Another carnival of DDT

One of the clues that someone is financing a public relations campaign for DDT and against care for the environment is the way “news” keeps popping out about the benefits of DDT, though there is no natural process for making such news in back of the stories.

We old PR flacks recognize that without the push from an agent, these stories wouldn’t get written.

Just over a month ago there was a flurry of stories about how DDT was “effective” even after mosquitoes developed immunity to it, because it repels mosquitoes, too — even though that wasn’t what the researchers concluded, and that wasn’t the major thrust of the research article.

We also saw a Hoover Institute fellow call for DDT to be used to fight the spread of West Nile virus, though no public health official called for such action, though there is no particular need for such a drastic change in policy, and despite the fact that DDT spraying for the mosquitoes that carry West Nile is one of the least effective means of killing them (DDT is not a larvacide, and larvacides are called for to combat West Nile).

This month? No real news, but the American Enterprise Institute, which nominally is pitched at promoting business interests, issued a new report recycling all the old canards, calling for increased use of DDT in Africa to fight malaria, despite already expanded use, and despite a lack of call from health officials to spray more DDT.

Here’s how it looks on the internet:

November 5, 2007 – Wall Street Journal opinion piece by AEI’s Roger Bate, over the years one of the most ardent salesmen of DDT as the solution to nearly every problem, so long as it bashed environmentalists. WSJ notes the piece is a shorter version of the AEI report.

November 1, 2007 – TCS piece by AEI’s Roger Bate, complaining generally about environmentalists.

Random DDT stuff, some of which may turn into separate posts:

6 Responses to Another carnival of DDT

  1. […] Carnival of Fighting Malaria (and DDT) It’s been about a year since the first, completely impromptu Carnival of DDT.  Last fall, in October and November, there was enough going on about DDT to merit something like a blog carnival, with a second in November. […]


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Frankly, I find the eco-warriors much more ethical than the DDT-warriors.

    His column deserves a dissection. Maybe soon. Maybe this week.


  3. There is another article – this time in the online magazine ‘spiked’ – arguing for the use of DDT and against “eco-warriors” and “ethics cops”. It’s written by Paul Driessen, author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death”. Here’s a link to the summary of some of the recent writing about DDT:


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    By the way, don’t claim “parody!” as an excuse. Right-wing rants tend to go so far beyond parody that any normal parodist simply sounds not quite with the whole program. Parodying anti-Rachel Carson rants is almost as tough as parodying creationists rants. No sooner do you invent something so crazy that no one could think it true, than the right-wing adopts that position.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Well, yes, I suppose I am saying that some of those sites are part of an insidious larger agenda which is, essentially, evil. Here’s how to tell: Especially to the extent that anyone has fallen victim to the hoax that Rachel Carson urged policies that have damaged efforts to fight malaria, especially to the extent that anyone urges DDT instead of tactics that actually fight malaria, whether wittingly or not, if a post urges DDT use as a “change” in policy, or DDT use in place of more rational steps like draining rain gutters and using bed nets and window screens, or if a post urges that Rachel Carson was something less than a brilliant writer and good scientist who performed valuable public service, the post promotes the public relations campaign of a far-right-wing organization. That’s the purpose of public relations campaigns like that.

    I was intending merely to record some of the on-line activities of the past few weeks that I’ve not had enough time to dissect and expose for approval or disdain. But, yes, I do want to alert more people to the more insidious intent of the anti-Rachel Carson, “if it moves spray it with DDT” campaign.

    At your blog, in the article I cite above, you cite none but the wild-eyed crazy proponents of DDT/enemies of Rachel Carson. While you don’t fully endorse their views, neither do you call them on their distortions or destructive words. How should we categorize your post? Here it’s one sideshow at the DDT carnival.


  6. rambodoc says:

    Are you actually saying that all these, including mine, are part of an insidious, larger agenda of some right-wing organisation?


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