Monsanto, the megalithic corporation responsible for Agent Orange and for inundating the planet with noxious PCBs for years with full knowledge the horrific damage the substances cause to the planet and its inhabitants, finds itself in hot water, again, thanks to a poorly-delivered smear campaign against organic, healthy food — that is, food growing from the ground unassisted by its chemical pesticides and herbicides.
Just as many advocates of untreated food have suspected, Monsanto was caught red-handed disguising its own anti-organic propaganda — dangerously misleading and false information warning of supposed damage wrought to the environment through non-chemical growing methods — as valid scientific opinion pieces in major news outlets whose audience reach comprises millions of readers.
He further contended organic agriculture is “actually more harmful to the environment” than conventional, mass agriculture — and that proponents of organic food were somehow amassing and doling out around $2.5 billion annually to smear the latter.
To be certain, all three claims are false.
However, as inflammatory statements are wont, Miller’s lambastings of, in essence, the choice of the public to purchase foods grown without chemically-laden pesticides and herbicides quickly sped around the internet, parroted without question as if the information contained were indeed reliable and independent.
Additional mass media outlets readily published and republished Miller’s Monsanto propaganda — even as his scandalously direct link to the agrichemical behemoth dotted the headlines of competing outlets — including the Wall Street Journal.
But his information wasn’t reliable or accurate or factual — something Miller should have been wiser than to attempt in such a prominent manner — because it isn’t the first time even in recent days the author became the story for acting as a credentialed, de facto advertisement for Monsanto.
EcoWatch notes the name Dr. Henry I. Miller might ring a bell with readers, as “the New York Times recently revealed a scandal involving Miller: that he had been caught publishing an article ghostwritten by Monsanto under his own name in Forbes. The article, which largely mirrored a draft provided to him by Monsanto, attacked the scientists of the World Health Organization’s cancer panel (International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC]) for their decision to list Monsanto’s top-selling chemical, glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen.”
According to the New York Times, litigation with Monsanto divulged Miller agreeing to dispute a growing and vocal backlash over cancer concerns in print — rather, he clarified, “I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.”
Thus, the article proceeded to publishing in a section of Forbes whose parameters clearly state, “opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own” — but without the altogether imperative caveat disclosing Monsanto’s significant role in its creation.
Forbes since removed the piece and ceased its relationship with Miller, reports the Times, and was followed shortly by Project Syndicate, which added it would never have allowed publication of his work had his relationship with Monsanto been clear, according to EcoWatch.
It should be noted as well, the aforementioned Newsweek piece included a swipe at the New York Times’ Danny Hakim, whose original reporting exposed Miller’s Monsanto ghostwriting efforts — though Newsweek failed in transparency to reveal that information in a disclaimer.
That hardly seems surprising, given Miller’s long-established role as a contributor to mainstream outlets — whether or not his corporate ties were made apparent as he did.
Monsanto had, in effect, weaponized Miller for the express purpose of ‘protecting the reputation’ of its flagship chemical, RoundUp — in particular, against an onslaught of negative press resulting from WHO’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” — publishing the contentious Forbes piece as revealed in testimony.
Newsweek refused to act as arbiter between U.S. Right to Know — which obtained documents indicating his corporate entanglement — and Miller, whom it claims categorically denies said claims.
“I understand that you and Miller have a long history of dispute on this topic,” Newsweek opinion editor Nicholas Wapshott wrote in an email to U.S. Right to Know’s Stacy Malkan. “He flatly denies your assertions.”
As the information battle over organic food versus conventional plays out — particularly as the public is relentlessly bombarded with contradictory and confusing information — seeking accurate data, verifying or double-checking sources, and understanding information presented as fact in reputable outlets may actually be so much tripe are all ineluctable tools of discernment still available with the click of a button.
However unfortunate a commentary at this late date, relying on a single source for accurate information can lead you far away from the truth.