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Dow Chemical Reaps Rewards by Funding PBS' 'America Revealed'

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Genetic Engineering page.

NEW YORK - The four-part series America Revealed, airing on PBS stations this month, looks at big-picture economic issues, from agriculture to transportation to manufacturing. The series underwriter? The Dow Chemical Company, whose commercial interests closely track the subjects covered in the PBS series.

The first episode, entitled Food Machine (4/11/12), focused on large-scale agriculture, which is one of the industries in which Dow is a major player. The program featured an extended look at the corn industry, including efforts to control pests. As the program explained, the food industry "needed a game changer" in that fight. And it got one: The "genetically modified organism, better known as a GMO."

This positively portrayed "game changer" just happens to be the very type of product Dow sells. Indeed, Dow is among a handful of companies that dominate the genetic seed market (Pesticide Action Network, 8/10). The company has recently been trying to win approval for a new genetically modified corn that has been nicknamed "Agent Orange" for its resistance to a highly toxic herbicide. Dow's application is opposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Food Safety because of its toxicity, and the likelihood that it will simply create even more resistant weeds (EcoWatch, 4/10/12).

The problem with the Dow series is broader. On the company's website, Dow breaks down its interests into four categories: Agricultural, Infrastructure/Transportation, Energy and Consumer/Lifestyle.