Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 07:19:30 -0800
From: email@example.com (David DeCou)
Subject: Organic Labeling show on Jim Lehrer News Hour??
I was wondering if anyone saw the 10-15 minute portion of the Jim Lehrer
Newshour on Monday evening. Besides being in it myself, I thought they did
a pretty good job. Unfortunately ??? they put it on at the same time as the
Academy Awards, at least on the West Coast, Interesting timing.
93780 River Road
Junction City, OR
Education and Training should not be confused,
Training makes good workers, Education makes good citizens.
Subj: Re: Frogs---Nightly News: Three Shows As One
Well, Frogs is right.
You may remember the metaphor of the frog in the kettle of water brought
slowly to a boil, who never knew of the danger until it was too late.
The "People Who Run The World", as I like to generalize, make certain that we
are completely entertained with prurient scandal and video diversion while the
burners are lit. Is this a bath or are we soup? Ouch.
I much agree that the juxtaposition of the freak frogs and the freak food ( On
NBC) was a perfect pairing and hopefully more than coincidence.
I can't fault the media for such a bad job on both the shows we saw or heard
about last night. Before you blow a gasket hear why. In late December, 1997,,
a PBS producer called me about the organic issue and I and other advocates in
my national organic farmers group, OFMA, helped them put together some of the
footage and interviews for that show on the Proposed Rule on organic farming.
The farmer in the warehouse, Dave DeCou, from Oregon, is the vice president of
OFMA. Bill Brammer, the tall guy with a pony tail is an organic farmer in San
Diego I have known since 1984, and the former president of CCOF. Nice footage
of that Cobalt treatment facility though. Yes, we gave them an encyclopedic
pile of information, and yet none of the fire and little of the detail was in
the PBS report
You could tell from the tape how dated it was: 1000 respondents? I talked with
Michael Hankin of the USDA National Organic Program earlier today and he said
the total had gone well over 40,000. That is still a pathetically small
response. I had hoped for half that many from Austin, Texas alone! Maybe yet!
Other statements on the NBC and the PBS shows were erroneous, and I won't go
into why they were. You all know why. What the errors indicate is that this
organics/GE/Safe Food business is not easily assimilable, very tricky for the
layperson to comprehend, filled with new and scientific terminology, and
merely one of many potential blips on the newsmedia radar. Over and Out. I
should like to hear what those interviewed would say now. Lynn Coody (
Interviewed on PBS on the organic piece), and one of the current NOP technical
review consultants, was so obviously overwhelmed by the incredibly illegitmate
job USDA is doing on organics that she was nearly apoplectic. She has written
much more since that is in greater detail and more organized. I was struck at
the length of time that the camera lingered over her hand on the computer
mouse. Sort of a BBS/internet, Electronic Democracy, itchy fingers ready to
function sort of metaphor...but I am digressing. The PBS report had been in
the can for at least a month and half and was probably released because it was
a slow newsday, or because PBS caught on that NBC was going to spin something
about frogs and fake chicken ( the GE piece). The news is news when it is the
news, and until it is the news, it isn't.
The NBC clip on GE was pure puff and fluff, an inside job orchestrated from
above by people with the cash required to park a PR rep at the NBC New York
office until the network gave in. I fault myself for expecting a Greenpeace
response to balance it. Brokaw asked the question: "But is it safe?" But I
didn't hear very much of a competent answer....and as a matter of fact they
promoted the story all weekend with that question and then failed to answer it
or infer that there was a broad dialogue running.
They did run a heavy piece on child labor in agriculture, so all in all, I
will take it and say thanks! Pesticides faulted in two of three news articles,
with GE at least questioned.
Maybe they want to hear from us why GE isn't safe, economically sound,
improperly reviewed, and an apocalyptic environmental risk
Not one peep about the commodity market at risk overseas by importing
countries,and the high level EU mandates to restrict, further test, perhaps
prohibit. If I was grain farmer, or a US GE sugar beet farmer I would
appreciate a little more on that!
As Charlene Barshevsky, the US Ambassador to the World Trade Organization
might say" Let's not rock the boat now."
You should know that the game will come down to French wine, Isuzu Trucks and
Mercedes automobiles versus our US GE agricultural commodities. In other
words, international trade must not be disrupted over these " unproven" claims
against the GE technology. There's the leverage, and it is big. True objective
science withers in the face of all that gold. But political activism does
work. We just have to do it all the time.
I do think that those hot dogs spewing out of the fabricator would be
unappetizing in any case, so I took heart with the raw footage of fake foods
And then came of course Titanic. Before Oscar we had PBS bookending the food
dialogue was the lyricist of the Titanic Broadway musical, saying that the
reason why Titanic is such a compelling story is that the tragedy is about
hubris, nature defeating the greatest invention of modern technology. And then
to wrap the day's viewing up, the movie that won everything is about
ourselves, vainly pushing full speed ahead, oblivious to the danger that is
Do print out your responses to tonight's viewing and send them off to NBC,
PBS, VP Gore, senators, representatives. Perhaps I will send mine to the TV
critics! But I do plan to be considerate. It doesn't look like much of a
benefit, but I would say we came out on top.
Texas Organic Growers Association
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