The New York Times has always been one of the most ardently pro-GMO publications. This is part of the NYT’s role in setting the standard for the corporate media, where it comes to the major oligopoly sectors, the police state, the permanent war, and every other aspect of corporate tyranny.
This past Sunday’s NYT/Monsanto infomercial [1; I'm putting all the links at the bottom because there's so many and the WordPress posting program has gone screwy, making insertion a difficult process] may be the single worst corporate media hack job I’ve ever seen, which is saying alot. It’s a kind of mainstream media coming-out party for every canned lie of commission and omission which has been worming its way from the Monsanto blogs to the mainstream. While pro-GMO puff pieces are nothing new in the NYT or the corporate media as a whole, I’m not aware of such a complete packaging of flat-out lies so prominently featured on the front page of the “paper of record”.
This record will be one for the New Nuremburg indictments, if humanity can ever see its way to victory over this most insidious and comprehensive evil it has ever confronted.
*The literary conceit of the piece is a standard of GMO propaganda – the former GMO opponent who has now seen the light. For years the PR machine has trotted out several such hacks, such as Patrick Moore who was allegedly an environmentalist back in the 60s. Starting a year ago the GM cartel launched a media offensive centered on Mark Lynas, a long-time ideological adventurer turned mercenary who poses as having been a ”founder” of the anti-GMO movement, although he was never involved with any movement at all. In this piece the NYT hack presents a Hawaiian politician as the latest convert to the GMO gospel.
One wonders what, other than a payoff, could have changed his mind, since the piece presents zero evidence for why anyone should. On the contrary, it does nothing but spew premeditated lies.
*Without naming the Seralini study, probably because the scribbler doesn’t want people looking it up, the piece refers to it as having been “thoroughly debunked”. In truth, the Seralini study has withstood an unprecedented campaign of media lies, sophistries, and the personal slander of its authors, and its results stand as constituting the best study we have on the effects of GMOs and Roundup . Check that link for a rundown on the study’s findings and how it was superior in every way to every Monsanto study which preceded it.
The journal, ”Food and Chemical Toxicology”, retracted the study after coming under immense pressure from the cartel for over a year, including being forced to accept a Monsanto cadre onto its editorial board . It was only then that Monsanto was able to work from within to cause the journal to retract the study. The retraction was done in defiance of Committee on Publication Ethics (of which FCT is a member) protocols. It was a blatant case of ideological censorship of science.
The NYT has now made its stand clearly on the side of ideology and censorship, and against science.
*This is confirmed in the very next paragraph, which repeats the debunked canned lie, that there’s a “scientific consensus” in support of GMO safety. This is self-evidently false , as is proven by the recent statement by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), “There Is No Consensus on GMO Safety” , which has been signed by hundreds of scientists.
The NYT is aware of this statement, and is aware of the fact that there’s never been anything approaching such a ”consensus”, but has chosen brazenly to repeat this canned lie.
There is in fact a consensus among independent scientists that GMOs are not known to be safe , that there are reasons for concern and substantial evidence to back up those concerns, and that long-term rigorous safety testing should be done prior to the commercialization of GMOs.
Meanwhile, no scientists support GMOs, only mercenary technicians paid by industry. The piece later offers examples of alleged “independent” support for GMOs, but its examples are all pillars of the system.
It starts with the standard NYT lie and political misdirection which tries to separate government from corporations and to oppose them to one another. But the corporate state is a monolith, and the job of government regulators is to support the corporate imperative while putting their fraudulent seal of “safety” approval upon its products. The same is true of the WHO (which adopted industry-written standards for allergenic testing of GMOs) and corporatized professional associations like the National Academy of Sciences. Meanwhile, when the leadership of the American Association for the Advancement of Science unilaterally issued a statement opposing GMO labeling, there was a veritable revolt among the rank and file publicly denouncing the statement and declaring that the leadership (including several industry-paid mercenaries) didn’t speak for them .
This is a common pattern. The FDA, the USDA, the UK Food Standards Agency, the AMA, the British Medical Association, the Royal Society of Canada, are just a few examples of government and professional groups where political appointees and corrupt mercenaries among the leadership promoted an anti-scientific pro-GMO line over the objections of large numbers of the working scientists among the rank and file.
(I remember how during the Bush years the NYT and others were sometimes willing to discuss this phenomenon where it came to environmental and other kinds of regulatory agencies. But even then it was verboten to investigate the anti-scientific rubber-stamp corruption and collaboration of regulatory agencies with the GMO cartel.)
