Volatility

May 18, 2016

Three Notes on Communication in the Poison War

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1. Monsanto’s liars keep fighting the bad fight trying to spin their failure in Burkina Faso.
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As a connoisseur of corporate media bias, I found it refreshing that this Bloomberg piece actually was written according to what’s supposed to be journalistic method. As it should be, the reporter doesn’t claim to be able to read anyone’s mind, but only reports what someone said. For example:
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“Steenkamp said Monsanto still believes its technology will bring a benefit to farmers. The company said in the statement that the introduction in Burkina Faso of its Bollgard II cotton in 2009 in local varieties increased yields and export volumes while reducing pesticide use.”
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This bucks the New York Times standard which is followed by most of the mainstream media, which decrees that where an official or flack from an establishment entity like the US government or a big corporation says something, the scribbler should stenograph it. Thus the NYT would’ve written something like this:
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“Monsanto still believes its technology will bring a benefit to farmer. The company’s Bollgard II cotton was introduced in Burkina Faso in 2009 in local varieties in order to increase yields and export volumes while reducing pesticide use.”
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Of course the responsibility of a true journalist goes further than just proper attribution and not claiming to have a crystal ball. A real reporter would also fact-check Monsanto’s claims about yield and pesticide use and debunk those as the proven lies they are.
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2. The emphasis on commercial glyphosate formulations and the illegitimacy of the concept of “inert ingredients” is good for describing the fraudulence of corporate safety trials and regulatory assessments. But outside this context, it’s a distraction from the clear direct fact that glyphosate itself causes cancer and must be banned completely. So a general piece condemning the poison shouldn’t go off on tangents from the main line of attack. It must be glyphosate first, glyphosate last, glyphosate in the middle. For general purposes “Roundup” and “glyphosate” should be considered synonyms.
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This isn’t an academic point. As we speak the pro-glyphosate forces in the EU are expressing willingness to sacrifice POEA as long as they can separate the concept of it from the concept of glyphosate and make it the scapegoat, all toward the goal of rehabilitating glyphosate’s reputation and getting it re-licensed. That’s what happens when points which are good within a specific context are allowed to sprawl out indiscriminately into general communication, because of lack of conceptual and messaging discipline.
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3. We’ve long known that one of the main reasons most pro-GMO activists support the technology is because GMOs increase pesticide use. These activists want to maximize pesticide use but are often too cowardly openly to admit this. In particular, they’ve usually denied being Monsanto flunkeys who are really trying to boost Roundup sales. This lie has become completely transparent since the 2015 WHO cancer declaration forced the pro-GMO activists into overt Roundup shilling.
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Well, it was just a matter of time before they tried to turn this around. Here’s the first example I’ve seen of an implied claim that people are campaigning against glyphosate as some kind of stealth attack on GMOs.
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“Verger said: Every year we evaluate 10-30 compounds, and I can tell you that a lot of them are more dangerous and potent than glyphosate. We are a bit uncomfortable that there is so much interest in this assessment, [just] because this particular pesticide is used for GM crops.”
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This lie is as pathetic as all the rest. The people are rising against glyphosate because it causes cancer and has no constructive use. Contrary to the hack’s lie, to whatever extent there’s cause and effect in our oppositions it’s the other way around: One of the main reasons we oppose GMOs is precisely because GMOs are nothing but poison plants designed and intended to maximize the use of poisons like glyphosate.
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So it looks like we may be seeing this lie more often, but destroying it is easy.
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