We’ve seen too many false starts in Europe to think this marks a tide change, but yesterday’s piece in The Guardian — “Why NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs” — was a rare and welcome moment of introspection in the pages of a newspaper that has done more than many in Europe to demonize genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Written by an author who is no particular friend of GM seeds, ingredients or whole foods, and who ends the article by criticizing the companies like Monsanto that sell them, the article nonetheless casts a critical eye on many of the outright lies disseminated by certain NGOs, and to which the Reality-Check page of this blog is dedicated.
The article takes two of anti-GM NGOs’ main claims — that GMOS are unhealthy, and that the research on GMOs can’t be trusted — and subjects them to cross-examination, evidencing and explaining not only how the NGOs have got it wrong, but why they’ve got it wrong, and pointing out where their inherent bias comes from.
After former Greenpeace campaigner Mark Lynas’s “I-destroyed-GM-research-and-I-was-wrong” moment in 2013 and growing scientific fury at the misinformation spread by the likes of Vandana Shiva, could this be the start of a trend towards balanced reporting in even the most left-wing of European media organizations?
Frankly, we’ll believe it when we see something objective on French or German public television. In the two countries that carry the most weight in Europe, unfortunately, so far we continue to see nothing but campaign-style journalism that is anything but objective.