Science double standard: Media embrace NGO-exaggerated risks, downplay industry research

EWG Social Share TSCA C

[T]here is a dangerous double standard in news coverage of environmental and public health risks. Research funded by industry, playing down the risk, almost always prompts appropriate skepticism and challenge. Research by public health and environmental advocates, almost invariably playing up the risk, almost never does.

We instinctively trust those we perceive to be on our side, and mistrust those who aren’t. Environmental and public health groups may have their own agendas, but they are on our side, the public’s side. Corporations and industry are on their own side, and selfishly put their profit above public interest.

But such journalistic imbalance can do real harm. Reporting that fails to apply reasonable skepticism to the scientific claims of environmental and public health advocates — claims that generally play up risk and danger — leaves us more afraid of some things than the evidence suggests we need to be: genetically modified food, radiation and nuclear power, industrial chemicals. All of these things pose some risk, but not nearly as much as the most adamant advocates claim. Excessive fears lead to choices and behaviors that can have significant and harmful impact, both for us as individuals and for society. Fear of radiation that vastly exceeds the actual risk, for example, fuels opposition to nuclear energy, which emits no greenhouse gases and could help in the fight against climate change.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Cheese Powder and Other Hobgoblins: A Double Standard in Risk Reporting

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend