The Young Turks are morons of the highest calibre who believe it would be a crime not to publish every thought that tumbles through their head. I have never made my views on them public before, but what they have published recently online pushed me over the edge. They posted a video titled ‘Monsanto Giving People Cancer?’ (because protecting yourself from a lawsuit with that question mark, despite in the video saying their products are giving people cancer, shows how much of a backbone you have) where the Turks stumbled their way through a CNN blog post by vomiting out the text practically verbatim the whole time with an undeserved grin of unwarranted self-satisfaction as they say that people like me who see the potential of GMOs are either paid trolls by Monsanto or gullible fools who have been taken in by the evil corporation.
The video begins with the Turks talking about a class action lawsuit filed against Monsanto by people claiming the company failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer associated with their herbicide, Roundup. The man representing these people is Timothy Litzenburg, who is an attorney at the Miller Firm and has spent most of his career representing people who have been injured by dangerous chemicals. Whilst attending the Tribunal for Monsanto, a fake trial that was clearly designed to mislead the public, Timothy stated with some confidence that Roundup and other products containing glyphosate (the active ingredient) cause non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and specifically mentions Christian Sheppard, who is the sole focus of the CNN story the Young Turks practically plagiarize.
As you can imagine, covering an emotional story like this that involves so many people who are suffering from cancer, as well as a technology that is so misunderstood and opposed, and a company as hated as Monsanto, will take effort to make sure that the facts are verified and reported correctly and to make sure that the person reporting the story isn’t letting their own bias creep in. However, right off the bat, you get a feel for the calibre of people the Young Turks are and the lack of research or critical thought that went into their video when one of the Turks, Ana Kasparian, talks about why she is super suspicious of Roundup.
“Monsanto genetically modified crops in order to withstand Roundup and that was always super suspicious to me because – It’s not about genetically modifying plants or crops, it’s about why you would want to do so? Why would you want to use a product that’s so freaking toxic that you would have to go out of your way to genetically modify it”
Do I really need to say anything?!?! Do you even think she stopped to think about what she was going to say before she sat down to record this video? Because I don’t, and I am stunned by the arrogance of this woman who believes she is more than qualified to cover a story like this when she can’t even wrap her head around the basics like why people would want to engineer a plant to be resistant to a specific herbicide. She also seems to be blissfully unaware that just because something is toxic to a specific organism doesn’t mean that that toxicity is universal across all living things. Has she ever taken an antibiotic? How does she think that works? Has she heard that you should not feed chocolate or ibuprofen to dogs?
When it comes to evidence of Roundup and other glyphosate-containing products’ carcinogenic potential, the Turks quote the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2015 report that claimed that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to Humans”. To be blunt, the IARC’s report misrepresented the science in the papers they were referencing. For those who are interested, myself and fellow co-host of The League of Nerds, James, made a video where we discuss the IARC report and show how embarrassingly void it is and talk about how it was tarnishing the reputation of the WHO.
We also had a League of Nerds episode where we talked about conflicts of interest that could explain the working groups’ choice to class Glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.
This report is also where I believe Timothy is getting his evidence linking Monsanto herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as it states…
To quote fellow nerd James, “To say this evidence is limited is to do it a great service, it is as barren as a garden managed by Vandana Shiva.” James goes into detail on TLoNs blog about the research quoted in this IARC report and how it is not badly done or inadequate, but instead, it has been forced to do a job it was never designed to do. He later quotes a much larger study by The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) investigating glyphosate exposure on over 15000 people compared to the 36 people over 3 papers quoted by the IARC report and states that they were unable to find any significant increases in risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to glyphosate.
However, when confronted with a report by the Environment Protection Agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee that shows that there is no proof that glyphosate is carcinogenic, the Turks go down the conspiracy path and say something that would not be out of place coming from the mouth of Alex Jones.
“Keep in mind that someone who was working within the EPA at the time that that statement was released had very cosy ties to Monsanto”
Cenk Uygur (the other Turk) later goes on to say…
“Look if you are a rational human being and a giant multi-billion dollar corporation says ‘don’t worry I have a bunch of scientists and they agree with me’, You know to discount that, right? Please tell me you know to discount that.”
No! Just because research comes from a large multi-billion dollar corporation does not mean that you should automatically discount it. Yes, you should be skeptical of research coming from a company that is set to benefit from said research, but to promote the blanket boycott of a specific source of research shows a deep lack of understanding of how scientific progress is made. Should we discount all research looking into vaccine safety from large pharmaceutical companies? What about research looking into climate change from environment agencies? According to Cenk only neutral scientists should be trusted and their findings should be debated in court.
“If they have neutral scientists that have reports saying it’s not carcinogenic well that’s interesting, and that’s why we go to court and figure it out”
Once again, NO! Science Is not debated in the courtroom, it is debated in the literature where the consensus is that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. However, let’s not forget that seconds early Cenk was confronted with an independent agency whose purpose is to protect human health and the environment, the EPA, who said there was no proof of carcinogenic potential and he dismissed it with some Alex Jones-esque logic.
“Do think there is any chance that the scientists that Monsanto hired were going to come out and go, ‘Oh my god, it’s really carcinogenic, you guys have got to stop this’, you would stop making all those hundreds of millions of dollars off this product.”
YES!!!! Do you really think so little of scientists that you believe we can all be bought? As if we are not human and we don’t care about our fellow man or the environment. Do you really believe that the kind of people who work for Monsanto would not be out of place at SPECTRE, Umbrella, Soylent or Weyland-Yutani? I know I have said it multiple times so far, but this video is incredibly similar to those that Alex Jones produces – it’s undeniable and it gets much worse.
Towards the end of the video, the Turks turn the conspiracy dial up to 11, as they say that the reason why they get negative backlash whenever mentioning Monsanto and GMOs is because Monsanto hires professional trolls and bots who “attack people who have the audacity to criticise them [Monsanto] and the behaviour we have just played out”. They later go on to say that they are surprised that people feel so passionate about the subject and the only reason can be because of these paid shills, or that you are so weak-minded that you have been persuaded by the propaganda. The thought that people and real scientists like myself, who have actually read the research they are quoting and disagree with them, never crossed their mind.
Although fascinating to watch these two idiots embarrass themselves online, nothing they said so far boiled my blood until at the end Cenk tells his audience to beware of people who say that the true scientific position is to be pro-GMOs, pro-Monsanto, and pro-these chemical that causes cancer. He then later goes on to say that anyone who disagrees will be harassed by paid Monsanto trolls.
I am one of these people who Cenk warns you about, who are pro-GMO, but I am pro-GMO much in the same way I am pro-electricity or pro-welding. I know I sound like a broken record here, but the ability to genetically modify something is a tool and not the final product. By not only lumping all GMOs in one group but also conflating Monsanto with GMOs Cenk shows us how little research he has done on the topic he is covering.
Unlike The Young Turks’ deranged paranoia suggests, I have never been paid by Monsanto, nor will I harass people who believe this herbicide or GMOs, in general, are dangerous. Instead, I have produced blog posts, videos, and podcasts going after the scientific cornerstones of the anti-GMO movement and have almost 6 years of content showing that those who spout this kind of lazy ill-informed bullshit have no leg to stand on.
But hey, what would I know? After all, I am just some troll who is paid by Monsanto.