How Animal Rights Activists Try to Twist Public Perceptions

An observant reader directed me to a fascinating article illustrating how some animal rights groups are more than willing to distort reality to serve their cause. The article, Animal Experimentation Is Good!” How Industry Front Organizations Try to Twist Public Perceptions is published on the VegSource.Com web site and is devoted to discussing how medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies and others involved in animal research supposedly distort the truth and try to deceive the public.

Which is interesting, because there is an example of a very sloppy form of animal rights deception within this article itself. If you scroll down to the bottom half of the article, you will see the picture below of three people wearing what appear to be some sort of biochemical protective suits.

The only problem is that this photo is completely fake. The dog has been inserted using Photoshop or some other image editing program. Whoever inserted the job did a very lousy job at it. Below is a blow-up of the right hand of the middle figure which overlaps with the dog’s head. Where we should be able to see a pixilated version of the man’s thumb and rest of his glove, instead we instead see an opaque series of white and light colored pixels that are an artifact of pasting the dog into the picture.

The pixilation around the right side of the dog’s jaw is also a giveaway that this picture has been modified. The odd pixel pattern results when mathematical algorithms are used to blend the colors between the original image and the image which is pasted into it.

Now tell me again who is trying to twist public perceptions by practicing deception?

Source:

Animal Experimentation Is Good!” How Industry Front Organizations Try to Twist Public Perceptions. VegSource.Com, June 4, 2001.

Japanese Textbooks and American Media Hypocrisy

I almost forgot about an event a few nights ago that infuriated me while watching the nightly news (I am one of those people with the extremely annoying habit of talking back to the TV which causes my wife to eject me from the living room on occasion).

I can’t remember which network I was watching, but they ran a short piece about a controversial Japanese history textbook. The textbook is controversial because it whitewashes Japanese war crimes during World War II. Because of the controversy, the publisher has decided to sell the textbook in general bookstores where, according to the BBC it has become a bestseller.

No, that’s not what infuriated me. In fact I’m not certain why this particular book is generating so much controversy since the sort of revisionism it embraces is pretty standard fare in Japanese accounts of World War II.

What infuriated me was the hypocrisy of the network I was watching. In the brief segment about the book, the reporter opens up talking about how many people in Asia believe the book distorts the truth. So what do our intrepid news producers do when they finally give us a full-screen shot of the book’s cover? They used a special lens filter on the camera to bathe the entire screen in red, which had the effect of making the book appear to be covered in blood.

You would think that a news story highlighting how easily truth and history can be distorted would be the last place a news show would want to use such cheap gimmicks, but apparently not. I used to think such predictions were way off the mark, but I have come to agree with people who speculate that we won’t have to be too long before news reports like this begin using music and other techniques to further dramatize (and, yes, inevitably further fictionalize) their stories.

People Living in Glass Houses…

An article on content management systems at Imagining Magazine includes this interesting paragraph,

Erik Josowitz, vice president of corporate strategy for Vignette (www.vignette.com), Austin, TX, grants that free or low-cost software might be fine for departmental use and simple sites. However, he warns, “they have no support model, no upgrade model and no long-term roadmap. When a CIO looks for a content management system, they look for long-term technical support and scalability across an enterprise.”

Of course not a few Vignette customers have had a habit of complaining that even after spending big bucks StoryServer had no support model as well (aside from throwing more money at Vignette).

Why I Didn’t Vote for Bush

A lot of libertarian and libertarian-minded people I know ended up voting for Republican George W. Bush last November on the theory that the Libertarian Party is going nowhere (true) and that their best hope for advancing their cause is therefore within the Republian Party (a dubious proposition at best). But the Bush administration’s actions this week illustrate the problems with that sort of strategy.

CNN reports that the Bush administration is about to do something that even the liberal Clinton administration wouldn’t — cave in to the steel industry’s protectionist demands. The bottom line is that foreign companies can often produce steel more cheaply than domestic firms, and over the last 30 years there have been a number of technological revolutions within the steel industry that have led to the emergence of very small but extremely efficient new firms that have wrecked the fortunes of the older, but often large and relatively inefficient steel firms.

The Bush administration is planning to proceed with an anti-dumping case against foreign steel manufacturers — essentially accusing them of selling steel too cheaply within the United States. National Public Radio also reported on June 6 that the Bush administration wants international negotiations aimed at lowering steel production worldwide, claiming that steel’s current low price is a result of world overproduction.

