June 13, 2023
National Public Radio’s All Things Considered show had a piece on a bill that would make current national child labor standards apply to children working on farms. Currently, children as young as 12 can legally work in agriculture. The bill under consideration would impose the same rules for child labor on farms as apply to the rest of the economy.
At one point the piece gives a comment from Kristi Boswell, a Trump administration agriculture official, complaining that the bill would prevent people like her relatives from working on their family’s farm and learning the business. As the piece subsequently points out, this is not an issue since the bill has an exemption for family workers.
Since Ms. Boswell’s comment obviously misrepresented the issue, the question is why NPR felt the need to present it to listeners. The piece ran for just three minutes. In that context, there is no obvious reason why it should give opponents of the bill the time to make a blatantly false excuse for opposing the bill. If it could not find anyone to give an honest objection to the bill, it should have told its listeners of that fact and left it at that.