By Heather Callaghan, Natural Blaze
Millennials lead the charge against GMOs and have more in common with their grandparents than their parents’ generation. Millennials are reviving the art of gardening, local food and food preservation so it shouldn’t be surprising to find thousands of them at the March Against Monsanto. Yet a new survey is attempting to influence the public that it is millennials who love GMOs.
A new survey, according to the Telegraph, declared that “Millennials ‘have no qualms about GM crops’ unlike older generation”. Most people read headlines and headlines like this cast a major influence. All the propaganda is right in the title. First, it is falsely claiming that millennials have embraced genetic engineering of their food. Second, by mentioning the “older generation” and claiming they are against GMOs, the survey casts a subtle message that if you don’t accept GMOs you are stodgy and archaic, instead of hip and open-minded like the supposed millennials.
But is that what the survey was about at all??
GM Watch reports on the survey commissioned by the GM industry body, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), carried out by the polling firm Populus. At first, the actual survey wasn’t made available with any links, which means journalists wrote articles without even checking. But then….:
…perhaps in response to queries from skeptical members of the public, Populus put the survey tables online, under “New Farming Techniques“.
It turns out that the skeptics were right. The questions were appallingly biased.
All the questions in the poll were preceded by some information: “Technology is increasingly being developed to tackle the challenges of 21st century farming and food security. Innovative techniques have been designed to provide the best possible data collection and management to allow greater precision across the food production process. The benefits of these techniques include: allowing more targeted weed, pest and disease control, reducing energy usage, delivering higher yields and overall allowing for more sustainable and productive farming. To what extent would you support or oppose the following farming techniques?”
This clearly is intended to suggest that all of the techniques people were then asked about deliver some or all of these benefits, but in the case of GM and gene editing, that is a matter of huge public controversy. So the introduction cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen as a neutral piece of information.
Only after being given this information were people asked, in the GM question, what they thought about “Plant breeding using gene editing to make crops more nutritious, pest and disease resistant”.
Not only is the question biased but it is strange that the answers are interpreted as sweeping, uncritical support for GMO crops among millennials. “No qualms?” There was no room for qualms in the survey!
GM Watch says that Populus – a member of the British Polling Council – violated rules for conducting polls. A Council stipulation states that complete wording of the question asked must be made public the same time the survey results come out – not several days later, in this instance.
The Council says that a reputable organization ideally would not contain any serious bias in their questionnaire and “introduce bias into a survey by means of question wording.”
By these standards, the survey should be held to the light for what appears to be some sneaky info maneuvering.
What would have happened if a decidedly anti-gmo group had manipulated data and presented it to the media the way that Populus has done?
Let us know what you think below and don’t for get to share the love!
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