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How the mainstream media act as shameless shills for the biotech industry


Mainstream media

(NaturalNews) One of the main reasons the general public doesn't know enough about all the harmful effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - foods, seeds and otherwise - is because they have not been adequately reported by the mainstream media. Alternative health and news sites like ours have, in fact, proliferated in large part because we provide the honest, bare-bones truth about GMOs.

But alas, most mainstream media does not. And it is why the political, economic and environmental debates regarding GMOs continue to this day, why they remain confusing, and why the truth remains elusive. As reported by Rodale News, "From the Today show to The New York Times, including Rodale News, media outlets play a critical role in bringing you facts to help you make decisions on key issues."

The news site went onto to note that it has always "been up front" about its anti-GMO position, largely because of its "deep roots in organic farming." So the site examined three ways in which the mainstream press is failing to bring consumers of news accurate coverage regarding both organic and GMO issues:

Reason No. 1: Dollars and cents.

As you know, most media operations survive and thrive on advertising, not subscriptions or single-issue sales. When a media organization refuses an ad, that generally means the product or service is at odds with the outlet's publisher. So, it was a little shocking to some media and product analysts to discover that distinguished science journals Science and Nature turned down advertising from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps (the ad is here PDF), according to Mother Jones magazine. The "advertorial," as it is called, was basically a short essay written by Bronner that gave an under-publicized anti-GMO perspective, but one that nevertheless provided information about new anti-GMO research that might otherwise never get reported. Mother Jones said the reason why Science refused the advertorial was because editors were "concerned about backlash from our members and potentially getting into a battle with the GMO industry" (which, of course, has deep pockets and mega-supporters like biotech giants Monsanto and Syngenta).

In addition, Laurie Faraday, the East regional advertising sales manager for Science, told Mother Jones, "Ironically, it's not that anyone in the organization disagreed with what it [the ad] said. It's just that we had to consider that the opposite side of the coin might want to start a war in our magazine."

Reason No. 2: Disparaging the messenger.

Perhaps one could give the scientific journals the benefit of the doubt; perhaps they simply did not want to rock the boat. But such explanations fail when factoring in stories and articles that attempt to discredit those working against the spread of GMOs. Rodale News provided this example:

Consider Michael Specter's article for The New Yorker titled "Seeds of Doubt" (which was the article that actually inspired the Dr. Bronner's ad), in which he covers anti-GMO activist, Vandana Shiva, PhD. In the article, he denounces her saying that she lacks scientific evidence, that she's guilty of "confusing correlation with causation" when it comes to the effects of GMOs, and that she has been fear-mongering.

She responds here.

Reason No. 3: Denial.

Many mainstream news outlets just don't seem to consider anti-GMO findings, studies and revelations newsworthy. You can tell because they simply refuse to cover such findings or to cover such findings in depth. You'll not likely see an 8,000-word essay in The New Yorker anytime soon covering, say, GMO labeling legislation in the states or Congress, while there are daily "stories" about celebrity gossip and activities or some poll that reflects the editorial position of the outlet's editorial board.

"GMO issues rarely land in the lead-story spot, despite that fact that most Americans are eating 'extreme' levels of this GMO herbicide," Rodale News reported [http://www.rodalenews.com/roundup-food].

Sources:

http://www.rodalenews.com/gmo-media

http://www.motherjones.com

http://vandanashiva.com/?p=105

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