agricultural communications, agriculture

Agriculture: The Victim of Media Bias

While media bias exists in nearly all forms of media, and in stories told each day across the globe, you can probably count the amount of anti-agricultural stories that get credited with being based on biased information. There are numerous documentaries that have recently been bestowed their fifteen minutes of fame; however, have you ever noticed that although documentaries such as Food Inc. and GMO OMG have been considered esteemed films they have little factual evidence to emphasize their negativity towards agriculture. In fact, GMO OMG is publicly praised all over the internet for being “A documentary that is by turns exasperating, illuminating, and intentionally infuriating” and “eye-opening, compelling and accessible to the laymen”. Meanwhile, pieces like Food Inc. are considered astounding because of reviews that say things like: “Compelling, entertaining and illuminating documentary which makes you think twice, and then a few more times, about eating anything at all in U.S”.

While issues like GMOs, organics, and conventional farming continue to make their way into household conversations, it is crucial to U.S. agriculture that the correct information is spread to consumers, not uneducated attempts at corrupting the face of agriculture. Both videos are a small sector of media bias, but are a prime examples of videos that make many controversial claims, yet show little attempt to certify where they received their information from.

In this instance, these video’s central concern is to shed light to the so-called “truths” about modern agriculture and commercial farming; however, in what seems like an attempt to promote  transparency to consumers, these individuals only end up committing media bias.

The GMO OMG documentary took the nation by storm when its director Jeremy Seifert set out as a concerned father in search of the truth about the foods he was feeding his family. While, this was his stated objective in the video, it quickly became clear to many individuals whom served as his temporary audience, that Seifert’s true goal was to display his knack for troublemaking humanist inquiry to the world. In fact, through some research I soon discovered that much of the idea she stated as facts throughout the documentary merely proved to be ideas formed from his misfired opinions.

Throughout Seifert’s documentary displays a variety of statistics, much of which have little scientific evidence to support them. A large portion of the documentary focuses on the Monsanto donation to Haiti, and only shows the Haitians that believe that the donation was provoked by alternative motives. Additionally, the entire focus of the video is to determine whether or not GMOs are harmful or not. Seifert provides specific data that represents the amount of GMOs that are currently present in today’s most dominating crop productions. The directer also explicitly states false accusations about the difference between organic and non-organic farmers when stating “unless you are an organic farmer, you’re going to purchase chemicals.” To the untamed ear these accusations may seem accurate; however, after further examination and research it is clear that much of these “facts” are far from being factual. There are little statistics  to prove whether or not many of the allegations against American agriculture are accurate; however, most points only increase validity by showing both sides of the matter.

Food Inc. was directed by Robert Kenner, and while it features interviews from “reliable sources,” the documentary blames large corporations for the lack of individuals that were willing volunteers for interviews to contribute to the video. A large portion of the video focuses on mass poultry production farms in the U.S. The video also puts an emphasized focus on various meat packaging and the care of the animals that are being placed in the packaging confinements. It has been said that if you like hotdogs, don’t watch how they are made. If you like meat, don’t watch an animal be killed so you can eat it. However, it would be an understatement to say that this video visits the extremes of agricultural operations and tests the limits of human emotions to see if they will continue to consume these products.

Much like Jeremy Seifert’s documentary, Food Inc. was not designed to show America the truth about the agricultural industry, but to persuade their opinions about the people that are producing the foods to feed them. As media has increasingly became a principal form of communication across the globe, media biases have been quick to follow as a dominating issue within the trend. As news reports get scolded for omitting information and carefully selecting what they share with their viewers, videos that misinform the public about where their food comes from receive little to no negative attention. In fact, they oftentimes go unnoticed while the agricultural operations that they degrade become victims of media bias and their reputations quickly become damaged beyond repair.

References:

http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/film_description.php

http://www.gmofilm.com

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/gmo-omg

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/gmo_omg/

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/food-inc

http://www.gmofilm.com/about-the-filmmakers.aspx

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/gmo-omg

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/pages/haiti-seed-donation.aspx

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