be room for someone who will discuss the pros and cons. Fox has failed to shine a light on the importance of “education” even though their efforts have been brillant for making money. People strongly believe that the bright and cultured are strongly self-serving. Education is being challenged which will translate into more poverty. We need people to have many talents and an education is a must. Anyone can get an education online through an accredited state college. We are in a big mess of hurt when a Stanford graduate on Fox is claiming that they have to “google” for answers. Is this an old episode of “Wayne’s World” and the strategic money-making placement of advertising? Don’t get me wrong, I think the folks are brillant behind Fox and I strongly believe that the President should appear in more interviews. We simply need more people to call bluff!!!

    I have a problem with the fact we expect our teachers to have advanced degrees in order to make $34,000 a year. Yet, we are paying and encouraging less educated loud mouths. They earn three times as much as some of our brightest with a stinking speech. We should be encouraging education and setting the bar higher for our candidates to get in. Are we suggesting to our future Doctors, that education is not important? We are going to be eaten for lunch by our foreign friends. Other countries encourage their youth to know multiple languages and we are crying about English. Yet, how many schools require (grammar, history of English, and writing)? I have seen exchange students that have a true grasp of our own language. They truly understand the concept of linguistics. There parents truly encourage them to study and practice their crafts.

    We have limited requirements for those who run for office. Realizing that this is a written aspect of our constitution (which I wish they could/would amend). We should use the “Palin test” from now on. If they don’t pass, they do not get elected. We are thriving in a technology age and Palin will surely usher in a new age of bloggers from each and every state. We want squeaky clean candidates (which we know they truly are not) but yet, we wonder why we have a limited pull of talent.

    The title should be, “Is the Money Worth it Fox?”

  • busboy33

    Fox needs more elitests?

    There is nobody at Fox EXCEPT elitests (with the possible excpetion of Shep).

    As they freely admit . . . practically ALL of their “news” is opinion. That means that everybody there is going on TV for the sole purpose of giving you their (Roger’s) opinion. They think their personal opinion is so important, they need to tell you. Because the viewing public needs to know what they think.
    They lock themselves in a rarified bubble. Only true believers will be allowed to enter and converse. Alternatie views are to be exiled. Only the Chosen may commune.

    That’s pretty damn eliteist.

  • politicalfan


    I would dare say that Shepard Smith looks like the smart kid on the block. I believe he has a journalism education but he is doing what the rest are not at Fox. (Being a bit realistic!!!) He is also relatable without having to play like he can’t fight his way out of a paperbag.

    Bright is subjective (I would rather vote for Shepard Smith than Sarah Palin any day of the week). I think he has the intellectual curiosity to at least ask difficult questions. She just belts things out with no reason or rhyme!!! Maybe we should have a meet your Fox cast moment!!! An expose on their education. Great show for CNN. Didn’t Bachmann say something similar to that? Great attempt at reverse psychology there Frum!!! When the castle gets stormed, we are sending them “the way of the Fox!!!”

  • Food safety bill: goodbye, artisanal cheese?

    [...] Daily Caller reports on continuing small-farmer concerns, and recalls a raw-milk raid; David Frum wonders about elitism and its [...]

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    “perhaps just this one time, Glenn Beck should let loose his inner elitist – and inform his audience accurately of the concerns genuinely at stake rather than substituting crazed paranoia about the determination of shadowy Central European financiers to control you, your banks, and your precious bodily fluids.”

    Why would he ever do that? FNC, like the GOP, is 100% resentment and 0% policy. His brand of crazy sells to Fox News viewers. His boss just called NPR “Nazis.” He has no incentive to act like a grown-up.

  • jakester

    Beck is a distinguished professor of History as well as a first class constitutional watchdog

  • TAZ

    Some day a grown-up, entertaining, fact based, Conservative voice will rise up and take to the Fox news airwaves…… till then I will watch Morning Joe on MSNBC.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    I guess Beck has never had a real bout of food poisoning. While I don’t think the place should be shut down places that don’t go along with food guidelines for safety should be labelled not FDA approved. I could then make my own determination. Living where I live I buy from farmers markets (the chicken I have for lunch is the chicken I saw running around their back yard) but prepare my dinner accordingly. The processed chicken I buy I don’t worry so much about.

