Never in a million years would people think Bill Nye “the Science Guy” — who once questioned genetically modified foods and urged against them — would declare his love for altering genes. Yet after a meeting with the agricultural biotech giant, he announced that he was going to update the chapter about GMOs in his book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.
“I went to Monsanto and I spent a lot of time with the scientists there and I have revised my outlook and I’m very excited about telling the world,” says Nye.
Then there was the discovery of a Monsanto ad in O, Oprah’s magazine. Shockingly, nestled among the pages about how to live your best life and surround yourself with happiness, sat an ad for Monsanto depicting a smiling family serving a salad in the kitchen.
Is National Geographic jumping on the Monsanto propaganda bandwagon?
Given this disturbing trend in which those who once stood against unhealthy foods and practices now demonstrate that they’re on board with such evils, is it any surprise that the folks at National Geographic could be following suit?
Consider a recent interview in which National Geographic writer Simon Worrall interviewed Steven Druker, author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. While Druker brings GM food deception to light in his book, every one of Worrall’s questions seem to attempt to steer him towards talking about how gene altering really isn’t so bad. This begs the question: is there more to it? Could it be that National Geographic magazine, which is often filled with glorious images that showcase Earth’s splendor, has ties to Monsanto?
“James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, has called the dangers imputed to GMOs an ‘imaginary monster.’ He’s right, isn’t he?” asks Worrall of Druker.
Linking someone with such an impressive title — in this case, the co-discoverer of DNA — to a GMO-supporting statement is a transparent move designed to make people think, “gee, if such an important individual said that, well, then it must carry substantial weight.” Worrall’s question that “He’s right, isn’t he?” is perhaps the worrisome part of his inquiry. Why would an interviewer ask such a loaded question? Journalistic and author objectivity went by the wayside in that question; at the very least, it reflects poorly on the magazine.
Interview questions are loaded; attempt to position GMOs in favorable light
Linking well-known people with the notion that GM foods are just fine happens again when Worrall asks, “The father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel, altered the genetic makeup of peas by crossbreeding. In what way is genetic engineering different from that?” It’s as if to say that the man we all read about in school, the father of modern genetics, was dabbling in GMOs and that what’s being done today is merely an extension of such greatness.
Not so, Druker explains. “What Mendel was doing was traditional crossbreeding, not altering genes. Nature is set up to encourage genetic diversity and change combinations of genes,” he tells Worrall. “But what the genetic engineers are doing is radically restructuring the makeup of genes and
DNA. This is something unprecedented.”
Every single question from Worrall ends with another one that that attempts to rhetorically answer it. It’s as if Worrall is trying to nudge the conversation towards a pro-GMO standpoint. However, Druker consistently defends his stance by saying how “…these foreign genes are now contained in most of the plants on the market” and that in the United States, “…the media has not reported the controversy fairly. They’ve almost always presented the pro-GMO side. As a result, the American public has been systematically deceived.”
Still, Worrall persists. “You repeatedly say how dangerous GMOs are. The only known outbreak of a mass infection occurred in Japan in the late 80s in connection with the health supplement, L-tryptophan,” he begins in yet another question. Later in the interview, he alludes to much of what’s happening as extreme cases or ones that are beneficial because they have boosted farm income in South Africa.
Thankfully, Druker stood his ground and continually responded in ways that supported the views presented in his book. Nevertheless, Worrall’s questions were concerning. Given his relentless attempts to diminish GM foods’ detrimental impact, would it really be surprising to eventually learn that there are ties between National Geographic and Monsanto?
Sources for this article include: