Buckraking on the Food Beat: When Is It a Conflict of Interest?
By Stacy Malkan
Lipton’s story described how Monsanto, under fire from critics of GMO foods, “retooled their lobbying and public relations strategy to spotlight a rarefied group of advocates: academics, brought in for the gloss of impartiality and weight of authority that come with a professor’s pedigree.”
As one PR professional explained in an email, “Professors/researchers/scientists have a big white hat in this debate and support in their states, from politicians to producers.”
The story revealed an undisclosed grant from Monsanto to University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta, who promised the company “a solid return on the investment,” while repeatedly claiming he had no association with Monsanto. In addition, the public relations firm Ketchum organized lobby and media tours for Folta, even ghostwriting text for him that he used nearly verbatim–all while presenting Folta as an independent expert.
Our federal regulatory agencies are allowing market-cornering mega-merger after mega-merger, and the snowball affect – unchecked by the mendacious mainstream media – is quite apparent in this article. Please take the time to at least skim the article, especially if you’re a Floridian.