  • SallyVee

    Hahaha, it’s Soylent Glenn! Soon, when *they* start issuing us meager wafers for sustenance, Glenn will summon his best Charleton Heston and whisper the terrible truth… the Commie food is processed with Republican entrails… Soros owns the secret seasoning recipe that makes ‘em taste like Krispy Kremes…

  • Rob_654

    Hey – why not just get rid of all of this Government “testing” and “nanny-ism” – and let the Free Market determine who wins and loses.

    If enough people get sick and potentially die from food issues – well – then people will stop buying that product and the company will suffer and may go out of business – the Free Market can be harsh but let’s do it and Beck can thank all of the future victims for their “Service” to the country.

  • Brooks

    I guess I’m trying to understand this better. If Ms. Estrella’s cheese may contain listeria – then could there at least be a compromise that “artisan cheese” must carry a label that indicates that it may contain certain bacteria’s that might be harmful to small children, pregnant women and the elderly? I mean, even carnival rides warn patrons that their rides may be bad news for pregnant women…

    Regardless, I’m not really seeing how this is a bad thing?

  • gman

    I’m confused. Kelli Estrella is a heroine because she refuses to recall her cheeses that are contaminated with a sometimes deadly bacteria? The fact that no one has reported any illness from the cheese seems more like dumb luck than proof of an overbearing gov’t. Oh, and Glenn Beck resembles the back end of a donkey, but I don’t need his take on this story to convince me of that.

  • LauraNo

    “…denouncing the bill as a George Soros attempt to control you.”

    Then I think someone should tell Mr. Beck that David Frum wants to control what vitamins you take (really he just wants pharma to make the (much bigger) profit rather than those companies currently doing so. But maybe we shouldn’t tell him because that sounds like picking winners and losers doesn’t it and Mr. Frum wouldn’t advocate that, being a good conservative and all. Also he’s suggesting regulations? Interfering in the free market right to rape and abuse consumers? I’m so confused, if I am I hate to think what Beck would make of this news.

  • KBKY

    I agree with gman, I’m not quite seeing the problem here. From what I understand, Ms. Estrella is continually selling cheeses with a potentially deadly bacteria and yet the government has no power to either shut her down or recall the possibly contaminated products? And the problem is the government? I’m all for helping small businesses exempt out of unneccessary regulations, but I’m not sure that this is the best example…

  • seattleperson

    Jakester – You do know that Glenn Beck only went to college for one semester, right? And you also know that the term ‘Professor’ commonly means one who teaches at a college or university, right?

  • barflea

    Glenn Beck is part of the problem America faces. Beck caters to the lowest common denominator. Yes, every law seems to have someone it hurts. Is this fair, no of coarse not. Maybe changes can be made to improve it. Beck is a clown. Too bad many people take his insane rants seriously. Watching Beck is like watching a one man Jerry Springer show, no substance, nothing but entertainment.

  • ProfNickD

    I don’t understand how the Republic has lasted for 223 years without the Food Safety Modernization Act. May God save us if it ultimately doesn’t get enacted into law.

    /sarcasm off

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    It is only the absence of the Food Safety Modernization Act that has permitted the Republic to survive these 233 years. May God save us from the Obamao’s socialist fascist Muslimness if it ultimately gets enacted into law.

  • gman

    “I don’t understand how the Republic has lasted for 223 years without the Food Safety Modernization Act. May God save us if it ultimately doesn’t get enacted into law.”

    What a brain dead argument. Sans sarcasm, the implication is that NO progress enacted by or supported by the government could possibly be good for the country. Everything that existed in the country 223 years ago was, a priori, better than today. Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, who needs it? Our Founders didn’t have cars or drive on highways. Civil Rights Act of 1964? No need. The Founders had slaves. Life expectancy in the US in 1850 for whites was less than 40, now it’s nearly 80. It is highly likely that government support for healthcare, health education, and safety (food, work, etc), had a positive impact on that. My opinion is that the Founders would be appalled by the nostalgia for 18th century life with all that we have available to us today.