It was yesterday plus thirty two years ago when my mom went into labor on an April Fool’s Day. Mama didn’t raise no fool, and mama also didn’t give birth to me on April Fool’s Day, I made my entrance into the world just after 8AM on April 2, 1983. Had I received the email I did today, yesterday on April Fool’s Day, however, I would have guessed that it was a joke. However when I dug a bit into, I realized the lady that contacted me from the Dr. Oz show was legit…
I asked a friend of a friend for advice because he has dealt with and been in the media for his career so after consulting with him, he offered to call Dr. Oz’s show on my behalf. I appreciated his time and advice in being my unofficial “spokesperson”, if you will, because not only was I completely stunned by this email and didn’t know how to handle national media like that, I was busy with nurse things taking my advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) course in the city. Happy birthday to me, right?!
It was such a compliment that I was invited to appear on the Dr. Oz Show and I am so flattered by being invited. Perhaps one day in the future they might reach out again, but on such short notice it just wasn’t possible for me and I had to respectfully decline. They wanted me to fly a red eye tonight to NYC and film tomorrow afternoon, being a mom of two young boys with a very busy schedule, I just don’t have the luxury of picking up and leaving on such short notice. I have no media training and it’s something I’m increasingly interested in as media opportunities arise, and I would definitely need to have time to be thoroughly prepared for an interview on national television.
I will also be completely honest that while I am so honoured his producer reached out to me to talk a bit about agriculture, I was also hesitant because I know how Dr. Oz has showcased his opinions of agriculture in the past, such as this show on GMOs & pesticides and he also uses buzzwords like “toxic chemicals” regularly. One of the first things the producer asked was if I worked for Monsanto, and we all know where it goes from there. His show has been editing down the truth from true experts in agriculture for over 4 years and unfortunately the science community doesn’t trust Dr. Oz at all, stating that he is in the business of fear and we also can’t forget the study from last year and the data that show only about only one third of the show’s recommendations were supported by evidence. I’m not really sure what I could bring to the table and I fear my words might be edited out of context. He has claimed in the past he wants to know the truth, then presents the opposite.
Dr. Oz wanted me to come on his show to talk about glyphosate. That’s all that was said, no specific details, but with the recent news I am almost certain it would have been about the new claim that glyphosate is a carcinogen. I made it very clear, as I always do with media requests, that I am not a farmer. I am a farmer’s wife and a farm mom, that is it. I research the things that I write about thoroughly and consult the experts, but that does not make me the expert. I have written about how much glyphosate is sprayed on our crops and I have written about glyphosate on wheat, but it’s my farmer and the agronomists I consulted with that are the experts. I know more than the average bear, yes, but I didn’t feel confident enough to go on the Dr. Oz Show with an audience of 4 million viewers to talk about glyphosate with less than 24 hours notice.
Okay, so I lead you into this post with a bit of a misleading title as Dr. Oz himself didn’t call me, but you get the picture now! Other than that exciting opportunity, I spent my 32nd birthday passing my ACLS course, doing a bit of shopping, feeling so loved with a flurry of happy birthday wishes via text and Facebook, and coming home and having dinner with my family. Who would have thought that a 32 year old farm wife and mom of two from a small farming community in Alberta would be called to be on the Dr. Oz Show?
*Update April 8, 2015*
The show titled “How to Know if Your Weed Killer Causes Cancer” aired yesterday. This is the episode that I was invited to appear on and I cannot tell you how happy I am I said no. The experts on the show are the vice president from the Environmental Working Group (you can read my thoughts on the EWG here) and a pediatrician Alan Greene and Robyn O’Brien who describes herself as “the Erin Brokovich of food”and she is also a pro-organic/anti-GMO activist. Dr. Oz said this in the episode:
So my goal is always to have an open and honest conversation, you all know that, but I couldn’t get anyone to appear on the show who supports glyphosate. I reached out to the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Crop Life America—that’s an advocacy group for fertilizer, and Monsanto—that’s the maker of Roundup. They all declined to be on the show, but we did get statements from them.
You can read Monsanto’s statement regarding the show on their blog. Like Kevin Folta said in the comments on that statement: “Oz can’t get scientists on his show because he has demonstrated repeated hostility toward them, selective editing and misrepresentation. He also endorses non-scientific views. We scientists have adopted an agreed-upon policy that we will not give him our credibility until he apologizes to those he’s wronged and starts reflecting content consistent with science. I’ve turned him down multiple times now, and we all will continue to do the same.”
Dr. Oz, the EWG and Robyn O’Brien are so convicted in their beliefs there is no way that my statements or feelings on the safety of glyphosate would change their minds and I likely would have been ambushed. They can say “facts” without any evidence to back up their statements, and I cannot lie like they do. There’s no way I could have kept up with the misinformation and I refuse to take part in this pseudoscience movement.
I also find it highly ironic that suddenly people like Oz and O’Brien as well as other anti-GMO groups are cheerleading the WHO as a trustworthy source for information regarding glyphosate as a carcinoget, when they ignore that the WHO also has made a statement about the safety of GMOs, don’t you?