Inside the DDT Propaganda Machine

The Tyee has published an extract from a book by Donald Gutstein on corporate propaganda in Canada:

In the years since the Stockholm Treaty was signed, readers of Canadian newspapers have not had an opportunity for Greenpeace's position on DDT to be explained to them by Greenpeace itself. The only information they received about this environmental organization's position on DDT was conveyed by the organization's foes.

National Post readers learned, for instance, courtesy of then columnist Elizabeth Nickson, that "groups like Greenpeace... serve their own ideological agenda, and want to keep the Third World permanently mired in poverty, disease and death. So far it has succeeded," she commented. Greenpeace, with 100,000 members in Canada, actually supports limited DDT use to combat malaria, but readers of Canadian newspapers may have missed this information. CORE and Africa Fighting Malaria, on the other hand, have no members in Canada, yet were given space in the Canadian press to speak for themselves and to be represented in a positive light by their allies. ...

Roger Bate and his tobacco links gets covered, but there's also Niger Innis:

The charges were repeated by The Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente in a column titled "Bring back DDT: Eco-imperialism is killing African children." Wente featured Niger Innis, head of the Congress of Racial Equality, whose message was that wealthy Western countries had an "irrational aversion" to the use of DDT and successfully banned its use worldwide. As a result, African nations couldn't use this chemical to wipe out malaria and millions of African children were dying every year. Quoting Innis, she concluded that "First World environmentalists have saddled the Third World with debt and death." ...

In her Globe column on eco-imperialism, Margaret Wente assured readers that Niger Innis was "neither a shill for industry nor a raging neo-con," but the spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, which, she explained, was "a leading African-American advocacy group." In fact, Innis was a shill for industry and a raging neocon.

And the Congress of Racial Equality had not been a leading African-American advocacy group since the 1960s. At that time CORE had been at the forefront of the struggle for equal rights, as a pioneer in the use of non-violent direct action to challenge segregation. CORE collapsed in the '70s and the remnant was taken over by Roy Innis (Niger Innis's father), who moved the organization to the Republican right.

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The Globe and Mail and the National Post are not the only media outlets in Canada, despite their pretensions to the contrary. On top of which everyone that reads these papers are well aware that they are seeing the plutocratic view of current affairs, and filter accordingly.

"groups like Greenpeace... serve their own ideological agenda, and want to keep the Third World permanently mired in poverty, disease and death."

One of the most egregious & offensive & blatant lies I have ever seen in public debate. That this meme is so demonstrably false and yet so persistent, is a troubling comment on the power of propaganda and willing self delusion.

The author is up to her neck in her own rancid ideological sewer pit.

There are some great quotes in the , Wikipedia article on CORE., eg from founder James Farmer CORE "has no functioning chapters; it holds no conventions, no elections, no meetings, sets no policies, has no social programs and does no fund-raising. In my opinion, CORE is fraudulent."

Also worth looking at along the same lines is the African American Environmentalist Association.

Finally, a typo alert "Roger Innis" in second-last para should be "Niger Innis".

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 24 Jan 2010 #permalink

Margaret Wente is an idiot; the National Post is a (bankrupt) rag.

By ckc (not kc) (not verified) on 24 Jan 2010 #permalink

This is an excellent book. I'm just finishing it. Canada-centric, but it covers a lot about propaganda mills in general (The Cato Institutie, CEI, The Fraser Institute, and so on), and the doubt industry. It covers the whole AGW denialist machine as well.

Well referenced, but lacks an index.

âIn fact, Innis was a shill for industry and a raging neocon.â Thatâs your rebuttal? Typical of Progressives â name calling. And considering the âaccuracyâ of Wikipedia political articles, Iâd say this link ( ) would be a fair counter point. Also, this quote: âCORE collapsed in the '70s and the remnant was taken over by Roy Innis (Niger Innis's father), who moved the organization to the Republican right.â is a blatant distortion â in fact Innis was elected National Chairman of CORE in 1968.

Umm, and a link to a bioplug on a Repug web site headed "Roy Innis, conservative" is supposed to refute the claim that Roy Innis is a conservative?

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 24 Jan 2010 #permalink

Nice link, [LowOnProzac.](…)

Right there on the page a large ad for Palin's anti-science tome, plus the chance of signing up for a newsletter for the latest "columns" by such distinguished personas as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.

Compelling indeed.

DDT is such a classic example of corporate propaganda that flies in the face of reality - far more than the campaign against the AGW theory. There are numerous publications on why DDT is not used as extensively as a few decades ago in the fight against malaria - and it certainly has nothing to do with the non-existent worldwide ban on the chemical. It is, however, highly illuminating that that shadiest of corporations, Monsanto, is involved here. Compared to them Big Oil is positively holy.