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"America's Heartland"
KVIE and American Public Television Show
Criticized Over Its Sponsors

JIM WASSERMAN / Sacramento Bee 26jul2005

"America's Heartland" KVIE and American Public Television Show Criticized Over Its Sponsors JIM WASSERMAN / Sacramento Bee 26jul2005

 

Mindfully.org note:

A TV show on farming by Monsanto is a bad joke because Monsanto and its industrial farming allies are the principal reason for the collapse of the real American Heartland. 

In the first half of the last century, the great heartland hadn't been hit yet by industrial agriculture. It wasn't exactly a model we'd like to see repeated, but it was still made up mostly of small family-owned and -operated farms. Just after WWII, when the chemical industry had to find a new target for its profits, the farm was chosen and someone named Norman E. Borlaug came up with a plan that was perfect for the chemical industry to promote the
Green Revolution. It relied heavily on chemical inputs in the form of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Between then and now, Borlaug has condemned his own crazed scientific child and is promoting the Gene Revolution. This is even more controversial than its predecessor and is a highbred form of genetic engineering and chemical inputs that are matched. The problem with the Green Revolution is that it relies entirely on those synthetic chemical inputs and monoculture crops, which is when only one variety of crop covers many hundreds of acres as far as the eye can see. It also requires irrigation and extremely expensive and large investments in heavy machinery. The machinery put hundreds of thousands of farm workers out of a job. It also bankrupted small family farmers. Today, the category of farmer has been eliminated from the US Census because less than 1% of the population claim to be farmers. And the synthetic chemical inputs contaminated the ground water so much that it became unpotable. The earth became compacted and unable to sustain life without those chemical inputs. 

Small-scale farms have disappeared and been merged into mega-scale farms owned by mega-corporations, whose business and social practices are. . . well, exactly what Monsanto stands for a mega-bully with an insatiable appetite for devouring anything in its way. It will do and say anything to turn a profit. It has a well-documented history of lying, cheating, stealing, bribing, maligning and pretty much anything one can imagine as the worst example of a member of any community. The media will not normally state the truth when focusing on Monsanto because of a fear of being sued. Monsanto is familiar with the practice of frivolous lawsuits, sometimes called SLAPP suits.

Monsanto also blackmails farmers for replanting its patented Roundup Ready seeds, which come in several types of crops such as corn, cotton and soy. Please read about the famous case of a Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser.

There's an abundance of negative facts about Monsanto!

More on Monsanto and its products

A 40-member coalition of food safety groups, environmentalists and anti-biotech organizations is demanding that a Sacramento public television station withdraw its national weekly TV series on U.S. food production scheduled to debut in September. The groups claim that sponsorship of "America's Heartland" by agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto Co., the American Farm Bureau Federation and other national farm organizations will present viewers "biased" programming favoring genetically engineered crops and other conventional farming methods.

The campaign against KVIE and American Public Television represents a new front in a global fight between groups favoring organic agriculture and companies modifying crops by moving genes between different plant species. At least one national group of food producers and restaurateurs said it typifies attacks from groups funded "by a relative handful of deep-pocketed philanthropies." "Groups like the Center for Food Safety have (aligned themselves) ... with activists who believe that Americans should be building a bridge back to the 19th century in regard to agriculture," said David Martosko, spokesman for the Center for Consumer Freedom.

The 30-minute show, which targets an urban audience for agricultural stories, remains on track for a September debut on KVIE, said Jim O'Donnell, the station's director of program marketing. Donna Hardwick, director of communications for American Public Television, confirmed the same on Monday.

Groups including the Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club and Greenpeace USA say the show needs new sponsors to guarantee its integrity. The coalition sent letters Friday to KVIE and its national distributor for the show, Boston-based American Public Television, saying promotional materials for the show suggest its content "may be used to promote the interests of industrial agriculture."

O'Donnell, pointing to the station's long history of producing "California Heartland," rejected claims that Monsanto and other financial sponsors will improperly influence the national show's stories and tone.

"The editorial content and mission of the show was established in the eight years that 'California Heartland' was produced, and that die was cut before we even began fundraising for the national show," O'Donnell said.

Station officials have said costs to produce the series are in "seven figures."

A Monsanto official also called the campaign "unfortunate."

American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman Don Lipton said Monday: "Nobody has pushed any agenda on the producers of this show."

Craig Culp, spokesman for the Center for Food Safety, suggested otherwise Monday, saying: "They have an absolute obligation as stewards of public television to find underwriters for this series that do not include industries and organizations that can directly benefit from the airing of that program."

Culp was critical specifically of a 2002 "California Heartland" show on genetically modified foods, saying the segment "was clearly developed to, if not actively promote GE (genetically engineered) foods and crops, certainly to place it in a favorable light and put the opposition in a sort of negative or questionable light."

O'Donnell said the episode was "literally one of hundreds we've done about organic farming, biotech and food safety."

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source: http://www.sacbee.com/content/business/story/13299668p-14141953c.html 27jul2005

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