Watch Monsanto Lobbyist Say Roundup, Its Weed Killer, Is A-OK To Drink, And Then Flat-Out Refuse To — VIDEO
If you occupy a spot on the environmentalist left, or you know someone who does, you've probably heard the name Monsanto. One of the biggest and most popularly reviled corporations in the world, the Big M has been the bane of agricultural activists for years, for myriad reasons: Its use of potentially hazardous chemicals on crops, or the genetic engineering and exclusive patenting of seeds, or its role in producing genetically modified foods, for example. So here's a chance to watch Monsanto lobbyist Patrick Moore say weed killer is safe to drink, and then flat-out refuse a sample himself.
It all played out on French channel Canal+, and as televised foot-in-the-mouth moments go, it's pretty compelling. Here's some background: One of Monsanto's big moneymakers is the weed killer Roundup, which they produce seeds specifically engineered to work in conjunction with. Resistant to the product's active ingredient glyphosate, the idea is that the seeds survive the treatment no problem, while weed growth is thwarted.
But what's already in a down year for its business, as detailed by The Wall Street Journal, Monsanto got yet another piece of troubling news — the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. In other words, they believe it could cause cancer in humans, meaning people all over the world now have one more reason to disdain the agrochemical giant.
This, of course, brings us to Monsanto lobbyist Patrick Moore's Canal+ appearance. Moore attempted to use the appearance to polish up Roundup's faltering reputation, insisting with a fair amount of passion that it hasn't increased cancer rates in Argentina, and that a person could "drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you." Of course, any shill for a controversial company who makes a claim like that opens themselves up to a pretty predictable retort: So you want some?
Suffice to say Moore was none too pleased with the interviewer's clever offer. After being told that they had some on hand if he wanted to demonstrate this drinkable safety he alleged, he initially responded that he'd "be happy to," but quickly corrected himself: "Not — not really. But I know it wouldn't hurt me."
Pressed further on lacking the courage of his convictions — it's so safe that the friendly company man will strenuously insist you could safely drink it, but he'll pass, thank you very much — Moore gave a telling defense: "No, I'm not stupid." So who is stupid? The people who took his claims at face value?
He continued, explaining that "people try to commit suicide with it and fail regularly." I think any fair-minded observer would agree that when somebody tells you something is safe to drink a whole quart of, and that it won't hurt you, the implied hazard level is not "people fail to kill themselves this way all the time!"
As you might expect, things got a little testy at this point. As the interviewer pressed him again to slurp down some herbicide ("I'm not an idiot," he again replied) and asked him to admit that it's dangerous, Moore angrily terminated the interview: "You're a complete jerk." Obviously, nobody likes being caught out on television like that. But then again, nobody likes being hypocritically told how safe it is to drink a quart of herbicide. No, really, you first!
Images: Canal+ (4)