Dan Rather Explores the Bee Collapse/Pesticide Connection

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kokogiak/6274404/">kokogiak</a>/Flickr

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Is a pesticide marketed by Bayer—used on millions of acres of US corn—the factor that’s pushing honey bees into steep annual die-offs that have become known as Colony Collapse Disorder?

A ragtag group of commercial beekeepers has gathered an impressive cache of evidence supporting that claim. In series of articles starting December 2010 on Grist, I dug into the evidence and told the story, which features discredited studies used by Bayer to push the pesticide through EPA registration, an alarming study from a USDA scientist, and more.

I fully expected my work to spark stories in larger, more influential mainstream media, which might in turn inspire progressive Congresspeople to get involved, or force the EPA to reconsider.  I mean, we’re talking about a pesticide whose range extends to nearly the entire US corn crop, and a species critical to producing about a third of the food we eat. Instead, though, silence. In the 2011 growing season, corn farmers once again planted seed treated with Bayer’s suspect bug killers, with nary a peep from Congress or The New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

Well, now, a mainstream-media legend has taken note and filed an excellent report on the topic. Trouble is, Dan Rather isn’t of the mainstream media anymore; he now plies his trade on the upstart network HDnet (still winning Emmy’s though!). As the below segment will show, Rather’s reportorial chops remain intact. I hope other journalists take note—the bee collapse/pesticide story is one that needs to be heard and debated. The bee section of Rather’s show ends at about the 27-minute mark. (Hat tip to the ever-excellent Pesticide Action Network.)

Bee Aware from Greg Stanley on Vimeo.

 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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