Mockin’ in the Free World: Neil Young Stomping Mad at ‘Chicago Tribune’

By: E&P Staff

At a press conference after his annual Farm Aid concert, held at Tinley Park in Chicago on Sunday, famed rocker Neil Young called an article about his organization in the Chicago Tribune “the sickest piece of journalism I’ve ever seen” and “a piece of crap.”

Then according to an account published today, he tore up a copy of the newspaper and stomped on it.

According to the Chicago Tribune report, Farm Aid contributed only 28% of its revenues to farmers last year. The rest of that money, according to the report, went to defray concert expenses.

But at the news conference Sunday, Young, co-founder of Farm Aid, said their goal was to generate awareness, not to fundraise.

“We’re trying to do a good thing. And these people at the Chicago Tribune need to be held responsible.”

Nevertheless, on Monday, Richard Roeper, the film critic and columnist for the Sun-Times, commented, ?When I read in the Tribune that only 28% of the revenue from last year’s Farm Aid found its way to farm families, I was glad I wasn’t attending Sunday’s Farm Aid concert in Tinley Park.?

Today, the Sun-Times ran a news article that gave the paper a chance to tweak the rival Tribune for getting ?stomped,? and offer more of Young’s side of the story.

“We are not purely raising money to give to farmers,” Young said. “That’s only a small part of what we do. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year to the American farmer. That’s what we do. That costs a little bit of money.” If those expenditures were included in the total, it would show that the charity spent 76% of its budget on its mission of helping farmers, Farm Aid officials said.

That’s well above standards set by the Better Business Bureau and other charity watchdog groups, Glenda Yoder, associate director at Farm Aid, said.

An article by the Tribune’s music writer, Greg Kot, also allowed Young to vent. Kot also quoted another Farm Aid stalwart, WIllie Nelson, wryly revealing, “We’re not happy until our critics are unhappy.”

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