How now, brown cow?

By Karen Zautyk

Last weekend, we took a ride up to Sussex County, one of the few rural places in our state not yet completely overrun by condo complexes and McMansions. 

Our destination was a dairy farm, where we had arranged to interview one of the residents. One of the four-legged residents. A bovine. She was waiting for us in the pasture, eager to discuss the topic at hand.

Or hoof. Namely, a recent survey reportedly alleging that “7% of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.”

“I’m glad you said ‘reportedly’,”  said the cow, who prefers to remain anonymous. “I read that exact quote in the Washington Post, and it was reported the same way by CNN and other major news media. I was udderly appalled, until I heard the story on NPR.  They said, ‘A survey of 1,000 people shows 7% of participants think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.’

“There’s a big difference between 7% ‘of 1,000 participants’ and ‘of all American adults’.”

KZ: But even 7% of 1,000 is astonishing, right?

Cow: “Again, it depends. An article in the Columbia Journalism Review noted that the question regarding the origins of chocolate milk had multiple-choice answers, ‘brown cows or black-and-white cows, or they didn’t know.’ The CJR writer rightly wondered if those were the only options offered in the survey.”

KZ: Why do you think the media misreported the story?

Cow: “Fake moos! Fake moos!”

KZ: So you’re a Trump supporter?

Cow: “Well, considering the main ingredient in cheese, no whey could I object to ‘Make America Grate Again!’”

KZ:  And I suppose you hope he’ll visit Moscow?

Cow: “Careful. I might cream you.”

KZ: You really know how to milk the puns, don’t you?

Cow: “Been doing it since I was a half-pint.”

KZ: Let’s get back to politics. What’s your opinion of our governor?

Cow: “I’ve always found him a little too bossy. Plus, he loves tooting his own horn.”

KZ: But he’s beefy.

Cow: “And he’s also a ham.”

KZ: You don’t take any bull, do you?

Cow: “Of course not. I’m a Jersey cow.”

At  that point, another cow — a brown cow — ambled past.

“Well,” she grumbled, “I’ve got to spend another two days in the freezer. The farm just got an order for more chocolate ice cream.”

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent