A recent analysis shows that the largest media purveyors of anti-science beliefs about biology are just who you expect; overwhelmingly opposed to science (except global warming!) and overwhelmingly anti-business but, as I detailed in Science Left Behind, they are also overwhelmingly left-wing. By left-wing I did not mean your average Democrat or liberal. A Berkeley activist opposed to GMOs has nothing in common with a New York City cop, but they are both voting Democrat. I meant the anti-science progressive wing of the left, social authoritarians who want to label and ban things they oppose.(1)
They are found right there in the recent paper on media coverage of science denial. They are the target audience of NPR and The Guardian and Mother Jones, who overwhelmingly also self-indicate they care more about poor people in developing nations than everyone else. That is why they over-represent when it comes to attacks on science. They are modern day Rudyard Kipling's - if you aren't familiar with Kipling, picture a Victorian Nicholas Kristof, burdened by the terrible purpose of their White Savior Complex. Except in the modern White Savior Complex, they are not bringing progress to poor countries to make them more Western, they are keeping such progress from them for their own good.
Of course, the people most likely to believe Science Is A Vast Corporate Conspiracy will dismiss such data outright, as they do all inconvenient data, because the co-authors work at Bayer, and since Bayer bought Monsanto, all of Bayer is eeeeevil. They insist they can easily see how the Web Of Monsanto-Loving Science Journals feeds itself, so only they can tell The Rest Of The Story, and so they do. On social media. Where they clobber the pro-science community easily.(2)
It is a real struggle for that reason. Scientists don't want to be called shills, racists, and everything else the activists of the world do to science groups that oppose their fundamentalism.
But that is not the only reason. Facebook pages and Twitter are now key sources of scientific disinformation because scientists, who hate to speak in absolutes, are over-matched by inflamed rhetoric. If a scientist scientifically states, 'there is no conclusive evidence that X causes cancer', they are easily overrun by activists who will reply 'so you don't know it doesn't cause cancer, but XYX, who got cancer from the product, knows it does.'
In a real sense, GMOs have won the fight. After two decades is use, so long they are off-patent, without so much as a stomach ache, they are hardly worth mentioning. The only reason they are noticed is because our regulatory system is stuck in the 1970s. It's why food strains using Mutagenesis, literal chemical and radiation baths, can get an organic sticker.
Non-GMO Project has sold stickers for 67,000 products even though there are only a few that have GMO counterparts at all. That is credit to their savvy marketing - and they are paying groups to try and scare people. But organic food remains stuck at a tiny fraction of the overall food market because Non-GMO Project and the $2 billion in anti-science activists they support can never answer the obvious four word question scientists ask: if GMOs are harmful "Where Are The Bodies?"
(1) In a two-party system the big umbrellas will both have kooks but, I noted, if you told me what anti-science positions someone held, I was going to be right about how they voted almost all of the time.
(2) Revenue equals popularity and organic trade groups began to leverage that with political allies in media. Over time the biggest promoters of organic food, by undermining conventional farming, became places like The Guardian, NPR, and Mother Jones.
No on expects science from Mother Jones or Guardian but NPR is funded by all U.S. taxpayers. If you read their media kit for advertisers, they brag about how educated and rich (and implicitly white) their demographic is. And Democrats, which means they virtue signal to a lot of other beliefs shared on one side of the political aisle. To those in the know (or at least not in denial) it is little surprise that Organic Consumers Association sponsors talks by chief vaccine denier for hire Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
They wouldn't do that if their members were not only accepting of it, but in agreement.
- Organic Activists, Anti-Vaxxers, And Scientologists Claim We're A Corporate 'Front' Group. Their Disinformation Exposed
- It's The Calories In Pizza That Will Make You Fat, Not The Box: Congress Wants To Ban The Box
- Forbes Takes Down Anti-Science Beliefs At NPR
- U.S. Senate Rejects GMO Labeling Amendment
- Alternet And The Anti-Vaccine Movement