Skip to comments.First, the Bad News
Posted on 01/16/2013 3:34:02 AM PST by Kaslin
We in the media rarely lie to you.
But that leaves plenty of room to take things wildly out of context.
That's where most big scare stories come from, like recent headlines about GM foods. GM means "genetically modified," which means scientists add genes, altering the plant's DNA, in this case to make the crop resistant to pests.
Last week, Poland joined seven other European countries in banning cultivation of GM foods.
The politicians acted because headlines screamed about how GM foods caused huge tumors in rats. The pictures of the rats are scary. Some have tumors the size of tennis balls.
What the headlines don't tell you, though, is that the female Sprague-Dawley rats used in the test usually develop tumors -- 87 to 96 percent of the time.
It's a similar story with chemicals that the media constantly tell us to fear.
More often than not, rats get tumors if given high enough doses of manmade chemicals. I shouldn't say "manmade." Nature's chemicals cause tumors at the same rate.
Reporters and environmental activists have incentives to leave out details that might make the story boring. It's useful if you think you're in danger.
"It's a great way to get attention," says Bjorn Lomborg, statistician and author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," "but it focuses you on the wrong solutions." Instead of doing something that really fights cancer, like quitting smoking, people devote their energy to banning things like GM foods.
GM foods require less water, need fewer pesticides and grow where other crops will not survive.
By forcing farmers to stick to the old-fashioned corn, activists and regulators force customers to pay higher prices for food.
Reporters sleep with clear consciences because we (usually) don't say anything completely false. We tell ourselves that we may save lives and draw attention to important issues -- and so what if people err on the side of safety?
But the answer to "so what?" is that people waste time, money and emotional energy, and we are less safe, because we worry about the wrong things.
Years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council claimed the chemical Alar, which helps keep apples from rotting, killed kids. When "60 Minutes" ran the story, I believed it. So did lots of people.
Schools across America banned apples. Moms poured out apple juice. Apple growers lost billions.
But the scare was bunk. Apples, even apples with Alar, are good for you. Since banning Alar meant apples decay more quickly, apples become slightly more expensive, and that meant some kids ate less healthy food.
Today, we have new scares, like the one over plastic water bottles. Some contain a chemical called BPA, which activists say causes cancer, hyperactivity, all sorts of problems.
Chemicals called phthalates, which keep school supplies like backpacks soft, are accused of damaging kids' livers and kidneys and causing asthma.
If these stories were true, who could blame parents for being frightened? Who can blame reporters for telling the story?
Julie Gunlock, from the Independent Women's Forum, blames them. She points out that the activists scare mothers needlessly, because "over 1,000 studies, independent studies, have said that BPA is perfectly safe."
She knows how the scare stories work: "BPA is easily vilified. I mean, it's invisible. And people tend to say: 'Chemicals, it's scary. I'll just trust what some activist organization or consumer rights organization says and avoid it.'"
There's no reason to get excited about chemicals -- unless you're an environmental activist eager to acquire money and power.
"A lot of them make money on newsletters," says Gunlock. "Bad news sells." NRDC has raised $185 million by scaring people.
To keep scares in perspective, remember all the good news that gets less attention. Coverage of horrors like the shooting in Newtown, Conn., makes us think our kids are in more danger today, but school violence is actually down.
And despite all the chemicals -- actually, because of them -- we live longer than ever.
There is plenty of bad news that's real -- like the national debt, and most of what politicians do. But in
Legalize DDT sez I. But they won’t because they would rather see the people affected the most because of rendering it illegal die. Population control. Especially in Africa and other third world countries.
“By forcing farmers to stick to the old-fashioned corn, activists and regulators force customers to pay higher prices for food. “
So why are we paying farmers NOT to grow old fashioned corn?
These eurotrash luddites make me sick, I’m so tired of hearing about them and their ignorant crusade against science.
I’m fine with GM crops that are engineered to be tastier or healthier, but......
I am against GM crops that are designed to be used in conjunction with particular pesticides and herbicides. This allows the manufacturer to sell massive quantities of both seed and pesticide/herbicide. The herbicides kill off all other plants. They make the farmer dependent on the manufacturer. Possibly more significant, it has been demonstrated that genes from one plant can escape into the wild. So there is then the potential of invasive weeds acquiring the GM herbicide resistance.
There is more, but you get the gist.
GM can be a good thing, but it can also be used in a way that reaps huge profits at the expense of the farmer, the consumer, and the environment.
Too many people have a kneejerk reaction to GM, either for or against. When someone says something is GM, it is important to know exactly what has been modified.
Not only that, if some farmers Monsanto corn pollinates your heritage corn crop, the courts say you still owe Monsanto royalties.
Exactly, Monsanto should be sued for genetic contamination.
you are very correct there. the banning of DDT by political forces has caused nothing by widespread death.
however, if you give a rat the equivalent of an artificial sweetener tantamount to drinking 97 soda pops a day , the rat will get cancer. amazing scientists can come up with this stuff.
The Bible was clear “moderation in all things”.
if I drank 97 soda pops, I would die just from drinking that much soda.
The farmers were already going to use roundup, or another like herbicide, but the roundup ready seed just gives them a better chance their corn will survive. An extra week or so can make the difference between 120 bu acre and 200 bu acre.