Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a Lobby" segment takes on the meat industry, specifically talking with the American Meat Institute.
There were a few fun visual props: the Slim Jim and bacon flag, eating a drumstick while doing an interview with the president of the American Meat Institute. And then there was the cannibal line of questioning.
Colbert pulls a few subtle attacks on the meat industry: he asks for a defibrillator after eating part of the bacon flag. Colbert also points out that the AMI defends sterilizing beef with ammonia.
Colbert asks J. Patrick Boyle about the mark that Americans average 200 pounds of meat per year. Boyle corrects him that the number is more like 235 pounds of meat per year. Colbert asks Boyle for a target number of how much meat ideally would eat, or what would be the point where it would be too much. The AMI wouldn't set a target.
Colbert also noted that the AMI fought a bill to require the USDA to regulate six additional strains of e-coli.
Colbert also challenged Boyle as to whether he would order a hamburger rare. Boyle turned him down.
The AMI certainly shows a theme — based on what we heard on the Colbert Report — that it wants to make meat "oversafe" at a sacrifice to its quality. And the AMI wants to fight government efforts to make meat safer in a more natural fashion.
In just under 7 minutes, Colbert did more to show us what the meat industry is all about than what Oprah Winfrey tried to do in an hour. And she had to fight a lawsuit.
Colbert isn't going to be sued — the humor/satire angle helps — but more importantly, Colbert stuck to the facts and didn't throw in a conclusion. Colbert presented elements; it's up to us to figure out what to do.
Watch the video for yourself and jump to your own individual conclusion.