January 1, 2017

How to Read the Corporate Media and What To Do


There’s a new NYT piece about Syngenta’s control of research on the poisoning of honeybees. This and the paper’s recent articles about Kevin Folta and other paid liars, indicate that the paper believes the controversy over corporate control of “science” has become too alive among the public to continue suppressing discussion of it. Our efforts have accomplished that much.
So the NYT, and the corporate media which follow its lead, will now discuss the matter but in such a way as to minimize it, giving personal profiles showing what good people the corporate-funded researchers are, fraudulently claim skeptical scientists are equally compromised by funding from “the organic industry”, and where all else fails depict the most “corrupt” researchers as bad apples not typical of corporate-funded science.
In the case of the pesticide-driven mass destruction of bees, the NYT continues to propagate the lie that this is a new phenomenon and that there’s any doubt about the science. The article here is devoted to seconding Syngenta’s campaign to cast false doubt on what’s already known. But in fact the evidence that pesticides kill honeybees has been accumulating since the 1940s, and by the 1970s it was a well-known dirty secret among federal regulators which they collaborated to keep quiet. Read E. Vallianatos’ Poison Spring for a detailed account of the history of the scientific knowledge. Today corporate media like the NYT collude with corporations like Syngenta to suppress this history. In reality there’s no doubt about the fact that pesticides decimate honeybees, and there has been no doubt since the 70s. Of course they would prefer not to talk about it publicly at all, but we have forced them to. So they move on to public lies.
What’s the effect of this mass media discussion? The NYT hopes it’ll defuse the controversy. Their message: Corporate funding of science isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the practitioners retain their integrity, it’s a force of nature anyway which can’t be undone, and all that’s happening is a healthy investigation of areas where the science is still unsettled. So, as Neil Degrasse Tyson said, “relax”. Everything’s fine.
Anti-poison fighters must fight to make the effect the opposite: Any discussion casting doubt on the integrity of the scientific establishment and reminding people of the corruption of science, whatever this discussion’s immediate effect, will over the longer run continue to erode the legitimacy and authority of the scientific establishment as such. Any high-profile public discussion which acknowledges the controversy automatically puts the idea of “corruption” and “fraud” in the public consciousness. This is why the corporations and media would prefer never to have this discussion in the first place: They know how easily they could lose control of it, and how easily it can backfire on them.
So what to do now? We must cease from arguing piecemeal about things we’ve already forced into the mass media discussion. We must broadly assert what the fact of the mass exposure already proves: “See, even the New York Times admits the scientific establishment is corrupted by corporate money, and therefore you can’t trust anything establishment science says about pesticides and GMOs. They admit it’s all a lie on behalf of profit.”
And when the pro-poison activists try to dispute this, never let them draw you into nit-picking exchanges, always an infinite rabbit-hole. That’s their way of trying to keep sowing doubt and confusion. We’re reaching the point where we can turn the tables of political communication on them and use the psychology of politics to our advantage. The way to do this is to continue hammering away with the basic clear truths, now implicitly being acknowledged by the NYT itself, that the poison-peddling corporations control everything today’s “science” does and says. Leave the pathetic nit-picking to the enemy, while we keep our eye on the prize: Destroying the credibility of the corporations’ false “science”.
Say it again and again: “The New York Times itself admits you’re paid liars.” We’ve evolved, and the political situation has evolved, to the point that we can hone our attack to a few clear standards. This is one of them. Let’s stop muddling through, let’s get organized and disciplined.

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