KXMA-TV2, the CBS affiliate in Dikinson, North Dakota, reports its state has made a deal with the devil. In an article headlined "Cuba Vows to Spend Millions On North Dakota Crops" it writes in the all caps style of a TV newsroom
CUBAN OFFICIALS HAVE AGREED TO BUY 20-MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF NORTH DAKOTA CROPS IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS…INCLUDING PEAS, PINTO BEANS, LENTILS AND HARD RED SPRING WHEAT.
In fact, the copy is so poorly written, let's look at the rest of it
THIS IS THE RESULT OF A TRADE MISSION LEAD BY AG COMMISSIONER ROGER JOHNSON.
BUT GETTING THESE GOODS TO CUBA IS GOING TO BE HARDER.
SINCE LAST YEAR THE RESTRICTIONS HAVE GOTTEN TOUGHER.
PREVIOUSLY THE GOODS COULD BE SHIPPED BEFORE THE MONEY WAS PUT IN THE U-S PRODUCERS ACCOUNT…
NOW THE SHIPS CANNOT LEAVE U-S SOIL UNTIL THE MONEY HAS BEEN DEPOSITED IN U-S ACCOUNTS.
AG COMMISSIONER ROGER JOHNSON IS LEADING A NORTH DAKOTA DELEGATION ON THIS TRADE MISSION IN CUBA.
THE GROUP WRAPS UP IT’S TRIP TODAY.
Now look at that - can you believe that anyone who would write such poor, cliche filled stuff could understand the issues. I mean really - a ship leaving the soil? It's obviously written from a news release from Mr. Johnson's office which probably quotes some Cuban official. Since no one in TV seems to use attribution anymore, the source of the information is not attributed. And there's no attempt to give the reason for the changes in the trade restrictions.
This seems to be the copy as read by an anchor on air. It is some of the sorriest reporting I've seen.
Interestingly, another story on the station's site says North Dakota has received $6.2-billion in farm subsidies over the past 10-years. The story quotes a study by The Environmental Working Group:
IT SAYS NORTH DAKOTA CONGRESSMAN EARL POMEROY'S AT-LARGE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IS THE TOP RECIPIENT OF FEDERAL FARM SUBSIDIES IN THE LAST DECADE.
Now that's the final paragraph in the story and raises the question - What?
Further searching shows that Earl Pomeroy is a Democrat. Looking through his website, he seems to be a rather conservative Democrat. It also shows that Pomeroy is the only Representative from North Dakota. His district covers the entire state. How stupid is this reporter? Of course his district got the most money if his district in the only one in the entire state. Or does it mean his district got the most money of any Congressional district in the country? That claim doesn't seem to be made on the organization's web site, but it does note that North Dakota has only one district and that the results may appear skewed because of that.
Our old friend Vanessa Arrington writes for the Bismark Tribune from Havana and says
Miller Farms Exports clinched the first deal of the agreement, signing a contract Saturday to export 10,000 metric tons of peas worth about $2 million. Cuban officials anticipated more pea deals Saturday adding up to some $6 million.
"I couldn't be more pleased," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said via telephone to Cuban and North Dakota officials gathered in Havana. "I hope this relationship will continue."
Dorgan says he plans a trip to Cuba and will continue to fight for what he calls regularized trade with the country.
Miller Farms Exports is a signatory to a petition to lift the Treasury Department requirements that Cuba pay for farm goods before shipment. Interestingly, the petition is the only reference in Google to the company other than stories on this specific trade deal with Cuba. Is this a new company?
And Mora, writing at Babalublog, points to an article saying the U.S. is now Cuba's largest food supplier. Some embargo.