Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Letter: I-522 will correctly label food | The Columbian

Letter: I-522 will correctly label food | The Columbian

In 1965, Congress passed the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act that requires that all consumer products in interstate commerce to be honestly and informatively labeled, including food. The underlying principle embodied in this act of Congress is that we have the right to know what is in our food for the purpose of making informed decisions regarding our own health.

The long-term effects of genetically engineered foods on both our bodies and the environment are entirely unknown — yet we are one of the only industrialized nations that does not require that GE foods be labeled as such. Currently, roughly 90 percent of soybeans, cotton, and field corn cultivated in the U.S. were genetically engineered. I have the right to know what's in my food. I will vote for Initiative 522 requiring the labeling of all genetically engineered food in Washington state.
Roy Blodgette

State house panel hears GMO arguments | The Seattle Times

State house panel hears GMO arguments | The Seattle Times

A hearing Wednesday saw many of same people testify on Legislative Initiative 522, which would require labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients.

Seattle Times business reporter

Washington state legislators heard a preview Wednesday of the genetic-engineering food fight expected to be on this fall’s ballot.

The hearing on Legislative Initiative 522, which would require companies to label foods with genetically-engineered ingredients, was basically the House version of a state Senate committee hearing in February.
Many of the same people testified, including Robert Maguire, an attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine who represented the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

He described legal flaws he sees in I-522 to a joint hearing of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the Technology and Economic Development Committee.

The Legislature rarely passes legislative initiatives. When it does not, the measures appear on the ballot for voters to decide. Lawmakers can add their own modified version for voters to consider alongside the original, but that too is rare.

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Jack Olmsted
Multimedia Journalist
Port Townsend, WA
Videoblogging 206
Phone: 202Olmsted (656-7833)

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Comparing Tobacco and GMO PR Campaigns

It has been suggested that the BioAg businesses defeated Prop 37 by using tactics from the "tobacco industries playbook". To understand what this means, check out "The Cigarette Papers"  to see if there are any similarities between the tobacco and GMO campaigns...

"The Cigarette Papers" is a vital weapon in the battle against tobacco. I do not believe that anyone who reads it can remain passive in the struggle against tobacco. We all need to raise our voices to clear the air for a healthier America.


During my years as surgeon general and since, I have often wondered how many people died as a result of the fact that the medical and public health professions were misled by the tobacco industry. Now we can see in retrospect, as the documents discussed in this book reveal, that the tobacco industry was demoralized and in disarray in the mid-1960s, but the public voluntary health agencies and others did not take the kind of decisive action against the industry that some inside the industry expected and feared.

Forming Front Groups

Part of the industry's response to the evidence linking smoking and disease was the formation of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC), later renamed the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR). The industry claimed that TIRC was an independent organization that would determine the truth about the health effects of smoking by funding independent scientific research. The documents show, however, that TIRC was originally created for public relations purposes, to convince the public that there was a "controversy" as to whether smoking is dangerous. As chapter 8 describes, CTR funded "special projects" whose research results could be used by industry lawyers to defend tobacco companies in court and to influence public opinion and public policy.

Chapter 2

The Center for Food Integrity
The Center for Food Integrity is a non-profit organization working to build consumer trust and confidence in today's food system. Our members represent every segment of the food system. (Facebook)
Mission: Building Trust and Confidence in Today's Food System

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Brown and Williamson (W&W)

Not until the late 1940s, however, did the modern scientific case that tobacco causes disease begin to accumulate rapidly.

Its (B&W/Tobacco Industry) purported willingness to engage in and disseminate health-related research was, in reality, always subservient to commercial and litigation considerations. 

The principal aim of this lawyer-controlled research effort was not to improve existing scientific or public understanding of the effects of smoking on health but, rather, to minimize the industry's exposure to litigation liability and additional government regulation.

B&W also sought to prevent the dissemination or disclosure of such results, either in court or in any public forum—apparently to the point of removing some relevant documents from its files and shipping them offshore.

