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No Spray News

James Irwin
PO Box 6393
Columbia, SC  29260


April 15, 2002      Page 7

The Media Conundrum

   Crucial to getting mosquito spraying ended will be coverage in the media. This is the only way to break the circular logic whereby the public believes that mosquito spraying must work, or else it wouldn't be done, and our public officials continue to fund it, regardless of whether it works, because the public demands it.

   My recent efforts to get coverage in the State have been disappointing so far. After receiving a copy of No Spray News, environmental reporter Sammy Fretwell expressed interest in doing a story on mosquito spraying, and requested more information. In response, I provided him with a 60 page press packet of source documents, contacts, etc..When I called Mr. Fretwell 2 days ago, he told me that, although he believes this issue deserves coverage, he doesn't have time to work on it. He said that The State may still cover the mosquito spraying issue using a local reporter.

   This is just the latest chapter in a long history. I submitted op-eds to The State in 1997 and 2001, both of which were rejected. (The State did print my letter-to-the-editor earlier this year on spraying and bioterrorism, but they took out the part questioning mosquito spraying's efficacy and health effects.) The so-called alternative media has been similarly unreceptive. Last year, the Free Times turned down three different articles on this issue written by either myself or Michael Berg. I decided to start No Spray News as a way to get mosquito spraying issues before at least a relatively interested subset of the public.

   Ironically, my 1987 telephone survey of 158 Richland County residents revealed a high level of interest in mosquito control. Will that eventually translate into media coverage?

James Irwin
April 15, 2002

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