Accuracy in Media

Ann McElhinney was not always a conservative; in fact, she was once quite liberal. She told the story of her conversion at Accuracy in Media’s 40th Anniversary Conference on October 23, 2009.

McElhinney was a journalist called to cover a story about a Canadian mining company in Romania. “What was really bizarre about this,” McElhinney said, “was that the BBC, CNN, the New York Times covered this story of this evil mining company; evil Canadians were going to destroy Transylvania and bring nothing but bad things, and two heroic, wonderful women-two environmentalists…were single-handedly defending the rights of the natives who were unable to speak for themselves…who were basically too stupid to understand this awful thing that was going to happen to them.” McElhinney described her feelings upon finding out that the Canadian mining company had saved the Transylvanians working for it. That experience, she said, changed her life. She used to think that environmentalism was cute, but it “ain’t so cute anymore,” she said. “Big environment is getting away with murder.”

The murder McElhinney referred to was that of the hundreds of Africans that die every day as a result of America’s ban on DDT. Rachel Carson, the original environmentalist, made her mark on the world by getting the substance banned; DDT is the single most effective pesticide for Anopheles mosquitos, the main carriers of malaria in Africa, and it has no side effects whatsoever for humans or other mammals. The effects of DDT on birds have been greatly exaggerated as well, as McElhinney noted.

Because DDT was banned, today over 370 children die daily of malaria in Uganda alone. “This is one hundred percent unnecessary death,” McElhinney argued. She wondered what would happen if 370 American children die from malaria in Virginia every day. “I think we’d all be going around and all our clothes would be covered in dust, they would be air-bombing us in DDT. We’d work out the problems later because we wouldn’t allow our children to die. But obviously it doesn’t work like that for black children,” McElhinney said. “We’ve got to save the children first,” she argued, stating that even if DDT was harmful to birds, it would be worth it to use to save our children.

“The new Rachel Carson is Al Gore,” McElhinney argued. Indeed, Gore’s attempts to destroy modern energy production literally results in the deaths of jobs and people, as factories close and jobs are destroyed over carbon emissions, and as food that would go to the starving in America and elsewhere goes to biofuel production instead. This is the problem McElhinney is fighting: the attitude that puts the environment above human life and human livelihood.

“To be here at Accuracy in Media’s fortieth birthday…it’s wonderful,” McElhinney said. “We need you so badly.” McElhinney argued that Accuracy in Media is needed to combat the forces of Big Environment, to ask the hard questions no other journalists are asking. “There are journalists who don’t believe in journalism anymore,” she said. “They aren’t telling the truth.”

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