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Why Matt Lauer Will Never Eat Another Burger

Today’s original post has been preempted by a trip into the family room, where the television was on and Matt Lauer, of the Today Show, was describing his stint as an apprentice barrel man at the Houston Rodeo.

As the overture to The Magnificent Seven played in the background, Mr. Lauer learned how to crouch in a barrel and take hits from a 1500 pound "angry animal, with horns," as Ann Curry described the bull. Mr. Lauer "had the best time" as he "entertained" the 60,000 men, women and children who gather to watch animals be tortured in the name of tradition, probably. After all, there’s no legitimate reason for any rodeo event–and there never was–so we chalk it up to tradition (i.e., we did it yesterday, so we should do it today. They actually call it "Western Heritage" in rodeo land).

There was, oddly enough, no talk of why the bull was so angry. There was no explanation of the flank strap, without which the bull wouldn’t buck. There is no mention of the electric cattle prod, which rodeo people claim merely gets the bull out of the chute quickly and doesn’t harm him.

The Truth About Bull Riding
tells quite a different story than The Today Show.

When looking into the eyes of the individual bull who was about to charge him, Mr. Lauer jokingly begged, "I swear I’ll never eat another burger again." He was lightly tossed by the bull and emerged unscathed, but with a greater respect for the barrel clowns.

I wonder if Mr. Lauer ever found what he was participating in to be disrespectful of the bulls? I wonder if he gave their thoughts and feelings any consideration? I wonder if he knew why the bulls were so distressed? Did he just mindlessly go through the taping of this segment, thinking it would be entertaining to America? The segment spent several minutes showing us the make-up, wardrobe and preparation of the barrel men. I’m going to write to Mr. Lauer and suggest that bull riding get equal time from the bull’s perspective. Maybe that would force him to momentarily reconsider the entertainment value of his segment, and maybe then he would be telling the truth when he says he won’t eat another hamburger.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for posting this Mary…. It confirms a distrust I've had of late concerning NBC. "Today" is making frequent, degrading "humorous" remarks about animals in terms of "food"….. It's happened before:
    Al Roker is on an eating binge in some diner at the Food Network:,1976,FOOD_9994_36582,00.html And while on the air, jokingly says something like "bring on the veal".

    This recent video reports the gentle giant – 6 foot cow named "Chilli":
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    Meridith along with her panel exchange witty, (revolting) remarks about "how many hamburgers does "it" make or have?"….

    Obviously this giddy, childishness betrays their "meat" and "food animal" issues – Typical omnivore denial I'd say. The mentality? "It's all very uncomfortable – so let's just make jokes and fun". Ha-ha.

    So's the same for Lauer and his drugged, beaten, burger bull, -Laughs that mask evil and beguile it's viewers.

    NBC – MSNBC – affiliates – should all be called on these remarks as inappropriate and unacceptable. I know I've had my fill!

    May 20, 2008
  2. Hi Mary –

    I stopped watching the Today show altogether quite a few months ago after the anchors flippantly joked about an animal that had escaped the slaughterhouse and was found roaming the streets of New York. After a series of idiotic and ill-informed comments that had come before, that was the last straw for me!

    May 21, 2008

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