WASHINGTON — Among the mainstream media it is axiomatic: If you’re an environmentalist you’re as close to sainthood as you’ll ever get in this life. Maybe you’re a convicted charlatan serving ten years for cheating widows out of their pensions. But dub yourself an environmentalist and MSM skepticism evaporates like water on a hot Texas rock.
Case in point: a recent story from Reuters. Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, notes that scientists have found chemicals in umbilical cord blood. She begins her story thusly:
I can’t understand why Ms. Fox persists in beating around the bush. Why not just say, “According to a new study, a baby’s umbilical cord might as well be a gas pump hose”? At least that way we would know exactly what she’s getting at.
After that impartial opening, what follows is no surprise:
Who can doubt there ought to be a law when the MSM shills for environmentalist scaremongers?
The next paragraph identifies the puppet master behind Reuter’s propaganda:
As a dutiful member of the MSM, Reuters doesn’t bother to mention that the sole purpose of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to promote health scares based on junk science. As Bonner Cohen put it in a piece for the Capital Research Center:
For example, in 1995 an EWG “study” purported to show that popular brands of baby foods contained human carcinogens, neurotoxins and pesticides. EWG neglected to report that the amount of man-made chemicals in the baby food were minuscule (barely .01 percent) and that the other chemicals occurred naturally — they were plants’ natural defense mechanisms against insects, disease, and microbes. According to Cohen:
The current EWG study is called “Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns,” and it is another bonanza of junk science. Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health states, “EWG has taken substances known to be a toxin or carcinogen in high-dose animal experiments, disregarded the actual concentration, and used it for a scare campaign. They’ve ignored one of the sound principles of toxicology: the dose makes the poison. Any substance can be toxic at a high enough dose.”
The actual data in the report makes this clear. For example, EWG claims methyl mercury at 58 parts per billion (ppb) in the mother’s blood during pregnancy “causes measurable declines in brain function in children.” Yet the tests EWG ran on umbilical cord blood found no level of methyl mercury higher than 2.3 ppb.
EWG also notes increases in various health problems, including asthma, autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, childhood brain cancer and acute lymphatic leukemia. “Scientists cannot fully explain these increases, but early life exposure to environmental pollutants is a leading suspect,” the report warns ominously. Dr. Ross responds, “To imagine that such tiny concentrations of the chemicals cause childhood diseases boggles the mind. It doesn’t make physiological sense.” A likelier explanation is that diagnostic techniques are increasingly sophisticated, enabling medicine to more quickly identify illnesses. As Dr. Ross puts it, “We saw a spike in breast cancer in the 1970s. Was that due to some pollutant? No. It was due to the introduction of mammograms which enabled doctors to identify tumors long before they spread.”
Yet Reuters didn’t bother to interview skeptics like Dr. Ross. Overall, balanced media treatment of the issue has been hit-or-miss. The Associated Press sought out industry responses from the American Chemistry Council. The Washington Post did not.
Of course, the MSM failed to do the research that would reveal the lucrative character of EWG scaremongering. For the “Body Burden Project,” EWG raised $400,000 from the New York City-based Beldon Fund (in 2002-2003) and $350,000 from the California-based Marisla Fund (2001). An additional $350,000 came from Marisla in 2002 for “environmental health research.” In 2001 the (Ted) Turner Foundation also chipped in $75,000 for EWG to study the effect of environmental toxins on women and children.
It’s tough to get the MSM to give an objective picture whenever an “environmentalist” has a story to tell. The recent shenanigans of EWG shows how little progress is being made in getting an even break from the media.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?