All too often, as was the case with her fisherman, her Occupy protester John, or her Québec student protester, the people quoted in Wente’s articles are not who she claims they are. Today she writes that Greenpeace:
“has lots of allies, including luminaries such as Naomi Klein and groups such as the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, whose mission is ‘collaborative campaigning for food sovereignty and environmental justice.’ These groups insist that what the poor really need is utopian political solutions. ‘Food insecurity is brought about by lack of enough land, by decreasing rice production and decreasing incomes,” says one Golden Rice opponent. ‘Only through a genuine land reform which ensures farmers’ access to sufficient rice and other food sources will farmers start to become healthy again.’”
Unfortunately, the person whose quote she borrows (without attribution or identification) is not a Western luminary like Naomi Klein. He is a peasant farmer from the Philippines:
“Farmers and church people from the municipalities of Pototan and Zarraga oppose the introduction of Genetically Modified Rice into their respective municipalities...PAMANGGAS (United Peasants in Panay and Guimaras) Secretary General Chris Chavez stressed that Vitamin-A deficiency amongst Filipinos is not the farmer’s sole problem. ‘Most of us are also deficient from zinc, folate, B1 and B12, and calcium.’ The problem hence is multiple micronutrient deficiency. Chavez also added that the main cause of farmers’ malnourishment is food insecurity. ‘Food insecurity brought about by lack of enough land, by decreasing rice production and decreasing incomes. Only through a genuine land reform which ensures farmers’ access to sufficient rice and other food sources will farmers start to become healthy again.’”
Factual and attribution errors on Wente’s part are simply too frequent (browse the archives, including yesterday’s sampler). Had Wente identified the speaker in this case, she wouldn’t have made the error. Unless, of course, she wanted to mislead readers.
Perhaps Wente should argue for the introduction of GMO seed around her country estate. But if she wants to force it on Filipino peasants, she should at least acknowledge their opposition by properly identifying them.