Organic nags: Michelle Obama, Marian Burros

June 17, 2009

Marian Burros, the New York Times’ fossilized, elitist, organic food nag, today tried to lampoon the crop protection industry and the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) in a article for defending conventionally produced food from Michelle Obama’s air-headed slander.

In a letter to the White House defending its products against the First Lady’s aspersions concerning their safety, the Mid-America CropLife Association referred to the pesticides and herbicides as “crop protection products” — a “euphemism,” according to Burros.

To the extent “crop protection products” is a euphemism, it’s a necessary one given that Burros and her ilk have spent the last 40 years publicly denigrating perfectly safe pesticides, feriltizers and other chemicals as dangerous. There is no evidence that any legally applied pesticide has ever harmed anyone.

Let’s keep in mind that it is only through “crop protection products,” conventional farming, and pesticides and herbicides — whatever name you want to use — that Western farmers have been able to supply the food that the burgeoning world’s population so desperately needs. In contrast, none of the food policies that Marian Burros advocates could come close to accomplishing what U.S. farmers have through the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Next, Burros tries to lampoon ACSH’s Jeff Stier because Stier said in an interview on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show that if only organic food were produced, obesity and starvation would increase.

“Starvation and obesity simultaneously,” was Burros’ snarky comment.

Stier was right, of course, and Burros was, once again, way off base. If we only produced organic products, we’d have less and more expensive food. Organic products necessarily take up more land and require more inputs (water, fertilizer and labor) — and then run the risk of being wiped out by pests.

In the U.S., people wouldn’t starve but, to save money, their diets would shift toward less expensive, but more calorie-dense processed foods — leading to more obesity. In the rest of the world, the reduced production of food could very well lead to shortages and starvation.

Dumber/more dishonest (take your pick) than Burros is Michelle Obama, whose political gardening at the White House this blog has noted previously.

At yesterday’s Harvest Party for the politically exploited local school children, Michelle Obama continually showcased how ill-prepared she is to pontificate on diet and health (my comments in bold):

Obama: “Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high-blood pressure are all diet-related health issues that cost this country more than $120 billion each year.” [This is an absolutely made-up figure. There is no evidence that diet alone is responsible for the alleged conditions and cost.]

Obama: “Nearly a third of the children in this country are either overweight or obese…” [Wrong. CDC says the figure is about 17%]

Obama: “…and a third will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime.” [Less than 8% of Americans have diabetes, according to the NIH.]

Obama: “In Hispanic and African American communities, those numbers climb even higher so that nearly half of the children in those communities will suffer the same fate.” [False. The figures for minorities are generally significantly less than twice that of white children.]

Obama: “And for the first time in the history of our nation, a nation that is one of the wealthiest on the planet, medical experts have warned that our younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents as a direct result of the obesity epidemic.” [There is no basis in fact for this dire prediction.]

Obama: “So how did we get here? How did we get in this position where we have become such an unhealthy nation, and our children are at risk?” [Ridiculous. As a whole, the U.S. is not unhealthy and neither are its children. More Americans are living longer than ever before.]

Obama: “And the fact is there are a lot of factors, but some of the more simple ones are that too many kids are consuming high-calorie food with low nutritional value…” [Obama served cupcakes to the children at the event.]

Obama: “Well, I’ve learned that if [food is] fresh and grown locally, it’s probably going to taste better. [About locally produced food, should Washington, DC children be denied, say, Florida orange juice because it’s not local? Does Obama plan to construct a White House Orange Grove?]

Obama: “But unfortunately, for too many families, limited access to healthy fruits and vegetables is often a barrier to a healthier diet.” [This is typically due to their expense, especially when they’re locally grown and/or organic.]

Obama: “In so many of our communities, particularly in poorer and more isolated communities, fresh, healthy food is simply out of reach. With few grocery stores in their neighborhoods, residents are forced to rely on convenience stores, fast food restaurants, liquor stores, drug stores and even gas stations for their groceries.” [Poverty is the root problem, not fruit/vegetable availability.]

Obama: “And I want you guys to continue to be my little ambassadors in your own homes and in your own communities, because there are kids who are going to watch this. They’re going to watch this on TV, they’re going to read a report about it or maybe their parents will read a report, and they’re going to see through you just how easy it is for kids to think differently about food. And you’re going to help a lot of people.” [Yeah, you’re going to help a lot of fast food, processed food, food transportation and food retail employees out of work for no good reason.]

Marian Burros should be put to an organic pasture where she can chew her crud. As for Michelle Obama, it makes you long for the days of Bess Truman when the First Lady was hardly ever seen and much less heard from.

4 Responses to “Organic nags: Michelle Obama, Marian Burros”

  1. 4timesayear Says:

    “Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high-blood pressure are all diet-related health issues”

    Not always. Sometimes diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are genetic or age related. Obesity may not be the result of diet, but a lack of exercise. The answer isn’t the government getting involved; quite the contrary, the government ought to quit busing kids who live within a mile of school – it would also help take care of the ADHD problem if the kids had a 1/2 hour walk before school started.

    • kong99 Says:

      Not bussing kids that live withing a mile of school? Sounds good, but that’s selective on who you make exercise. By definition, a bus is needed because of “distance”, so most of the kids would live beyond the mile. Where do they bus kids that live within a mile of school, anyway?

      Gym class. That’s why it’s required, to help keep the kids stay active. They tried to remove it from my local school, but they failed…thankfully.

      Parents can’t be overlooked here. Kids sitting in front of the television or the X-Box 360 for hours and hours every day doesn’t help. In any case, the government has no business stepping in to play mother anyway. I don’t give a crap is 90% of the kids are obese, the government needs to quit thinking it’s their responsibility to “fix” people.

    • kong99 Says:

      That is, beyond deciding what they will include/exclude at public events or buildings. I will concede that the government has a right to replace junk food machines with healthier stuff, but they have no business in our homes.

  2. kong99 Says:

    This media love affair with the Obamas is getting rather tiresome.

    Never in my life have I seen a President push whatever propaganda he choses and never get a single slap on the hand or a pressing question that points light on the negatives of his agenda. Everything he does is glorified and made to sound perfect, when in fact there are a lot of massive consequences coming from his policies. He’s never doubted or called on his mistakes.

    Never in my life have I seen a First Lady get so much glorified attention. Michelle is not just treated as a respectful figure in the same way as First Ladies in the past, she’s treated like a movie star. Michelle is spending her time bouncing around on leftist t.v. shows and behaving like she’s Miss USA on popularity steroids…pushing propaganda that’s as true as the earth is flat. Previous First Ladies have gotten involved with charity organizations and what-not (excluding Hilary) and didn’t get a lot of media coverage. But Michelle? She’s to the libs as what the entire Royal family is to England. It makes me want to puke.

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