VoiceofSanDiego.org has published a softball Q&A with Art Cooley, who helped found the Environmental Defense Fund, entitled "The Guy Who Defeated DDT." Of course, the outright ban on DDT which Cooley and his friends succeeded with decades ago also resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of Africans from malaria.
I especially loved this question:
I watched a video you gave when the bald eagle (whose population had been decimated by DDT) came off the endangered species list. It seems easy to measure the success of the Endangered Species Act by the de-listing of those charismatic megafauna -- the bald eagles, the peregrine falcons of the world. But does it work? Does it work for the fairy shrimp and milkweed of the world?
The reporter watched a video, but couldn't be bothered to do research that might have balanced out his interview with facts such as:
Bald eagles were reportedly threatened with extinction in 1921 -- 25 years before widespread use of DDT.
[Van Name, WG. 1921. Ecology 2:76]
Alaska paid over $100,000 in bounties for 115,000 bald eagles between 1917 and 1942.
[Anon. Science News Letter, July 3, 1943]
The bald eagle had vanished from New England by 1937.
[Bent, AC. 1937. Raptorial Birds of America. US National Museum Bull 167:321-349]
After 15 years of heavy and widespread usage of DDT, Audubon Society ornithologists counted 25 percent more eagles per observer in 1960 than during the pre-DDT 1941 bird census.
[Marvin, PH. 1964 Birds on the rise. Bull Entomol Soc Amer 10(3):184-186; Wurster, CF. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969; Anon. 1942. The 42nd Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Magazine 44:1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942; Cruickshank, AD (Editor). 1961. The 61st Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2):84-300; White-Stevens, R.. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas Bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]
Talk about inconvenient facts. But, much like the global warming scare, the narrative has been set and the media -- even the so-called "new" media, when populated by the same folks as the "old" media -- is quick to get in line.