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I read this article today from Meatingplace.com regarding the use of "H1N1 flu" in the media. I find it interesting that once the negativity hits the press box it is extremely hard to shake it. Not only is this important for the pork sector but it is also important for all of Agriculture to be up front and get the positives out there immediately and correct any misinformation (if that is possible?).

copied from meatingplace.com:

A scan of headlines — including those from news organizations that participated in teleconferences Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other USDA officials held yesterday to implore the media not to call the H1N1 virus "swine flu" — do not reflect much change of heart by the mainstream media.

A look at headlines on news Web sites this morning turned up these:

* A Washington Post story was headlined, "Swine Flu Vaccine Works with One Shot." In its nineteenth paragraph, the story adds "The new virus, also known as H1N1…"

* Similarly, the New York Times headed its story "One Vaccine Shot Seen as Protective for Swine Flu." It refers in its first paragraph to "the new H1N1 swine flu vaccine."

* Time.com, a partnership between Time magazine and CNN, headlined a story this morning, "Pork, Stigmatized by Swine Flu, Gets a Government Bailout" — a reference to the $30 million pork purchase USDA announced last week. A headline on the site yesterday fared better: "Early Data Show H1N1 Vaccine Is Highly Effective."

On yesterday's media teleconference, a CNN correspondent countered that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses "swine flu" as a reference on its Web site because that's what people are searching for and that's what more people are familiar with.

"To get the information out, it is sometimes unavoidable to also include that in a story. So, I'm not sure how we can get around that," the reporter said.

One headline on the CDC Web site reads "2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You." A Washington Post item linking to the CDC Web site reads: "Centers for Disease Control: Swine Flu and You."

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan disagreed that it would be problematic for the media to drop the inaccurate name tag.

"There may be some bridging you have to do … but I think that most of the American public has heard 'H1N1.' We have seen it written in your articles. We have heard it on the radio," she said. "So I don't think, unless there is massive amnesia out there, that people won't pick up on what you are trying to convey if you switch to the more appropriate nomenclature."

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Hi Wayne: I think the mainstream media is more worried about headlines and Swine Flu is more colourful that HINI which does not scare anyone....They have heard the appeals from the pork industry and still don't give a sh**. I think the pork industry needs to make sure people don't link swine flu with food safety...the media are not going to give us a break.
You are correct "Swine Flu is more colourful". People can relate to Swine but when you state H1N1 - the public say 'huh?'
A comment on H1N1 I received today was pretty accurate: "The only way to get people to use the correct terminology is to only use the correct terminology, Period."
So when a person is speaking to the media - do not refer to that other name, just say "H1N1 flu". So for Tom Vilsack to say "refer to H1N1 flu instead of the swine flu" does not help our cause. It would be better to not even mention that other name. That is one thing I stress when speaking with local media. One local writer I write it for them so they can not get it wrong. You have to be able to trust your main reporters (well trust them as much as you can trust media..)
Say it once to introduce it, so it again so they may write it down, and say it a third time so they remember.

pigsrgr8 said:
Hi Wayne: I think the mainstream media is more worried about headlines and Swine Flu is more colourful that HINI which does not scare anyone....They have heard the appeals from the pork industry and still don't give a sh**. I think the pork industry needs to make sure people don't link swine flu with food safety...the media are not going to give us a break.
It is really unbeleivable that the mis naming of something like this can cause so much damage!
Most in Europe refer to H1N1 as the "Mexican Flu" and it has not affected the pork industry very much.
If the media needs a new headline catching name is it too late to start refering to it as Mexican flu?, or TeQuila flu? (although I do not want to hurt the Tequila industry?)
The mis naming is not affecting NA consumption much - it becomes a much bigger issue in less Educated? countries where it is harder to shake the link and many consumers of pork still are not eating pork as they used to due to lack of education on the truth that the meat and the animal has nothing to do with the Flu!
Iff mis information spreads so easily perhaps it would be easy to implant the notion that eating copious amounts of pork builds a natural immunity to H1N1 so you do not need to run and get a rushed into production vaccine?

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