Genetic engineering defender lacked credibility

As I continue to enjoy my subscription to your paper, I am especially delighted by the breadth of interests you cover. Particularly, I’ve learned a lot from you Sustainable Life section. It is good that you give different individuals the opportunity to express their opinions, and the reasons for them (as in the article “Eco Thoughts” in the most recent edition).

One thing that I am writing to you now to suggest is that you might be very careful to publish all opinionated pieces as such. Specifically, the article in the same edition, “Promise, perils, of genetically modified trees,” offers a great deal of sarcasm towards many of the individuals and groups who oppose genetic modification (genetic engineering), from someone who makes part of his living doing it — but absolutely no clear explanation of what those serious perils are.

The one individual extensively quoted in this article, Steven Strauss, does briefly allude to one of our major concerns with the scary new “science” of genetic engineering, when he insists that “they are unlikely to ‘escape’ their plantation and thrive in the wild.” Other than that, his comments about anyone who dares to question his desire to perform such experiments sound, to me, like the rantings of a resentful middle-schooler.

It appears that Strauss did a great sales job on your reporter, who then chose to offer the gentleman’s rants and rationalizations as if they constituted a news article. This is unfortunate. To me it undercuts the otherwise high journalism standards of your paper.

In a nutshell, I think that if an article states, in the headline, that it will being us information about both the “promise” and the “perils” of something, it should offer a courteous, balanced discussion of both, from informed sources, armed with facts.

I hope you will be a little more careful in the future.

Chris Spalding

Forest Grove

Contract Publishing

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