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Come Saturday Morning: Right-Wing Corporate Lies about Water

While perusing websites having to do with agriculture and the environment, I’ve been running across lots of obviously-spammed comments bashing Obama for cutting off water to California farmers.  Here’s a typical one:

I see that you have a piece on know your farmer and know your food. What do you know about the plight of farmers and workers in Californias central valley? What are you doing to provide water so they can grow crops again? Is a 2" minnow more important than the food that can be provided by this area for the American people? Why are we importing more vegetables from Mexico and Chile when we can grow our own and provide jobs for the people of the Central Valley.

Posted by Alfredo Gonzales on September 18, 2009 at 01:30 PM CDT #

First of all, if "Alfredo Gonzales" really is the name on this moke’s birth certificate, I will buy a cheap hat just so I can eat it. 

Second of all, guess where "Alfredo Gonzales" and his fellow spammers are getting their misinformation?  From FOX News’ Sean Hannity, of course:

Let me set the stage because the Hannity Show was a production carefully orchestrated.  The Astroturf rally was hosted by Burson-Marsteller and funded by corporate agribusiness.

Governments and corporations accused or allegedly connected to heinous human rights or environmental crimes and evildoings hire Burson-Marsteller to fix public relation disasters.  B-M was hired by governments to discredit reports of genocide, disappearance of thousands of civilians, and massacres and reports of corporations linked to nuclear plant meltdowns or fatal gas leaks.  

As Rachel Maddow said: "When evil needs public relations, evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed-dial."

Third of all, guess where Hannity and his buddies are getting their astroturf?   That’s right, from front groups for the corporate agriculture industry

His guests included comedian Paul Rodriguez, chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition, an agribusiness front organization; former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry and Representatives George Radanovich (R-Mariposa), Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), and Jim Costa (D-Fresno). While the crowd roundly applauded Nunes, many booed Costa when he spoke.


In the broadcast, hundreds of farmworkers appeared in the background, backed up for miles, holding signs and screaming chants in support of Hannity. However, these are the same workers with the same signs that Valley labor contractors and corporate agribusiness have hired for a series of astroturfing rallies throughout the state over the past several month.

In April, the same organization sponsoring Hannity’s visit held a "March for Water" that Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers Union founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, denounced for not representing the interests of farmworkers, but only the growers. The New York Times on April 17 reported that "many of the protesters were paid by their employers to march in lieu of harvesting crops.”

"In reality, this is not a farm worker march,” Rodriguez told the Times. ”This is a farmer march orchestrated and financed by growers.”

No farmworker or environmental justice organizations supported the "march" – or the rally that Hannity broadcast from Thursday.

Fishermen, conservationists and environmental justice advocates were outraged by Hannity’s cynical use of farmworkers to put a "human face" on the corporate agribusiness interests that are making hundreds of millions of dollars off rampant water speculation.

Among the many howlers Hannity hurled was a prediction that that the price of processed tomato goods and almonds is going to skyrocket across the nation because of the "water crisis."   But this year is actually set to be a banner year for both:

However, salmon advocates noted that this year is predicted to be a record-breaking harvest of processing tomatoes due to ideal weather conditions. Tomato production is up 15% from last year, with 11% more acres planted. Mike Montna, president and CEO of the California Tomato Growers Association, said this year’s processing-tomato harvest — now at the halfway point — is heading toward a record for the state. Almonds are in record-shattering surpluses as well, and a decrease in production would actually save the industry.

"Besides the drought and water restrictions, Valley farms are full of bumper crops this year," said Hudson. " Agricultural surpluses of water-intensive crops such as almonds, tomatoes, walnuts, and pecans are expected."

Of course, Hannity isn’t the only prominent Republican the corporate water hogs have working for them.  Their pet governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a featured speaker at the Hannity-Burson-Marsteller event and is happily reciting their talking points.  Plus, they’re so intent on keeping all the state’s aqua to themselves that they’ve actually parachuted in the infamous trogdolyte Jim DeMint  to be their pet Senator.

Oh, well.  That a FOX "News" personality should be involved in pushing mendacious astroturf shouldn’t be surprising, considering FOX’s prominent role in promoting the anti-ACORN smears and the teabagger rallies.   Just another day in the GOP/Media Complex.

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