[Fwd : Overview of "Trade Secrets", by Moyers...]
- This came off another list I'm on.
> I thought some of you might be interested in this. It came from the
> New Heaven, New Earth list, via a friend.
> Dear Readers:
> Two weeks ago, when Bill Moyers' office contacted my editors at Sierra
> magazine to request reprint rights to my 1994 article "Conspiracy of
> Silence," I was skeptical. They said that they were about to broadcast
> exposé called "Trade Secrets," which they promised would expose the
> story on what the chemical industry has been hiding from the public
> and the
> government for 50 years.
> Many of us involved in the struggle for environmental justice have
> shmoozed, lured, courted and bilked out of hundreds of pages of our
> documents, faxes, photocopies, postage and hours spent on the phone
> explaining the facts to an assortment of researchers and reporters for
> shows like Inside Edition, Sixty Minutes and Dateline. They are always
> to do "the big story." But then they either get nixed by their
> producers, or
> complain that a horrid scene like the one at SUNY New Paltz, where 990
> students still live in PCB-contaminated dormitories -- which I have
> since 1991 -- has no "payoff." After all, the pile of corpses is not
> enough; there have not been enough ambulance rides to make good
> And then, these reporters (who are starting to seem like little kids
> to your
> old Uncle Eric) vanish into the ethers from which they came. I've
> gotten a
> few free lunches out of it at my favorite haunts in Woodstock; the
> has found out very little.
> So, somewhat reluctantly, I granted permission for use of my Sierra
> which was used as part of their research, on the PBS web page. (At the
> minute they called back and said they had enough information for the
> and did not need it.)
> And then I checked a TV schedule for the first time in about 20 years,
> watched the report.
> What you saw on Monday night was an historical broadcast. When
> stories do make the news, we who actually know what's behind the story
> content ourselves with the "big media" publishing gross
> to dumb down the facts, muting of the implications of their findings,
> creating major distortions and making know-nothing statements. But the
> years that Moyers and his staff put into this report shined through
> program. I was watching carefully, and skeptically.
> This broadcast was, first of all, a telling of the truth. Second,
> real people, dying workers, the families of dead chemical workers,
> activists, and plaintiff's lawyers, were given a chance to speak from
> guts. There are many, many such people in the world and we rarely hear
> Second is that real documents, in particular, internal corporate
> memos, were
> used. I have been in those rooms full of hundreds of thousands of
> pages of
> documents, I have studied them for years, and what you saw was the
> thing. These records are obtained when sick and dying people and their
> families sue large corporations and judges grant what are called
> motions" and the information is scooped out of the secret files, and
> Particularly in comparison to the utterly thoughtless, hollow news
> on the rest of the time, this broadcast stands out like a Great
> Pyramid at
> Giza. The men you saw defending the industry and whining about biased
> reporting at the end are what chemical activists call "nozzleheads."
> This is
> because when they open their mouths to speak, the lies spew out like
> clouds of DDT you saw kids frolicking around in earlier in the
> Sure, investigative reporting is totally biased. As CBS News legend
> late) Edward R. Murrow once remarked, "Sometimes there is only one
> side of
> the story."
> Had I been the producer of this program, I would have made a few more
> clear, however. Dioxin was mentioned about three times (including the
> that Moyers himself has 14 congeners of the substance, and 31 types of
> in his blood). But the extent of the dioxin problem, and the
> potency of the chemical (which is now measured in
> considered dangerous at 100,000-times lower levels than
> was not really discussed. Fortunately, shots of citizen activists
> at Love Canal in New York, and the tearing down of homes at Times
> Missouri were used to make this point. It would have been great to
> about the dioxin problem in polyvinyl chloride, PCBs and pesticides --
> the final products have, many times, contained dioxin contamination.
> when the used products are burned, enormous levels of dioxins escape
> municipal and toxic waste incinerators.
> Second is that the show made significant mention of lack of testing of
> industrial and household chemicals, stating that 43% of the chemicals
> on the
> market have no product safety testing whatsoever. This is an
> and what was not mentioned was the raiding by the FDA and the EPA in
> late 1970s of about a dozen of the private product testing labs used
> companies to declare their products safe. Many of these labs created
> cancer safety studies and other fraudulent "scientific" findings, and
> the labs were busted and, in one case, employees and executives sent
> to jail
> for fraud, the products were never retested for safety. The situation
> was so
> bad that all of the product safety testing was declared by the FDA and
> to be insufficient based on fraud and poor methodology. This is
> covered to
> some extent in my article Conspiracy of Silence.
> But these are relatively minor criticisms compared to what went out on
> airwaves Monday night, and I want to thank Mr. Moyers and his staff
> their work. But mainly I want to thank the many citizen activists,
> alternative press journalists and lawyers who worked for free and at a
> tremendous personal cost over many years to make this broadcast
> Big television never does the story first; what Moyers knew is that
> story has been done so many times by us little guys that he was immune
> libel suits; the one time Monsanto did falsely sue a reporter, it
> turned out
> to be a nightmare for them.
> I recommend that you obtain a copy of this broadcast, see it if you
> it, and show it to your friends, family and neighbors. If you are a
> please show it to your students. It can be purchased for $35 including
> shipping by calling WNET in New York at (800) 336-1917. There is also
> information at <http://www.PBS.org> and at <http://www.EWG.org>. For
> Nozzlehead side of the story,
> check out <http://www.AboutTradeSecrets.org>.
> For more about chlorine, dioxin and the struggle for environmental
> log onto the Rachel database. It's free, and it's amazing:
> Eric Francis
> On Puget Sound
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