information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
The latest round of agricultural propaganda is about to be unleashed on the Islands. It starts Wednesday night with the first in a statewide lecture series on glyphosate (Roundup) and “the implications of genetically engineered foods on our health.”
“Inform yourself and make educated choices” urges the flyer. Though it's hard to see how that is possible with a program that presents just one strident point of view and features a “scientist” who outlandishly claims her research has shown that glyphosate causes autism. Gee, and all this time I thought vaccines were the culprit.
The propaganda punch gets an extra squeeze of juice Saturday night with the premiere screening of “Aina: That Which Feeds Us,” a slick, big-budget film that ramps up the fear about Kauai's seed companies and romanticizes agriculture.
Ironically, it's presented by Waipa Foundation, an organization that has been unable to produce any significant amount of food, even with
free land [correction: a below-market lease] and a steady
infusion of volunteer labor and money from private foundations,
donors and public funds.
Last year, you may recall, the hype was all about atrazine, with Tyrone Hayes making the rounds in the spring, followed by anti-glyphosate speaker Don Huber in the fall.
Because it's not just enough to plant the seeds of paranoia. They must be carefully tended with steady applications of fertilizer. As in bullshit.
Meanwhile, I noticed that tonight, Civil Beat is hosting a screening of “Merchants of Doubt,” a documentary film that claims to reveal propaganda by outing “the pundits-for-hire who sway public opinion on issues of importance.”
Gosh, could they be pulling back the curtain on the anti-GMO/anti-ag activists? No such luck. Watching the trailer, I saw the film instead focuses on the traditional bad guys: Tobacco and chemical lobbyists, climate change deniers.
A few sample snippets of dialogue:
Keep it simple. People will fill in the blanks with their own, I hate to say biases, but perceptions.
We're the negative force. We're just trying to stop stuff.
It's kind of an amazing accomplishment. Such a small group of people have had such a tremendous impact on public opinion.
All of that could be applied just as well to the alarmists, extremists and dilettantes — many of them paid lobbyists — who have hijacked the left in Hawaii. Yet I have no doubt that the majority of the "progressive" folks who will be watching that film — including Civil Beat, which often builds stories around fake experts like Ashley Lukens and Nomi Carmona — have no clue that they're either part of or supporting the exact same style of propaganda on the left.
What struck me, though, was this comment explaining the smoke and mirrors technique used by propagandists:
“It's all about preventing you from looking where the action really is, which is to say the science.”
In Hawaii, the anti-GMO movement is busily distracting people from so many real issues — gentrification, displacement of locals, a lopsided economy, the scourges of tourism, poverty, hunger, low-paying jobs, homelessness, sea level rise, ice.
And all the money that is being spent on anti-GMO/anti-ag propaganda — flying in Vandana Shiva and the other ideologues, producing slick films, staging "shame" protests at the state Capitol, etc. — could have been used to conduct health studies or actually help people.
So what is it really costing us to be conned by the anti-GMO/anti-ag movement in Hawaii?