Georgia Farmer Calls Out Glenn Thrush, New York Times For Taking Advantage Of Their Plight To Push Agenda

The following was posted to Facebook by Renee Y Moss, a farmer from Southwest Georgia, and is reprinted with permission. The response from the New York Times is included as well.

I just sent this letter to the NYT. Please read; it will open your eyes to what media is doing in our country and how the public responds. We read about this happening to other people, but I remained an idealist. Until now.

Please question everything you read in the media.
Left. Right. Center.

Question all of it.

I have lost my faith.

I’ve endured the destruction of my friends’ and families’ homes, communities and livelihoods from the panhandle coasts inland to northern Florida and southwest Georgia farmlands—places I live, love and cherish.

In just a few short hours, our collective was devastated as a result of Hurricane Michael. We are, in many ways, broken. Reeling.

And now, my faith in the American media has been lost.

In the wake of the storm, we checked on loved ones. We wept for our communities. We helped with relief efforts. And we choked back our own fears, as we ventured out into the Wiregrass to assess the billions—yes, BILLIONS—of dollars crop destruction with which we are left.

We would need unprecedented relief for unprecedented damage substantial enough to break an underappreciated industry that supports the American people in far more ways than they recognize. We would need to speak up, ask for help and educate our public.

We looked to our elected officials—who invited the media—for help. They answered the call. It is the American way.

We were hopeful.

We gathered together bright, pioneering minds and dedicated our invaluable time to enlightening a writer from The New York Times. We bared our souls, finances and generational struggles for the cause in hopes of giving our brothers and sisters in agriculture a voice. What we really needed to be doing was locating generators and mending our fences. With power still out in much of our communities, tractors broken and pivots upturned, we needed to be in the fields. But the reporter promised hope. And so we trusted him. We were young, educated Farmers, and we hoped our America would hear us. It was all we had.

We very clearly explained our objectives. There were brilliant concepts shared by multiple fascinating and dynamic individuals. The writer nodded and promised to help, but in retrospect we see that his objectives were to write an article about climate change.

Was it a bold-faced lie or a lie of omission? Does it even matter now? A lie is a lie, and that is what we teach our youth, isn’t it?

The topic of our interview wasn’t climate change. The topic of very lengthy discussion was farming challenges, economics, and the support that Ag needs from the federal government, about the need to completely revamp the insurance system, about backing needed from the American public. There was no political angle or agenda to our conversation. There was only an honest, heart-felt plea for help.

Glenn Thrush should be ashamed of his article “$2.5 Billion in Storm Losses, but Don’t Ask Georgia Farmers About Climate Change”

Thrush perpetuated false stereotypes about agriculture and its people. He twisted responses and warped the entire content of that interview to suit his own secret motives, with complete disregard for the good, hard-working people he betrayed—people who are quite frankly, slammed trying to salvage livelihoods that feed and clothe a nation and sustain our local economies.

The writer misrepresented that interview, those people and an entire industry. What’s worse, he turned victims into villains. Added insult to injury. But alas, that appears to be the new American way.

We hoped and prayed that his skewed piece would at least generate helpful discussion and enlightenment, but it has not. It has prompted irrationality, ignorance, intolerance and an unending stream of personal insults from thousands of misguided commenters whose replies serve only to indicate their dearth of knowledge about where their food and fiber comes from.

They make ridiculous suggestions such as (1) we should have planted our cotton another time, (2) we should have moved our thousands of acres of crops indoors, (3) we should just move to another state and stop farming, (4) we should not reproduce.

What kind of ignorant monsters are we, as a nation, becoming? Where is the compassion?

And all the while, Mr. Thrush stands by, watching the insults fly, and he does nothing to dissuade his commenters from their spiral of hate. After all, he instigated it, with intent.

Glenn Thrush should be ashamed of this work. He has refused to redact or correct anything he produced. Mark Landler should be ashamed for blindly retweeting Thrush’s atrocity of so-called journalism.

And both Mr. Thrush and the New York Times should be ashamed of doing nothing of value in response to the grossly misguided outcry caused.

I once studied journalism, but ultimately changed my major to Advertising. And that’s a choice I continue to feel good about. At least in Advertising, you know you’re being sold.

I expect every photograph taken of my family to be destroyed. You do not have my permission to publish them in this way.

After three days, the New York Times gave the following response:
From NYT:

Dear Ms. Moss,

Thank you for writing to The Times. We take your concerns very seriously, which Julie McPeake also passed along to us.

Based on the feedback from you and others, we published the following piece to hear directly from Georgia farmers on the issues most important to them: https://www.nytimes.com/…/reader-center/farmers-georgia.html.

Please feel free to share it with other farmers in Georgia.

Thank you again for getting in touch.

All the best,

Lara Takenaga

Reader Center
The New York Times

9
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
5 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
BenevolusdownthemiddlerickdayDave BearseIndypendant Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
chamblee54
chamblee54

It will be interesting to see if NYT follows through on this.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/reader-center/farmers-georgia.html

CalmlyBallistic
CalmlyBallistic
Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Thanks for the link. It provides a much more complete understanding than that presented in the letter to the NYT and the NYT’s response. . Ms. Moss was deceived about the purposes of a column by a reporter, and feels the reporter misrepresented her. I’d certainly be upset if that happened to me. Deception was used because nearly all people interviewed refused to speak of global warming as indicated in the column. . What facts in the article are questionable? . Wack comments on the column aren’t the NYT’s responsibility, just as wack comments here aren’t the responsibility of GeorgiaPol.… Read more »

Indypendant
Indypendant

Georgia Farmers should wake up and smell the climate change.

Or they can continue to stick their heads in the sand and elect politicians who will do nothing.

I’m guessing they stick their heads back in the sand.

downthemiddle
downthemiddle

So electing liberal politicians will save us from climate change right? The US has reduced its carbon footprint more than any country in that Paris Accord. How did we do it? Capitalism. Its cheaper to use natural gas than coal. What party was against that?

Can we elect liberals in China and India which are the leading carbon producers?

Why don’t we plant more trees? That actually looks like the best solution. That and new technologies.

rickday
rickday

One long Appeal to Emotion, from a person who feels better about selling people lies, than telling people Truths. And white southern self victimization keeps marching on…

Fact is, her rant is moot; even if there were no mention of climate in the article, and all focus was on her and her fam’s plights, her situation would not change one single bit. Not one.

But the underlying points Charlie makes stands. Always question, and fact check what you read, even here and always question authority who wants to use you for something.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Everything but the first sentence n italics are the words of Ms. Moss. Welcome back.

downthemiddle
downthemiddle

Agree totally Rick. The last 9000 years have been a time with the most docile climate patterns in the history of the world. We have been blessed or we would not have 7.5 billion on the planet doing their thing. The natural cycles will lead to another ice age soon enough and that is the biggest problem. It aint global warming. You can feed the planet with warm temps. And occasional hurricanes… Not gonna be able to do it under ice. The hand wringing is not helpful. No politicians will solve it. Certainly not socialists. Economic and technological advances will… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

Well, it is unfortunate that she felt mislead. Clearly she wanted and expected a certain kind of story to be written and that didn’t happen. Hopefully another reporter has written the kind of story she wanted.

I would guess that Thrush thinks the story he wrote is just as important (but in a different way) than the story of the immediate crisis. In a way I suppose he might have been soliciting her support as much as she was soliciting his. Didn’t really work either way.

Hey Jessica Szilagyi, you may be the perfect candidate to get this story told.