- If you can't beat'em, slur'em: ABC attacks organic food
- ABC's 20/20 John Stossel, who has raised the art of shilling
for big business to a fine art, is now at work educating the public about
the *dangers* of organic food.
- In Stossel's twisted universe, the market is god, unless
of course the market is not buying what his clients want it to buy. Then
the market is misguided and needs a multi-million dollar mass media re-education
program. ("You will buy crap and like it.")
- One "expert" given a huge audience by Stossel's
program pointed out that manure has a lot of bacteria in it and therefore
crops grown organically are more dangerous than those sprayed with pesticide.
Uh huh. Earth to expert: most farmers, regardless of their methods, use
manure when they can get it because its cheaper and better than manufactured
- The expert, Dennis Avery, is identified simply as a former
researcher for the Agriculture Department. No other affiliation is given.
I guess the brilliant research team at ABC couldn't find his current day
job which is Director of the Hudson Institute's "Center for Global
- Call 1-800-222-1556 and you can hire him to give one
of his popular speeches "Organic Farming's Threat to People and Wildlife"
or "Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic." I kid you
- Some other achievements his employer the Hudson Institute
crows about on its web site include:
- * Taking the lead on pushing for the expansion of NATO
membership to the countries of Central Europe (I'm sure the people of Yugoslavia
- * Helping transform many aspects of the criminal and
law enforcement systems in Indianapolis (Remind me to not go there.)
- * Advising dozens (sic) of former communist governments
on how to make the transition to democracy and market economies, (Great
work guys, especially in Russia) and
- * Designing and implementing innovative models of education
reform across the country. (Now there's a comforting thought.)
- Avery's also been featured in the Wall Street Journal
as well. Here's one person's answer to his ravings in that rag: http://www.wildoats.com/know/organics.html
- Another Avery gem from the Stossel slimefest: Avery says
"organic farmers waste land and resources because they lose so much
of their crop to weeds and insects. Avery says it's today's conventional
farmers who have performed an environment-saving miracle by taking nitrogen
to make chemical fertilizer, using pesticides and genetically engineered
seeds to feed more people, using less land."
- Stossel's informed conclusion: organic food isn't safe,
it isn't particularly nutritious, and it isn't good for the environment
- We can laugh, but when's the last time you saw a coherent
rationale for organic farming on a major news program or in a mass circulated
- Avery's doing a good job as this January '99 press release
from the Hudson Institute shows:
- "Sierra Club Executive Endorses High-Yield Agriculture,
- Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, has
endorsed high-yield agriculture, including bio-engineered crops, because
high farm yields will help save wildlife habitat and wild species."
- I got that off *Monsanto's* web site by the way: http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/99/january99/14199_Hudson.html
- You don't think companies like Monsanto actually fund
the "science" and public policy work of people like Dennis Avery
do you? Goodness! What's this world coming to?
- There was supposed to be a comment board on the ABC web
site for Stossel's story, but it was either never set up or quickly taken
down. I wonder why...
- Another great "investigation" John. Your Pulitzer
is in the mail.
- Is it really that wrong to want to see someone hung by
his thumbs and horsewhipped?
- Just asking.
- Brass Check - http://www.brasscheck.com
- From Brasscheck <email@example.com 2-6-00
- More on "safe" pesticides
- One of the claims promoted by ABC's John Stossel in his
recent "investigative" report on the "dangers" of organic
food is that pesticides kill dangerous bacteria making food safer to eat.
Organically grown food which does not have the benefit of such treatment
is therefore less safe.
- This is an argument only Monsanto could love. In fact,
the expert Stossel used to put it across, Dennis Avery, is subsidized by
Monsanto via his employment at the right wing think tank the Hudson Institute
(located, I'm glad to say as a Hudson Valley resident, in Indianapolis.)
- But what about Avery's claim? The fact that he is a shill
for Monsanto and that ABC did not disclose his affiliation, doesn't automatically
disqualify his statement. So then, what exactly is the effect of pesticides
on disease-causing microorganisms?
- So far, I've not been able to find a lick of science
on this dubious proposition, but I have found this:
- Dr Mae-Wan Ho, the author of a book currently not available
in the United States (we need to save room for Monica's autobiography I
guess), states that genetically engineered and genetically modified plants
pose a real risk of stimulating the development of mutant bacteria and
viruses. She further claims that evidence of such mutations has already
- The first three chapters of Dr. Mae-Wan Ho's book, GENETIC
ENGINEERING: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? The Brave New World of Bad Science and
Big Business, are available for download at the publisher's web site at
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