NPR's race-obsessed and taxpayer-subsidized show "Code Switch" recently peddled the notion that it is conspiratorial thinking to take proponents of the bug-food movement at their word.
What's more, host Gene Demby's guest on the July 19 episode, entitled " This right wing conspiracy theory about eating bugs is about as racist as you think ," has intimated that criticism both of bug food and of those technocrats who seek to alter consumer behavior may be racist.
NPR has since been met with ridicule by those aware that the desire to supplement or replace normal food with bugs is not a conspiracy theory but rather a real initiative with substantial momentum, which has been long detailed and defended in academic journals , trusted publications, and even on NPR.
'An emerging, but still marginal, idea'
NPR reporter Huo Jingnan joined "Code Switch" host Gene Demby on last week's episode to regurgitate talking points from his April NPR article , wherein he simultaneously held that the claim that "elites want people to eat bugs" was a right-wing conspiracy theory while also acknowledging the inclusion of bugs in human food was "an emerging, but still marginal, idea among climate scientists and food security experts."
"For those who espouse the theory, eating bugs isn't just a matter of disgust, or questioning the impacts of climate change," wrote Jingnan, an admitted fan of eating silkworms. "It's framed as a matter of individual freedom and government control."
Jingnan hinted both in his article and on Demby's show there must also be a racial component to the growing concerns about the bug-food movement and the motivations driving it.
After tying bug-food aversion to right-wing resistance to the Great Reset, the NPR reporter suggested that possible "anti-Semitic tropes" might be at play. Allowing himself "a little bit of a stretch," he argued by way of broken syllogism that bug-food critics might also share something in common with identitarian exponents of the Great Replacement theory.
In case those smears might not stick, Jingnan indicated that an aversion to bugs might also be demonstrative of a through-line between conservatives and "colonizers" who allegedly took pause at tribal people's consumption of creepy crawlers.
The NPR reporter further claimed that Tucker Carlson, the Daily Wire's Michael Knowles, Alex Jones, and others have been trafficking in such "dog whistle[s]" when discussing their opposition to the prospect of eating bugs and that those with whom this so-called conspiracy theory resonates are likely "unvaccinated, male, conservative, Trump-voting, Republican and also not college-educated."
NPR's marginal idea on repeat
While Demby appeared keen to write off the bug-food movement as "not that big a deal," and Jingnan intimated that it might just the MAGA crowd who are paying attention, critics have pointed that NPR's publication history suggests otherwise.
Here are the titles of just a few NPR features in recent months and years:
- "These Pictures Might Tempt You To Eat Bugs" — July 18, 2013 ;
- "Making Food From Flies (It's Not That Icky)" — Sept. 19, 2013 ;
- "Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs" — March 23, 2015 ;
- "Street Food No More: Bug Snacks Move To Store Shelves In Thailand" — April 15, 2015 ;
- "Are Insects The Future Of Food?" — Nov. 17, 2016 ;
- "At Bug-Eating Festival, Kids Crunch Down On The Food Of The Future" — Sept. 14, 2017 ;
- "Your Ancestors Probably Ate Insects. So What's Bugging You?" — July 16, 2018 ;
- "VIDEO: 4 Ways That Wild Edibles, Including Insects, Will Wow You" — Dec. 20, 2018 ; and
- "Should Hyping Edible Bugs Focus On The Experience Instead Of The Environment?" — Jan. 10, 2019 .
Stephen Miller, contributing editor at the Spectator, asked, "Does anyone at NPR read or listen to NPR?"
American author Michael Shellenberger said of Jingnan's April article, "These articles all begin with smearing people who are upset about something (e.g. bug-eating, puberty blockers for autistic kids, gas stove bans, etc) as conspiracy theorists, and end with the promotion of the thing people are upset about. The gaslighting is breathtaking."
Shellenberger added, "We must understand that media elites are using the words 'conspiracy theory,' 'disinformation,' and 'misinformation' as ways to control thought and demonize and censor people raising legitimate concerns about the crap policies and programs they want to impose on us."
Twitter user End Wokeness wrote , "The propaganda is getting lazy."
Reality versus NPR
Whereas the NPR duo suggested there is not a campaign by elites to supplement or replace Western diets with insects and insect byproducts:
- A 2017 review published in the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development suggested that rather than meat, humans could instead try eating weeds, micro-algae, and bugs.
- A 2018 research article in Frontiers in Nutrition discussing how best to foist insects on human beings suggested that Westerners averse to eating lizard food "have a stereotyped knowledge of insects and other species, and the association of some of those animals with decaying matter and feces could have led to psychological contamination of the entire category." The article further intimated that social engineering may be necessary to bring about a "large-scale behavioral change in favor of insect-based diets."
- In late 2021, the European Union ruled that bugs are fit for human consumption and may be sold in frozen, dried, and powdered forms.
- In January, the EU approved cricket powder as a novel food that could be added to bread, pasta, and various other foods.
- The EU has stated, "The environmental benefits of rearing insects for food are founded on the high feed conversion efficiency of insects, less greenhouse gas emissions, less use of water and arable lands ... and the use of insect-based bioconversion as a marketable solution for reducing food waste."
- The World Economic Forum ran an article in February 2022 touting bugs as "an excellent alternative source of protein" and a way to "significantly reduce our carbon footprint." The WEF author went so far as to suggest that insects are "part of a virtuous eco-cycle."
- MoneyWise reported earlier this year that North American companies and consumers are expected to play a big part in the growth of a global edible insects market that is estimated to be worth north of $9 billion by 2030.
- TheBlaze detailed in March an initiative in one Utah school district to send students home with bugs to eat as part of an English assignment.
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