*Having opened up with those lies, the piece proceeds with the fraudulent trope that “scientists” are for GMOs, while consistently depicting anyone opposed to GMOs or corporate agriculture as such in an infantile, emotional way. This too turns the truth upside down, as it’s the GMO flacks who are consistently shrill and emotional in attacking anyone who questions GMOs in the most scabrous personal terms. This is because GMO proponents in fact have no good arguments or evidence on their side, and could never hope to win a rational debate. They have literally zero science in accord with their advocacy. On the contrary, from day one the GMO assault has relied on nothing but ideological dogma (“substantial equivalence”), junk science (one gene = one trait, to mention just one from the long list of pseudo-scientific lies), Big Lies (“feed the world”), fraudulent feeding tests (testing only industry parameters like quick weight gain, never safety issues, intentionally of too short a duration, using bogus reference groups to generate noise, etc.) corporate welfare, monopoly muscle, and thuggery.
*Speaking of Big Lies, the piece alludes to the Big Lie that GMOs are needed to Feed the World. “At stake is how to grow food most efficiently, at a time when a warming world and a growing population make that goal all the more urgent.”
Based on that, you might think there would follow a pro- and con- of corporate agriculture vs. agroecology. But no, the piece assumes corporate ag as normative throughout, and never subjects GMOs to a criticism nor even mentions the alternative.
For good reason – corporate ag and GMOs are already a proven failure, while the evidence is overwhelming that agroecology produces far more and better food than industrial ag , even now in the period of cheap fossil fuels. Since cheap fossil fuels, along with aquifer water and industrially mined phosphorus, are finite, industrial ag is unsustainable. Once one or more of these inputs upon which industrial ag is dependent becomes economically or physically impossible, industrial ag will become impossible.
Corporate agriculture, meanwhile, has already proven that it cannot  and does not want to “feed the world” . Corporations have been fully in charge of globalized food production and distribution for over fifty years now. Right now the earth and farmers produce enough food for ten billion people, yet out of 6.5 billion on earth two billion suffer from hunger, malnutrition, or other diseases related to poor diets.
To any honest, rational person this proves that corporations cannot “feed the world”, and that we need a completely different mode of production and distribution. But physical production with agroecology or non-GMO conventional agriculture is not a problem. GMOs are completely unnecessary to increase production in the first place, and in the second place are actually agriculturally inferior and yield less than non-GM conventional equivalents .
Agroecology offers a vibrant and plentiful way forward for agriculture, democracy, and humanity. But it can’t be enclosed and dominated by corporatism . That’s precisely why the NYT and the rest of the corporate media suppress knowledge about it. According to a new analysis of corporate media pro-GMO propaganda , the magisterial 2008 report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science, Technology, and Knowledge for Development (IAASTD)  which strongly finds for agroecology and against GMOs has never been mentioned in NYT ”news” coverage. This constitutes a systematic suppression of the truth on the part of the NYT. The blackout continues in this hack piece.
*Several times the author and her fellow hacks she quotes in the piece try to draw a parallel between climate change denial and opposition to GMOs. But as always the truth is the opposite. It’s the proponents who are climate change deniers or derelicts, since industrial agriculture is the most egregious emitter of greenhouse gases and destroyer of carbon sinks. If we really care about climate change and really want to do something about it, our only option is to fight to abolish industrial ag and replace it with a complete transformation to agroecology on a food sovereignty basis, and along the way to do all we can to preserve the great variety of regionally/climatically adapted seed varieties which will be necessary for agriculture to adapt. There’s no other meaningful course of action. GMOs, of course, comprise a doubling down on industrial ag, and therefore on making the effects of climate change the worst they can possibly be. The GMO cartel is also explicit that its goal is to eradicate seed diversity and replace it with a globally standardized set of a handful of maladaptive, biologically denuded proprietary varieties geared to commodity monocropping, which are guaranteed to fail, and already are failing .
It’s the opposition to GMOs which is on the side of climate science, while the proponents are on the pro-corporate side of the deniers. But a far more perfect parallel is with the history of tobacco science and anti-science. Big Tobacco engaged in the exact same propaganda and obfuscation program, enlisted the same pseudo-scientific mercenaries, told the same kinds of lies, shouted down the science in the same way, got the same kind of support from regulators and media, and was able to continue perpetrating mass murder.
We GMO abolitionists are in the same scientific, moral, and historical position as the early activists of the anti-tobacco movement.
