Media Ignore Conyers's Breathtaking DDT Ignorance

Imagine a conservative congressperson doing something this unhinged and not getting raked over the coals in the press (Wall Street Journal link requires subscription):

Tuesday was Africa Malaria Day, and Michigan Representative John Conyers marked the event by inviting something called the Pesticide Action Network to Capitol Hill to denounce DDT as an unsafe malaria intervention. What was he thinking?

Malaria, which is spread through mosquito bites, kills about a million people annually, mostly children and pregnant women in Africa. We're not sure where the House Judiciary Chairman got his medical expertise, but he won't reduce that death toll by promoting disinformation about DDT and malaria prevention. And at taxpayers' expense, no less.

PAN and a shrinking band of other activist know-nothings insist that employing DDT against malaria is "especially dangerous for developing infants and children," but there is no scientific basis to the claim. Zip.

..... The World Health Organization, the Global Fund and the U.S. Agency for International Development have overcome this hostility and endorsed DDT as a safe and effective tool for fighting malaria. Even environmentalist groups, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace, that once deplored DDT have piped down.

But not John Conyers, who is lost in a time warp.

Hey John: It's 2007, not 1967. DDT is A-OK.

The web site of Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) has a "Truth Sheet" (PDF) dated April 23 that is largely a comical exercise in non-science. But it also crosses the line by not so subtly portraying those who wish to have DDT used to fight malaria as race traitors. It's not easy to get a reinforcement of that offensive point, the names of George Bush and Karl Rove, an unnamed reference to Valerie Plame, and the war in Iraq all into one sentence, but PANNA's Truth Sheet pulls it off:

CORE’s 2005 Martin Luther King celebration honored “Green Revolution” scientist Norman Borlaug and Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s election strategist, recently under criminal investigation for his role in “outing” a CIA agent whose husband disagreed with the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Google News searches on "Conyers Pesticide Action Network" and "Conyers Africa Malaria Day" (both searches done without quote marks) confirm that the Wall Street Journal's editorial is the only coverage anywhere of Conyers' craziness, and his association with a group that is on the fringe even by environmentalist standards.

It must be nice to have the Formerly Mainstream Media ignore you when you jump the shark.

Cross-posted at

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