Many people don’t like journalists to use inflammatory statements in their articles or even their editorials. I on the other hand suggest that using language that people say around the water cooler or during coffee break is appropriate—especially if you want people to “hear” your message.
Last week I questioned “how stupid” the President’s Cancer Panel doctors could be to condemn every chemical in the world as possible cancer causing agents and then suggesting we need to take extraordinary steps to protect ourselves. The two doctors unrealistically want doctors/scientists to be financed for conducting hundreds of yet to be invented tests on every compound looking for a link to cancer. I wrote that the doctors want us to live in a cave, but maybe they would prefer we live in a bubble, but that wouldn’t work either because the bubble would probably be made of plastic—another chemical product. (Article: “Cancer Panel Wants Us To Be Cave Dwellers)
My comments originate from an inquisitive mind and being opinionated. My knowledge comes from earning a bachelor of science degree in journalism, with additional engineering chemistry and physics courses, and experience as a newspaper reporter, newsletter editor, magazine editor, public relations/advertising specialist, agricultural association news director, professional photographer and growing up on a farm in Iowa. All of my experiences suggest that writing a critical opinion about a technical topic does not require being a scientist, doctor or narrow-focused specialist.
As for the inflammatory statements and name calling, they are exactly what people say in every-day conversations. People in authority try and tell me similar statements “off the record.” They are what people truly feel but are afraid to say on microphone but occasionally are caught saying when they think the microphone is off, such as Vice President Biden or the Prime Minister of England.
We have to inspire people to take notice of how conventional agriculture is providing safe, nutritious food to feed an exploding world population. When I claimed that these doctors have to be insane, I have no doubt that I inspired reaction and the message was spread wider than if I made “milk toast” comments. The sensational earns attention.
I see this as fighting fire with fire. The conservative agricultural view is that we have to maintain a high level of decorum and use science-based facts. But the Cancer Panel just told the world to be suspect of all science because nothing is proven safe. The science-based arguments of the last 20 years aren’t winning the battle.
We are losing the battle to the outrageous organizations such as PETA and HSUS. Those money hustlers who write the advertising copy or plan the publicity events are doing much more than name calling. They are misrepresenting the facts, trying to generate sympathy and establishing “false facts”—claiming facts that are nothing more than opinions or lies.
I definitely know something about false facts. I grew up near Fairfield, Iowa, which is home of the U.S. Transcendental Meditation followers of the now deceased Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught the Beatles how to meditate. The group migrated to Fairfield, when Parson College went bankrupt, and bought the college for pennies on the dollar. According to Maharishi, people can levitate (fly), and levitation is taught in two golden domes on campus. The yogi was also professing relocation (people through mind power dissolving at point A and reappearing at point B a distance away). You want scientific proof? The meditation society has scientists to provide their version of scientific proof. I could repeat some really interesting “coffee group” name calling that goes on among most people not associated with making money off the meditators.
Source: Richard Keller, AgProfessional Editor