I’ll add that GMO proponents are evolution deniers, since it’s obvious from Evolution 101 that superweeds and superbugs will develop resistance to herbicides and endemic crop poisons. They’ve been doing so, and are doing so at an accelerating rate. GMOs also escalate the already dire crisis of microbial antibiotic resistance driven by promiscuous subtherapeutic use on factory farms. GMOs are engineered to include an antibiotic resistance marker (ARM) by which the cultured cells which took up the transgene are identified. (After the insertion, the whole batch is drenched with antibiotics, and only the cells which incorporated the transgene including the ARM aren’t killed.) So GMO DNA spreads antibiotic resistance throughout the microbial communities of the soil, our mouths, our digestive tracts. This is a pending public health catastrophe. While in a just universe only GMO and CAFO supporters would sicken and die from antibiotic resistant microbes, unfortunately human beings are also vulnerable.
*The piece keeps engaging in standard NYT political misdirection, representing agricultural and food issues as “liberal vs. conservative” or “left vs. right”. In truth GMOs and the wholesale poisoning of our food may be the best example of the pure divide of humanity vs. corporatism which slices through all these obsolete identifiers. But a job of the corporate media is to try to keep people ignorant and pigeonholed into these hermetic, unreal categories.
The struggle is also that of science vs. anti-science. How does science work where it comes to a dubious technology like GMOs? It must begin with the precautionary principle. This means it must begin with some basic questions.
1. Do we need this? Agricultural science has already given a clear answer: No. Agroecology and non-GM conventional agriculture are both superior to GMOs in every way.
2. Are there alternatives? The science is clear: Yes. Again, agroecology and non-GM conventional agriculture are both superior to GMOs in every way where it comes to productivity. As for the distribution of food, we already know that corporate agriculture is a failure. So reason and the scientific mindset are clear that the distribution system has to be changed. We know that Food Sovereignty , food production and distribution based on economic and political democracy, distributes far more food on a fair basis to everyone. It’s a clear alternative to corporatism, and the only alternative to corporate tyranny and indenture.
3. Is it safe? Science says GMOs have to be subjected to mandatory rigorous long-term safety testing. The NYT piece quotes a hack who tells the lie that such testing has been done.
But the fact is that GMOs were first legalized under the “substantial equivalence” ideological dogma, over the vehement objections of FDA scientists who pointed out that it was a lie. But not only was no long-term safety testing EVER done or required by any government, but this dogma was invented to provide an ideological justification for why this testing allegedly wasn’t necessary.
The truth is the exact opposite. Science has decided strongly against GMOs.
-All independent studies, as well as most of the rigged industry tests, have found evidence of toxicity. Often they’ve found evidence that GMOs cause cancer as well.
-The hacks have no rebuttal, no facts, no arguments. They’ve never been able to do anything but try to shut down the science, from secrecy and censorship of their own results, to withholding research materials from independent researchers, to demonizing the independent science which is done.
-Meanwhile Monsanto implicitly concedes the validity of the Seralini study, the Puzstai study, and the rest of the many studies which found strong evidence of heath dangers, since it has always refused to spend the pennies it would cost to replicate those studies.
But that’s how science works. If you think a study was badly done, you redo it, correcting only the parts of the methodology you find faulty, and see if you get a different result. That’s all Seralini did – he redid Monsanto’s own studies, changing only their methodological frauds, but otherwise using the same kind of rat, the same sample sizes, etc.
The fact that Monsanto does not do the same is a concession on Monsanto’s part.
*The examples of “studies” which gave GMOs a green light are frauds. An EU “comprehensive review”, and a list of animal tests maintained by the cartel site “Biofortified” (the piece lies about its independence), are two of several reviews which merely list a bunch of rigged industry tests. There are no legitimate safety studies on these lists. They’re mostly feeding trials which were set up to measure only industry parameters (quick weight gain, conversion of macronutrients, and similar metrics which have zero to do with safety in the human diet), were too short to give a meaningful measure of human toxicity and other health effects (usually 90 days with rats, a duration calibrated to ensure chronic health effects wouldn’t become clear; that’s why tests of such duration are called “subchronic”), and were unscientifically designed to include bogus “reference” groups having nothing to do with the ostensible object of the study, but designed to generate noise and drown out signal.
Earth Open Source was able to identify only three safety tests in the entire report . These were too short but at least measured some health parameters. These three all found evidence of toxicity and altered composition and were ambivalent in their conclusions.
Even in spite of all these intentional barriers, these industry tests nevertheless often found evidence of toxicity. The Seralini experiment was nothing more or less than a replication of several of the most prominent of these bogus tests which still found evidence of toxicity, changing only the duration (from the unscientific 90 days to the scientific 2 years) and measuring toxicity parameters so that these effects could be scientifically measured rather than merely noted as in the industry tests.
