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FOX Report slips in a slap at bee concerns

Reported by Chrish - April 2, 2007 -

With just a sentence or two, Trace Gallagher (filling in for Shepard Smith on The FOX Report 4/2/07) introduced and dismissed an important and newsworthy topic: the disappearance of honeybees. Squeezed into the "Around the world in 80 seconds" was an acknowledgement that bees are disappearing in alarming numbers, immediately followed by something along the lines of "some say this is just the result of poor beekeeping skills," blaming the beekeepers.

It happened so fast - my attention was caught by "bees" and before I could engage, the "reporting" was over. This is one of the most illuminating cases I've seen of how FOX "reports" an issue without educating viewers at all, and in this case not even alerting viewers that there's something they should know. This is an important story happening right now and it will affect everyone, no matter what party, race, religion, orientation - if you eat food, this is meaningful.

It grabbed my attention because I've been in discussions lately with beekeeper friends (my "beeple", or my "beeps") about recent losses locally. They've attributed it to drought precipitated by climate change and are taking a wait and see attitude, mainly because we can't do anything else.

But their small operations are following the same patterns as large, professional ones. Billions of bees have disappeared in a phenomenon called "Colony Collapse Disorder."

One recent conversation centered around the possibility that genetically modified crops (GM) could be playing a part. While genetic engineers claim that GM corn is harmless to bees, there is now concern that a parasite could be effected and that parasite in turn can harm bee populations. Another possibility is the growing use of insecticides, and yet another is the selective breeding of bees that enables them to work longer seasons. (Professional beekeepers haul their hives around the country, following "the bloom," and the bees pollinate one crop after another starting with almonds in California in February.)

Bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of the US food supply, so this is no small matter. I don't pretend to have any answers; top researchers are puzzled and trying to find the cause before it gets any worse:

"The pollination industry in the United States seems to be teetering on the brink of annihilation. Scientists are concerned that, as a result, many fruits, vegetables and nuts we now enjoy may disappear from the food chain.

Some commercial migratory beekeepers have lost from 30 to 90 percent of their colonies. Often the surviving hives are so weak, they are useless for either pollination or honey production."

This is perfect, an example of a big corporation deciding what you get to learn or think about or care about. How many hours and hours have been wasted on Anna Nicole Smith and Natalee Holloway and Dick Morris and the like, while actual news goes unreported on FOX "News"? We report? You decide.