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Congressional Representatives’ cooperation fails news ‘narrowcasting’

By
Tad Thompson

Jimmy Panetta and Rodney Davis warned that they will not be seen together on national news networks.

Why not? After all, they respect each other, they are friends, and they cooperate to get things done for American agriculture.

Panetta is the U.S. Representative for the nation’s “Salad Bowl,” California District 20. He’s a Democrat. Davis, on the other hand, is a Republican from Illinois District 13.

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Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the United Fresh Produce Association, moderated the Sept. 24 virtual presentation, ‘A Bipartisan Approach to Governing,’ for United’s virtual Washington Conference. His guests from the U.S. House of Representatives were Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).

They spoke together in a Sept. 24 Zoom presentation offered as part of the United Fresh Produce Washington Congress. This general session was titled “A Bipartisan Approach to Governing.”

Davis, whose agricultural constituents mostly produce soybeans and grain, noted that Panetta mentions the Salad Bowl wherever he goes. And Davis wondered aloud if this implies he represents “The Bean Bowl.”

Among other national responsibilities, Davis and Panetta are both on the House Agriculture Committee.

But, because of what they don’t share in common, the two have visited the other’s agricultural districts. They’ve traveled to the districts of other Representatives, such as one in Boston, to see first hand the very different culture of that politician’s constituents.

To understand the perspective of a broad representation of a large country makes it easier to communicate when in Washington, DC. Representatives are to express the needs of their own communities, and then come together to create one national policy that best suits all.

Davis said that this great sense of cooperation would not make the news because it is good news. Instead of “broadcasting” news, media sources have moved to “narrowcasting” stories, he said. This fits a narrow, negative, adversarial, pre-determined perspective.

Both Representatives encouraged the produce industry to work closely with their national representatives, and both indicated that COVID-induced social distancing and stay-at-home policies have slashed personal contact within their Washington and home district offices.

“We’d much rather see you in our offices” than by electronic meetings, Davis said.

This session was moderated by Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the United Fresh Produce Association.

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December 2, 2020

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