7 comments on “Show “The Doctors” Has Hint of Rationality Regarding Glyphosate (Roundup)

  1. The Doctors is definitely better than Dr. Oz but, unfortunately, that is damning by faint praise.

    I really disliked this segment. It was textbook false equivalence and could be used as a case study. I disagree with you that Dr. Stork’s comments rescued the segment. Your analysis is good but your analysis is not what a lay viewer would have gotten from this program segment.

    What a viewer would get is that there exists a controversy within the scientific community that is deep and unresolved. Jeffrey Smith (the GMO expert) represents one side and Dr. Farmer (who is, of course, invested in a certain way of viewing things because she’s a Monsanto expert on glyphosate) represents the other side. Even though their feelings on this matter are opposed, the feelings of one are no more or less valid than the feelings of the other (if Dr. Stork did anything is make sure that Smith & farmer ended on the same level –so, in that sense, the show was balanced because of him since without him Smith would have come out looking better). There’s really no way to know whose feelings are closer to reality until the scientific controversy is finally resolved.

    Again, what I write in the above paragraph are not my views but a representation of the impression I believe the segment would make on an uninformed, lay viewer. This is one risk of engaging with crackpots like Jeffrey “I believe I can fly” Smith, if it is not done correctly one can end up legitimizing the crackpot. This is almost guaranteed to happen when one gets trapped in a false balance situation like Dr. Donna Farmer did. Thought perhaps a different expert may have fared better (the logic of sending your best expert on glyphosate to a public appearance where the subject of discussion is glyphosate is superficially sound but someone better disposed to deal with general anti-GMO talking points may have been a better choice), the way the program was set up was almost guaranteed to foster false balance and it is likely that it would not have made a very big difference.

    • I agree that Jeffrey Smith is the biggest crackpot of them all …. and I want to barf every time I hear him referred to as an ‘expert’ – just as I indicated in my post. And the false equivalency of sides is always an issue when anything scientific is questioned by the scientifically illiterate and called a controversy by the media – BUT I still think this was one of the most even-handed treatments of such a topic I’ve yet seen on mainstream TV.

      I thought Farmer was given plenty of air time. I liked her and found her believable. Her appeal that she is a mom too was very powerful considering the audience of the show.

      Smith was not given any time in the ‘final thoughts’ part of the segment so no last word from him. And Dr. Stork did a good job of tempering the anti-glyph sentiment in the room.

      It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than most!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

  2. Great post, Julee! It is such a pleasure to read from someone who does get it. Monsanto, and scientists are not all on a suicidal/homicidal mission to wipe humans off the face of the Earth. I don’t get mainstream TV (traveling full time) so didn’t see the show, but it is good to know there are some sensible productions available.

    • Thanks Holly. I know it’s all how you look at it so some might have seen the show as an affirmation of their hatred of Monsanto but I really did think they made a sincere attempt to be even-handed.

      • You’re right, folks got their biases confirmed for sure, whichever side, but like you I really appreciated the Monsanto scientist pointing out that she’s a mother too! People don’t think of Monsanto as being comprised of many many family oriented people just like themselves. Oz, Smith, Mercola, et al, do not do us good service with their sensational and alarming reports. I also think people do not really grasp the magnitude of the subject. Monsanto’s as regulated as any other big company in other industries. It’s not like they are sneakily poisoning us all for profit as some ardent conspiracists would have us believe. We’ve got a planet of 8 billion souls all with mouths to feed! We have to do smart agriculture. (Of course there are many who think we need to whittle that number down considerably because we’re destroying the planet…. but that’s another issue.) ;~)

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