Unfortunately, every day after work I arrive at the gym just in time for the Dr. Oz show. Why do I say unfortunately? Because I’m not a fan of Dr. Oz. His show is pure sensationalism. He overhypes pretty much every topic he addresses on the show and uses fear mongering simply to increase his TV ratings.
This is exactly what he did in one of his shows earlier this week. It was an episode called “What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pesticides.” According to the episode’s description, “Dr. Oz is blowing the whistle on toxic chemicals in your food that can harm your family’s health! (Note the exclamation mark) Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy reports on the rise of pesticides on your plate.”
“Blowing the whistle” – really? If that isn’t overhyped wording I don’t know what is. He goes on to call pesticides the “single greatest threat to the food you eat… and even more troubling, the food your children eat.” When in doubt, bring children into the picture because that resonates with moms.
I usually have no choice but to watch his sensationalism while at the gym because it’s on the TV directly in front of my preferred cardio equipment. Unfortunately, I look around and I’m surrounded by women who are all watching the same show and taking it all in, believing it wholeheartedly, because, after all, it’s coming from a “doctor.” And as I’m bootin’ it on the treadclimber, I often just want to scream out in frustration. But that would probably get me booted out of the gym!
A fellow blogger – Confessions of a Farm Wife – wrote a great blog post about this Dr. Oz episode. I encourage you to check it out. I shared the blog post on my social media accounts and received some comments. One friend shared the message she got from the show. She says, “Farmers need to speak up more to the right audience. We need to stop preaching to the choir and talk to the urban consumer.” I absolutely agree with her.
We in the agriculture industry are good at sitting back and letting people like Dr. Oz step in and tell their version of the modern agriculture story to urban consumers. The problem with that is it’s often a skewed story. A story filled with misconceptions. A story that paints modern agriculture practices in a negative light. We need to share our positive agriculture stories with the urban consumer – the right audience for our message.
How can we do this? Social media is one way. Social media has made it easier for rural and urban to connect. If you’re involved in the agriculture industry I encourage you to connect with non-ag folks on social media and share your story. And if you’re an urban consumer, please take the time to connect with folks who live and breathe agriculture. Ask questions. Think critically. Don’t just believe everything people like Dr. Oz tell you.
The real takeaway from this Dr. Oz episode is not that pesticides can harm your family’s health but rather that we in the agriculture industry need to connect with the urban consumer and that urban consumers need to think critically and ask questions.
And of course, I welcome your questions and comments on this blog. I’m certainly not an expert but I can connect you with the people who are.
Thanks for reading.