The funniest thing about the EU report is that even though it was designed to be pro-GMO, its result was so tepid that the hacks haven’t been inclined to cite the report itself, but instead always cite a press release written about it by the pro-GM UKFSA which depicts the report in much stronger terms than the what the report actually says. So their own propaganda report was too weak for them.
It’s no surprise. The most amazing thing about the pro-GM propaganda machine is that for all the money and power behind it, and for all the noise and emotionality it spews, its lies are so flimsy, its arguments so transparently false.
*One interesting detail is the citation of an earlier (2012) hack piece at NPR . Here we see an example of the “liberal media” equivalent of similar processes by which canned lies percolate up through the “right-wing” media . The canned lies start with the cartel itself and its affiliated blogs and listservs like Biofortified and AgBioWorld. From there they worm their way along the media food chain, reach a place like NPR, Mother Jones , or the Huffington Post , and from there can leap to the NYT front page.
(But there’s plenty of cross-pollination between “liberal” and “conservative” media channels. See this Politico piece  for an example of how the pro-industry code word “patchwork” has migrated over the years from Frank Luntz memos to become a standard term of mainstream media reportage.)
*The piece regurgitates the always-confused lie about the ongoing India cotton farmer genocide. In this case the intrepid politician’s quote contradicts the scribbler’s paraphrase of a tendentious “Nature” article. The former blames the mass suicides on debt, while the latter claims farmers are more profitable than before. (Even the pro-GM Indian government is unable to keep that lie straight. ) If they’re more profitable, by which we’re supposed to understand they’re doing better financially, then how can they be driven by debt to suicide?
Meanwhile the quote is absurd. It’s the GMO treadmill which aggravated the pre-existing industrial ag indenture treadmill. GMOs escalated the existing pathology where farmers were induced by government lies and threats to incur debt to shackle themselves to expensive inputs. Once you’re in the trap, it’s almost impossible to get out, which is why over 300,000 have been driven by their despair to kill themselves, often by drinking their own pesticides, a death-by-poison symbolic of how Bt cotton doesn’t even work at the one and only thing it was supposed to do, kill insect pests and so obviate the need to purchase additional insecticides. This extra input the farmers were promised they’d never have to buy, along with the soaring price of GMO seeds and artificial irrigation the crops require but which the farmers weren’t originally told about, is what has driven the debt catastrophe and the suicide wave it’s provoked. This is why it’s not just a mass suicide but the genocide of an economically superflous group. Monsanto and the Indian government want to clear the land for large-scale industrial farms, Stalin-fashion.
But none of this will appear in the NYT, or even a hint of understanding what sharecropping is. That’s because here as everywhere else the NYT’s job is to suppress the truth and replace it with lies and a void of forgetting.
*The piece has a sequence where its bumbling politician protagonist, along with the reader, is tutored by a cadre from an unidentified “national agriculture research center”. This “tutorial” is really a compendium of elementary falsehoods about genetic engineering and contamination.
Later the scribbler sniffs at “Jeffrey Smith, a self-styled expert on GMOs with no scientific credentials”. The NYT hack does not explain exactly what credential a molecular biologist like Jon Suzuki (the aforementioned “tutor”) has to speak about agriculture, or a plant technician like Pam Ronald (the charlatan whose own studies are being retracted left and right for actual incompetence and misconduct ) has to speak about human toxicity and carcinogenicity. But this kind of double standard is the regular journalistic standard at the New York Times. Anyone who speaks for concentrated power is considered an expert by definition, while anyone who dissents from corporatism is considered an outlaw. Thus other NYT pieces have depicted John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Rajiv Shad, Michael Taylor, and other power cadres with zero technical credentials whatsoever as experts on GMOs.
*There’s plenty of other distortions and lies in the piece. This hatchet job on science, reason, morality, and simple truth and human decency is perhaps the worst which has ever appeared so prominently in the corporate media, which is saying alot.
I cited Julius Streicher in my title, not as just some off-the-cuff Nazi allusion, but to make a specific comparison. The Nuremburg tribunal held Streicher accountable for his journalistic activities on behalf of the Nazi conspiracy against the peace and to commit crimes against humanity . Those are the two counts on which he was indicted. He was convicted of committing crimes against humanity and was hanged. If Goebbels had survived to be put on trial, he would’ve been convicted and hanged in the exact same way.
I point this out to place the kind of media propaganda campaign we’re seeing today on Monsanto’s behalf in historical and moral perspective. These are two perspectives almost always morbidly lacking in today’s thought and discourse. But if humanity wants to survive, we’d better start thinking and talking about them.