Originally published August 20 2014
Monsanto supporters trying to get Reuters reporter fired for reporting truth about GMOs
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) As consumers of news, readers understand that good journalism is predicated on fairness, balance and presenting all sides of an issue. That said, there most certainly are media outlets that tend to espouse a particular point of view, politically or otherwise, on key issues.
However, when it comes to news agencies that advertise themselves as non-partisan and balanced, readers expect to be presented with all viewpoints of an issue, because without balance, coverage, then, will be skewed.
On that note, Reuters reporter Carey Gillam has covered a number of issues surrounding genetically modified foods for 16 years, according to a report in The Huffington Post by Ken Roseboro, which is not an easy task given increasing polarization regarding GMO crops and foods.
That said, Gillam's reporting has been balanced and objective, Roseboro writes, and she has given both sides of the issues fair coverage and equal treatment. Civil Eats, an award-winning daily news site that focuses on food issues, recently named Gillam in an article titled, "24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About."
No objectivity when it comes to GMOs
In a piece dated April 9, titled, "Bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states," Gillam wrote: "Advocates of labeling say consumers deserve to know if the food they eat contains GMOs, or genetically modified organisms." A paragraph later, she wrote: "Makers of biotech crops and many large food manufacturers have fought mandatory labeling, arguing that genetically modified crops are not materially different and pose no safety risk."
Regardless of what you think about GMOs, that, at least, is fair and objective reporting, because it portrays both sides of the story.
But apparently, objectiveness isn't a goal of GMO apologists and supporters; they'd rather readers only get one side of the story, the pro-GMO side. As Roseboro noted:
Unfortunately, GMO proponents object to Gillam's balanced reporting and have pressured her editors at Reuters to remove her from covering GMO topics and to even fire her.
In a hit piece against Gillam's article Val Giddings, a former executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), accused her of fueling the "astroturf" anti-GMO campaign with her reporting.
He then criticized her for writing that "some scientific studies warn of potential human and animal health problems, and GMO crops have been tied to environmental problems, including rising weed resistance." In response, Giddings wrote, "This claim is false, and flagrantly so."
But as Natural News has well documented, GMOs are demonstrably harmful to the environment and to some humans as well. Since they have been introduced, herbicide production has increased 15-fold; more superweeds than ever have turned up in crop fields; and GMOs are so substantially different from regular crops that they have to be patented.
And, as Roseboro pointed out, "the reality is there have been studies published that show harm to human health and the environment." He also noted that "even though GMO proponents consistently tear apart any studies that show harm, such studies have been published in peer reviewed journals."
'Gillam earns a failing grade'
It is also true that GMO crops are "tied to" the increasing problem of weed resistance in the US that now affects more than 60 million acres of farmland. Farmers are using large quantities of glyphosate herbicide, which is causing weeds to develop resistance to the herbicide. Glyphosate is designed to be used with glyphosate-tolerant GM crops. Is there a connection between the use of GM crops and herbicide resistance? I'd say so.
Others have criticized Gillam's coverage too. The website Academics Review, co-founded by Bruce Chassy, a retired professor of food science at the University of Illinois, is one such critic. An an article titled "Reuters' Gillam earns failing grade, again, for coverage of GMO science issues," was featured with a large, red "F" over her article.
And Keith Kloor, a writer for Discover magazine's Collide-a-Scape, is another critic. In a blog post titled "GMOs, Journalism, and False Balance," Kloor claimed that there is overwhelming scientific consensus backing GMO safety.
And on Twitter, Kloor accused Gillam: "You are willfully ignoring the scientific consensus on this." He went on to dismiss the group European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), which published a statement "saying there was a lack of empirical and scientific evidence to support" the biotech industry's false claims, as "a smattering of outliers and GMO opponents."
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