The Daily Show and Colbert Report Bite Back against the Pesticide Industry

After the pesticide industry “shuddered” at the thought of an organic garden on the White House lawn, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have exposed the laughability of their reaction through a couple clips on their nightly satire shows.  Monstanto, the Mid-America Croplife Association (whose funders include BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta), and the American Council of Science and Health (funded by Monsanto, Kraft, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, Frito-Lay, Ford Motor Company, Merck, Pfizer, and many more), all have written letters to Michelle Obama or made statements condemning the garden’s lack of pesticides, citing health reasons, elitism, and the “average American’s” lack of time to grow their own food (assumably, the use of pesticides would free up hours on the day).

Both the Daily Show and Colbert Report have created some great satirical pieces on their shows mocking the actions of the pesticide industry and its lobbyists, calling out their promotion of chemicals on the food we eat and the criticism of the Obamas’ garden, which will be growing food (and honeybees) for the White House Kitchen, donating what the can’t use to food banks, and serve as an educational garden for local schools.  Though the shows may not be the “mainstream” arena for political debate, they have served to make an impact on national politics and are a strong component in setting an agenda for debate.  As representatives of pop culture, it shows the traction local, organic foods and community food security are gaining on a national stage!

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Little Crop of Horrors
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag – Texas Secession & MACA (The piece starts after a bit on Texas Secession, at about 2:05)
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Keyboard Cat

The reaction of MACA, ACSH, and Monsanto to the White House Garden was also discussed recently by Michael Pollan on Democracy Now.  Pollan observed that part of the issue stems from the fact that “organic”, perhaps positive and becoming the norm for some, is a “fighting word” in the context of the agriculture world.  “She did not have to say it was an organic garden; she could have simply said it’s a garden. And that she did was noticed,” said Pollan.

Here’s a snippet of the letter MACA sent to the Obamas with regards to their garden:

We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs….

As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America’s farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation….

Sophisticated Global Positioning Systems can be specifically designed for spraying pesticides. A weed detector equipped with infrared light identifies specific plants by the different rates of light they reflect and then sends a signal to a pump to spray a preset amount of herbicide onto the weed….

The CropLife Ambassador Network offers educational programs for elementary school educators at covering the science behind crop protection products and their contribution to sustainable agriculture. You may find our programs America’s Abundance, Farmers Stewards of the Land and War of the Weeds of particular interest. We thank you for recognizing the importance and value of America’s current agricultural technologies in feeding our country and contributing to the U.S economy.

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