Radio 4 smoothing the way for GM crops? Skewed interviewing by Charlotte Smith

1 Mar

farming today header

A sad awakening to hear on Farming Today, by chance, the poorest exchange on GM technology it is possible to imagine – inaccurately billed as an ‘exploration’: 

farming today blurb

Fifteen years ago in the late ‘90s, Radio 4’s Farming Today ‘faced the chop’ because of its courageous, truthful coverage of BSE and FMD issues and is now bland and establishment-friendly, proud that its ‘the rural agenda’ – and that of Countryfile – has made countryside “relevant to people’s lives as both a playground and a source of affordable and safe food.”

Note the playground is given first priority, when food – the staff of life – is placed second – a long way behind tourism and the import-export merry-go-round promoted by government and probably all ‘mainstream’ political parties.

Charlotte’s leading questions and comments, emotional not rational, included:

  • Are we holding back progress?
  • Is regulatory process hampering the development of GM crops?
  • We need GM crops to feed the world (quoting Mark Walport) – a theory discredited by facts presented by many, including geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou.

This notion of progress was used  in the 60s to build defective concrete tower blocks and justify other dubious projects – and now the taxpayer levied HS2.

Charlotte asserted that the rest of the world is using the technology (mainly for animal feed) but look at the pro-biotech ISAAA’s table:

GMO using conutires

The Rothamsted advocate could not have been given an easier ride

One of Charlotte’s opening remarks was “We need progress”  –  but surely not progress towards resistant weeds, insect pests and damage to health. None of these problems were even mentioned by the opponent of GM crops from the Soil Association. Were guidelines been imposed beforehand as a condition of appearing?


MH 2 & farmer from MissouriThe BBC is challenged to invite farmer Michael Hart to speak in such a debate.

No laboratory scientist, in his short documentary he investigated the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travelled across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM.

During the making of the film he heard problems of the ever-increasing costs of seeds and chemicals to weeds becoming resistant to herbicides.

The BBC is also challenged to present the facts about the high levels of ill health in a generation of Americans ‘nourished’ on meat from cattle fed GM maize and soy.

revolving_doorOr would this present too many obstacles to acceptance of GM technology, end the hospitality to media and close the biotech industry’s revolving door to the public relations sector, scientists and politicians?



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