Earlier this year, the activist organization US Right to Know (USRTK), bankrolled largely by a $47,500 donation from the Organic Consumers Association, submitted Freedom of Information requests asking certain US academics for e-mails dating back to 2012. This was to ascertain whether their 'messaging' was being coordinating with 14 companies, including Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow and other biotechs, food industry trade groups and their communication firms. The academics had all contributed to an industry-backed website called GMOanswers.com and/or had spoken out against California's GM food labeling proposition. Over the summer, the activists broke their 'news'.
These headlines focused on Kevin Folta, a University of Florida researcher, because USRTK leaked his e-mails to three journalists. Two of them co-posted a PLOS blog (now removed), while the third wrote a front-page New York Times news story highlighting a $25,000 donation from Monsanto to Folta's institution. In both cases, the reporters cherry-picked sentences from several thousand e-mails, highlighting Folta's communications with Monsanto, often out of context, to insinuate that he is an industry shill--and thus presumably unfit to talk to the public.
Labels: biased reporting, harrassment, organic, Science, TimesLies