FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Second Dark Ages

by MICKEY Z

“Science is always wrong; it never solves a problem without creating ten more.”

-George Bernard Shaw

The June 20, 2003 New York Times offered readers a prime illustration of how those in power manipulate “science” to their needs. In an editorial entitled, “Censorship on Global Warming,” the Times chastised the Bush administration for displaying “ostrichlike behavior,” vis-à-vis the dangers of global warming and possible human contributions to climate changes. Lamenting the “heavy-handed censorship” of an Environmental Protection Agency draft report on global warming. The Bush administration, says the Times, “seems determined to bury its head in the sand and hope the problem will go away.”

“A long section on the risks posed by rising global temperatures was reduced to a noncommittal paragraph,” says the editorial. While such outrage is warranted, it’s hardly credible when it comes from a corporate media outlet partially funded by petroleum and auto industry ad dollars…an outlet never shy about promoting a predatory corporate agenda.

That same edition of the Times contained an article (“Talks Collapse on U.S. Efforts to Open Europe to Biotech Food”) in which reporter David Leonhardt detailed talks between the U.S. and EU over “opening up Europe to genetically modified (GM) foods.”

The Bush administration, fresh off ignoring the existing science on global warming, declared Europe’s GM food policy ignores the fact that scientific research had shown “genetically altered crops to be safe.” Hardly the radical sort, European officials do allow the use of some genetically modified foods, like soybeans, and merely view the long-term effects of altered food to be “uncertain.”

Here’s where the newspaper of record weighs in…big time.

“Genetically modified food – which can grow more quickly than traditional crops and can be resistant to insects – has caused scant controversy in the United States, where people eat it every day,” writes Leonhardt. So what’s different in Europe? Leonhardt explains that the environmental movement is “more powerful” there (ah, it’s the Luddite tree-huggers again).

Leonhardt’s ostrichlike behavior does not stop there. “Scientific research has generally shown that genetically modified foods do not cause health problems,” he writes before quoting Don Lipton, a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Countries shouldn’t be able to erect barriers for nonscientific reasons,” says Lipton. “That’s a very important principle in international trade.”

Pushing his head ever further into the sand, Leonhardt also evokes the ever-useful “America as hero” tactic: “In a speech last month, President Bush (sic) escalated the dispute by saying that Europe’s policy was undermining efforts to fight hunger in Africa.” Bush’s scriptwriters explain: “European governments should join, not hinder, the great cause of ending hunger in Africa.”

Africa swoons from the irony, Europe cringes at yet-another public dispute with The World’s Only Superpower(tm), and here in the U.S., we chow down on GM food, secure in the knowledge that our un-elected leaders have that whole global warming thing under control.

If there were an ostrich in the room, I’d apologize…

MICKEY Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet and an editor at Wide Angle. He can be reached at: mzx2@earthlink.net.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail