It’s said to be one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations in the world. But the National Geographic Society, which publishes the popular National Geographic magazine, sure takes in a lot of money from the drug and biotechnology industries, as evidenced by the multi-page advertising spreads littering its print periodical.
After blowing the lid recently on National Geographic‘s shameless endorsements for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and vaccines, we decided to pick up the latest issue of National Geographic to see who’s funding the magazine these days. Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly every ad was for pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, GMOs or crop chemicals.
The May 2015 issue of National Geographic opens up with an ad on page six for “K9 Advantix II,” a flea, tick and mosquito drug for dogs that’s manufactured by Bayer Healthcare LLC. This particular product, which contains dangerous pesticides like permethrin, was exposed by Scientific American in 2010 for causing serious side effects in dogs, including rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.
On the very next page of National Geographic, a 10-page spread promoting genetically modified (GM) crops manufactured by Cargill poses as an in-depth article about “The Future of Food.” Rehashing the myth that GMOs are needed to feed the world’s growing population, this blatant biotech promotion piece is filled with lies about how GM soybeans are helping to protect against rainforest deforestation.
“Cargill is helping transport these (GM) crops to create a food-secure world,” reads the GMO puff piece.
Page after page of Cargill ads suggest that this powerful multinational corporation is somehow improving people’s lives rather than ruining them through patented “Frankencrops” and deadly crop chemicals. It’s what we’ve come to expect from media sources like Fox and CNN, which are heavily influenced by drug and biotech interests, but not necessarily from National Geographic.
Pasteurized milk, GM potatoes and hard liquor — these are the industries that sway National Geographic content
But it doesn’t end here. Immediately following the multi-page Cargill endorsement in National Geographic is a propaganda story on milk and how 68% of adults worldwide can’t tolerate it due to “lactose intolerance.” Instead of being honest and explaining how pasteurization destroys the lactase enzyme necessary to digest milk lactose, and how raw milk drinkers don’t have this problem, National Geographic blames evolutionary mystery.
Citing research by evolutionary geneticist Pascale Gerbault, author Catherine Zimmerman ambiguously writes that lactase “is present in young children but weakens in most people after weaning,” as if it just sort of appears and then disappears. As to why “lactose intolerance” just so happened to emerge around the advent of pasteurization, well, it’s just one of life’s little mysteries, according to National Geographic.
Just a few pages later, National Geographic readers get another serving of propaganda with a puff piece promoting a new type of GM potato. Like the recently released GM apples that don’t brown, the GM potatoes covered by National Geographic contain altered RNA that keeps them looking fresher, longer. And of course, no mention is made of any potential dangers associated with the transgenic crop.
And for those readers that are able to make it all the way through the May 2015 issue, the back cover of National Geographic features a fitting ad for Tanqueray No. Ten, an imported gin liquor that “elevates every cocktail.” So in just one issue of National Geographic, a disturbing 15 pages are devoted to promoting GMOs, pharmaceuticals, alcohol and crop chemicals, which explains a lot about the direction the magazine is going these days.
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