To this day, despite overwhelming scientific evidence and official government reports, the tobacco industry contends that tobacco products are not addictive and do not cause any disease whatsoever.

"Cigarette smoking has not been scientifically established to be a cause of chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or emphysema. Nor has it been shown to affect pregnancy outcome adversely." Sheldon Sommers, M.D., scientific director of the CTR in congressional testimony, March 1983 (29).
(Tobacco Industry's Public Statements)

Chapter 2

This memo suggests that the tobacco industry promoted filter and low-tar cigarettes primarily for public relations purposes. (Filter cigarettes had been marketed since the 1930s.) Tobacco companies realized that their customers were concerned about the reports that cigarette smoking might be dangerous, and they therefore introduced new products designed to calm those fears.

And in 1929 Lucky Strike advertisements claimed that
20,679 physicians have confirmed the fact that Lucky Strike is less irritating to the throat than other cigarettes. 

By the 1950s, when the public was becoming more apprehensive about the health dangers of smoking that were being described in the press, the tobacco industry heavily promoted filter cigarettes and made claims about less tar. In B&W's advertising of Viceroy cigarettes, for example, the "Health-Guard" filter introduced in 1952 was touted:
New HEALTH-GUARD Filter Makes VICEROY Better For Your Health Than Any Other Leading Cigarette! {1703.01, p. 2}
In general, the members of the TIRC's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) were well-respected academic researchers whose presence lent credibility to CTR. TIRC and CTR also had a scientific director who was responsible for outlining a research program and allocating research funds to best advance this program {1920.01, p. 34}. However, as described in chapter 8, the SAB and the scientific director did not always make the final decisions about which projects could be funded by CTR. Tobacco industry lawyers were responsible for many of the funding decisions. Nevertheless, in all the public statements that the industry has released over the years, it has staunchly maintained that TIRC, and later CTR, was an independent organization devoted to determining the health effects of tobacco. As we show later in this section and in chapter 8, however, the industry privately admitted that the main purpose of TIRC was public relations: to keep the "controversy" over smoking and health alive.

The document on TIRC's organization and policy also describes its position on the health effects of tobacco—namely, that the links between smoking and disease had not been proven and that more research was needed to determine the role of tobacco in various diseases.

As the tobacco industry continues its support of the search for truth and knowledge, it must recognize, as is always the case in true scientific research, there can be no promise of a quick answer. The important thing is to keep on adding to knowledge until the accumulative facts provide the basis for a sound conclusion.

Public Relations Statements About Tirc: Creating A False Controversy

The tobacco industry often referred to TIRC in its public relations statements. TIRC was used to reinforce the claim that there was a "controversy" regarding the health effects of smoking and that more research was needed. For example, a document titled "Cigarette Smoking and Health: What Are the Facts?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Edited Footage vs. Raw Footage | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)

Another question that surfaced when the prospect of video sharing began was whether it would represent a way for people to see the news for themselves, without the filter of journalistic editing. The answer appears to be yes, but there is equally a place in this platform for edited journalistic story telling. Users of this platform, in other words, view both styles of videos, depending on the news event. 

In all, more than half (58%) of the most-viewed videos were those that were edited in some way before they were uploaded to YouTube. This means those videos consisted of different shots assembled together to provide meaning or context. Some included narration while others did not.

Edited Footage vs. Raw Footage | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

LA Weekly: YouTube (Vidcon Issue)

Daniel Grimes, a high school student from Ypsilanti, Mich., flew to Los Angeles last July for the YouTube convention Vidcon. He came to see his favorite YouTubers, including Toby Turner, a comedian known in part for his "literal trailers."

"He'll take a video game trailer and sing over it, describing everything that's happening in a painfully obvious but very funny way," Grimes told me, as we sat in an audience of hundreds in a ballroom in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel.

As I blogged at the time, Turner took the stage to perform his literal trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, playing the keyboard and singing exactly what everyone saw on the screen, e.g., "Mysterious hooded man joined by other hooded people."  Read Article

Los Angeles