So when it comes to energy, people in California have to let market forces work and the United States needs to take measures to expand energy supply, but in order to gain a little political advantage with steel worker unions and companies, Bush is willing to offer large steel producers the entire slate of protectionist measures that he and Dick Cheney say won’t work to solve California’s energy crisis.

And yet conservatives will keep scratching their heads wondering why liberals and leftists think all their talk about free markets is simply special pleading for their own interests.

The Nation Helps Spread Lies on the Internet

Some areas of Afghanistan are currently on the verge of famine, and many refugees from that nation have flooded into camps in Pakistan. The Clinton administration last year sent tens of millions of dollars to the United Nations to help the World Food Program prevent starvation. This year, the Bush administration announced it would be sending $43 million to the United Nations to help relief efforts and encouraged other people to do so as well.

Which is where Robert Scheer steps in the picture. Scheer is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a former New Left 1960s radical. Scheer wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times that simply lied about the aid package. Scheer’s account contains two outright fabrications. Scheer claimed the money was going to help the Islamic extremist Taleban fight the drug war in that country, when in fact it is going to provide food (in fact, the largest single component of the aid package is surplus wheat). Second, Scheer claimed that the money was being given directly to the Taleban. In fact, the money is going to the United Nations which will disburse it to aid agencies.

The claim that the U.S. was giving money to the Taleban should have been a red flag to anyone familiar with the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan. Currently the U.S. a) has no formal diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, and b) the State Department lists Afghanistan as a sponsor of international terrorism. I’m not an expert on these sort of things, but even if I knew littl else about this story I’d wonder how the U.S. was going to give formally (as opposed to illicitly as in Iran-Contra) give a country that it has no diplomatic relations with and lists as a sponsor of terrorism $43 million directly.

When some yahoo posted Scheer’s version of this story on Plastic.Com, it took me ten minutes on the CNN site to turn up a story that showed Scheer was either a liar or beyond incompetent.

I thought the story would die there, but no. In an unbelievable move, the Leftist magazine The Nation decided to reprint Scheer’s story and now its starting to spread and be posted all over the net. In this case it is hard to blame the people spreading the story. I completely disagree with The Nation’s politics, but I generally expect the magazine upholds standard journalistic practices and would do at least a minimal amount of fact checking on such an obviously inflammatory story. Others apparently had similar expectations.

Apparently we’re just out of step with the editors there.

Hands Off Our Kids Act of 2001

Rep. Felix Grucci (R-New York) recently introduced the Hands Off Our Kids Act of 2001 which would require the U.S. Attorney General to “identify organizations that recruit juveniles to participate in violent and illegal activities related to the environment or to animal rights” as well as provide funding for state efforts to prevent juvenile participation in such activities.

The status of the bill can be tracked on the House of Representatives web site which has a page for the bill, also known as House Resolution 1847. Below is the full text of the bill:

Hands Off Our Kids Act of 2001 (Introduced in the House)

HR 1847 IH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1847
To require the Attorney General to identify organizations that recruit juveniles to participate in violent and illegal activities related to the environment or to animal rights; and to amend the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to provide assistance to States to carry out activities to prevent the participation of juveniles in such activities.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 15, 2001
Mr. GRUCCI introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

——————————————————————————–

A BILL
To require the Attorney General to identify organizations that recruit juveniles to participate in violent and illegal activities related to the environment or to animal rights; and to amend the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to provide assistance to States to carry out activities to prevent the participation of juveniles in such activities.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Hands Off Our Kids Act of 2001′.

SEC. 2. IDENTIFICATION OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT RECRUIT JUVENILES TO ENGAGE IN CERTAIN VIOLENT AND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

The Attorney General shall establish and implement a policy within the Department of Justice to identify organizations that recruit individuals in the United States who are less than 18 years of age to participate in violent and illegal activities related to the environment, to animal rights, or to any other matter the Attorney General considers to be appropriate.

SEC. 3. AMENDMENTS.

Section 223(a)(10) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5633(a)(10)) is amended–

(1) in subparagraph (N) by striking `and’ at the end,

(2) in subparagraph (O) by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and’, and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

`(P) programs to be carried out through local education agencies (as defined in section 14101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 8801) designed–

`(i) to educate juveniles about organizations that recruit juveniles to participate in violent and illegal activities to advance a particular cause; and

`(ii) to combat participation by juveniles in such activities.’.

SEC. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the 1st day of the 1st fiscal year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.