Sometimes, I truly hate the New York Times. Their tag line runs the heading: “All the news that’s fit to print”. I wonder how many people today know the source of that tag line. I sometimes wonder if the editors remember the source of it. Let me tell you, in case you don’t know. Back in the 1890’s competing newspapers were more concerned with sensational headlines to move sales, and they weren’t above making stories up, or blowing small stories up into national epics by exaggerating it out of all proportion (think about news organizations that continue to publish stories about “birthers”).
The Times would stand above all that and it’s reputation for integrity has allowed it to become the 3rd most widely read newspaper in the nation, and the only local newspaper with a national following (USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are 1 & 2, respectively) and garner 108 Pulitzer prizes in its history; more than any other news organization in the world; an award created by a rival newspaperman, but judged by a panel of national writers.
Unfortunately, this “newspaper of record” has experienced steadily declining readership (as have all print newspapers), and feels the need to print things, I’m guessing, that create a bit of sexy controversy.
The NYT recently published the results of a Stanford university study that cast doubt on the value of organic fruits and vegetables compared to non organic. They compared three vitamins; A, C, and E, and concluded their was no statistical difference in the content. The Times offered the conclusions of this one study; with out of context quotes by the lead researcher; and no other analysis. There was no discussion of method, other studies, why only those three micronutrients were compared, or any of the other reasons someone might choose to eat organic, that have nothing to do with nutrition yet still profoundly affect health.
To be fair, the NY Times did follow up on their “Well” blog and did a much better job of going into the details and nitty-gritty (click this sentence).
How many of you actually knew that? My point is, if the story didn’t merit a full examination in the print edition, it was not worth publishing at all. It merely confuses and muddies the thoughts of a public already too overwhelmed with information overload to follow-up with further investigation on their own, and that’s why they purchase The New York Times in the first place!
Here’s my take.Some people eat organic foods under the erroneous belief that they automatically are getting more nutritious products. There are dozens of factors affecting the micronutrients content of produce that it’s very difficult to compare. The soil it was grown in, the water used to irrigate, and the ripeness when it was picked all affect the nutritional content. So if I can’t be sure my organic produce is more nutritious, why spend the extra money? Well, I know what won’t be in my organic produce: poison. Pesticides are poison. Skull and crossbones poison. Dont believe me? Go to your local home and garden section at Home Depot and look at the warning labels on any pesticide you find. Poison. Plain and simple. Imagine seeing this warning on produce at the market: “this produce has been repeatedly sprayed with deadly poisons”. See what they tell you to do in case of accidental ingestion of pesticides.
Multiple studies have shown that Pregnant women who consume the most pesticide laden diets give birth to children whose elementary school I.Q.’s are 4-7% lower than average. Childhood cancers, autism, learning deficiencies of all kinds, MS, MD, and a host of other once rare disorders are becoming all too common in our society, and the constant ingestion of *poison* would seem to be a logical place to start looking. But instead, the popular myth that childhood vaccinations, which save 100’s of millions of lives every year ( there is actually a historical record, you know), is somehow the cause of every childhood disease and disability, while the **poisons they ingest daily** somehow remain free of blame or even suspicion.
When “mad cow” disease swept Europe, livestock farmers who used organic feed were unaffected. No cattle on organic farms had to be destroyed, while upwards of 80% of all the other livestock around the continent had to be destroyed because of the infection. Read this if you want to learn more on this: Click
Other reasons I eat organic is because organically grown produce doesn’t last as long. It tends to be locally grown and locally sold. In other words, I’m supporting the local economy; the farmer next door, who’s making an extra effort, at considerable expense in time and money. And by the way, the local can buy personal training sessions with me if they are earning a good living, the farmer in Idaho can’t support me at all.
There are concerns with organic farming when looking beyond the local and personal level. Repeated studies have shown that organic farming techniques produce significantly lower crop yields compared to modern industrial farming. With 7 Billion people in the world, is it possible to feed everyone organically? I have my doubts, and I’m not about to start saying we should allow 50% of the world population to die of starvation. Starving today or possibly getting a deadly cancer in 20 years isn’t a hard choice to make if you’re the starving person or the parent of a starving child. Click this sentence to be taken to a great article in Scientific America. My advice, on a personal level, is anyone who can afford to eat organically should do so, as much as possible, without becoming sanctimonious. Then we should be encouraging agricultural scientific research to produce safer, better approaches for industrial farming to make food, and the environment, safer.
C’mon NYT’s. We have so few reliable media sources left. You charge 100% more per edition than any other local daily. If we buy your paper at that price, don’t we deserve the whole story and all the details, too.
“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer