The fake news industry kicked off the new year in style. A flurry of misinformation from US Sugar’s Judy Sanchez, Janet Taylor’s “Glades Lives Matter,” the Sunshine State News, the Okeechobee News and others introduced the following stories (in no particular order):
- Scientists are planning to flood Belle Glade and Clewiston
- Everglades restoration is a front to eradicate farming
- Toxic algae blooms don’t come from Lake Okeechobee
- Federal agencies are killing off endangered species
- Water can’t flow south into the Everglades in wet years
- Florida Bay doesn’t need any more freshwater than it gets now
- Lake Okeechobee would be clean without pollution from the north
Some of these would be funny if they weren’t part of a deliberate, well-funded campaign to clutter the news with distracting, contradictory noise that muddles messages about Everglades restoration, and especially Joe Negron’s plan to buy land in the EAA. They don’t need to fool anyone – just create enough irritating static to make people tune out.
US Sugar singled out today’s Everglades Coalition Annual Conference, too, deriding the idea that one solution can help fix three estuaries. This isn’t just cheap criticism – the plan to fix Florida’s broken plumbing has a far better chance to succeed if it unites people and conservation groups from around the state. Opposing it by sowing distrust among stakeholders is a predictable reaction by sugar industry representatives.