I got a text last night from a farmer, a kind and good man who has spent his entire life in agriculture. He was in a state of despair after watching Hawaii News Now regurgitate Center for Food Safety propaganda about pesticides:
Just saw the dog and pony show on the evening news put on by the antis, tears and all. Didn't help that the station showed irrigation sprinklers while talking about spraying.
It really upset me to see it. It put me in such a funk. I'm beginning to really hate these fuckers!
Sadly, that's the reaction of decent people when they see frauds and demagogues like CFS director Ashley Lukens repeatedly spew their distortions and lies— all while pretending they actually care about agriculture and people. The antis are so bent on pushing their own agenda that they totally ignore the harm and distress they're inflicting on real farmers.
Unfortunately, ignorant and/or hoodwinked TV news “reporters” like Rick Daysog, Keahi Tucker and Mahealani Richardson contribute to this dynamic with sensationalized, inaccurate reports.
Daysog never mentioned that Ashley is a paid lobbyist working for a group whose raison d'être is destroying GMO agriculture. He never noted that seed companies already have voluntarily agreed to both disclosure and buffer zones. Does he not know this? Or did he ignore it because it didn't fit the narrative that CFS fed him?
Daysog opened with a crying wahine, whimpering "my son is not a lab rat." But he never tells us why she might have these fears, or who she is, so we can judge her credibility. It's a blatantly manipulative emotional ploy.
Daysog then featured big body bully Klayton Kubo — a guy who makes his living exposing himself to toxins in paint — making all sort of BS claims about “where you think that dust is drifting and the overspray? Coming right on us, my son, my neighbor's kids.” In fact, dust samples taken from his home and others in Waimea Valley have never revealed any ag pesticides.
And Daysog and Hawaii News Now blatantly deceived viewers by talking about pesticide spray and drift while showing irrigation sprinklers — creating the false impression in viewers' minds that this is how pesticides are applied. Do they not care about accuracy? Or are they deliberately trying to mislead?
The station leads with Ashley saying the conversation has shifted from the danger of consuming GMOs — a nonexistent danger that reputable groups like National Academy of Scientists put firmly to rest — to the danger of producing GMOs. Because that's an area where she can stir up all kinds of fears, and raise money for CFS.
Mehealani Richardson intones: "Our top story tonight: Growing push back from families tired of not knowing what chemicals are being sprayed in their communities." Which families, exactly? Certainly not those working in agriculture.
Then Keahi Tucker chimes in with a flat out lie: "Hawaii's big ag companies have been resisting pressure to disclose the pesticides they use..."
Bullshit. Did Hawaii News Now miss the Department of Ag announcement that seed companies voluntarily agreed to disclose? And again, why is the focus only on ag chemicals, when termite and pest control companies use more than anyone?
Daysog doesn't give ag a chance to counter these claims until he's more than half-way through his 2:39 clip — after all the tears and false accusations and misleading footage.
He then features Kona Sen. Josh Green stating, “Glyphosate's toxic. It's been banned in a bunch of countries.” Daysog never challenges Green's claim.
But in fact, only Bermuda, which has very little agriculture, has banned the use of glyphosate.
In Malta, “products containing both the active substance glyphosate and the co-formulant POE-tallowamine, which exacerbates the effects of glyphosate, were being banned. This includes some of the most commonly used commercial pesticides, including Roundup and Roundup Max, but leaves the door open to pesticides that contain glyphosate only.”
Sri Lanka last year relaxed its ban, announcing “the importation of ready-to-use products containing glyphosates would again be permitted.”
Colombia first banned, then reinstated, its use on the illegal coca crop.
Other European countries have banned it for non-commercial use, which doesn't include agriculture.
So is Josh Green — who has announced he's eying a run for governor — pandering, lying, ignorant or simply sharing “alternative facts?”
And that's what gets me, and the farmer, and so many others. Even as the activists decry the “alternative facts” spread by Trump, they're doing the exact same thing. And even as they claim to be engaged in a movement rooted in “love,” their lies, deception and unfair, dirty tactics are breeding hate.
The antis, who have shown themselves to be largely devoid of introspection and self-awareness, need to take a good look in the mirror. It's never easy, especially for narcissists like Ashley, because it's not a pretty reflection. But until they do, and adjust their behavior accordingly, they're no better than the propagandists and demagogues they march against.