(Feb. 16, 2018) Monsanto used the news agency Reuters to fake news in 2017. The chemical giant (bought last year by Bayer for some $62.5 Billion) used a Reuters reporter to create a demonstrably false news story that attacked a scientist and an organization that found Monsanto’s Roundup was probably carcinogenic. Lawyers suing Monsanto for a man who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma brought the evidence to the attention of the presiding judge last month in an attempt to get it entered into evidence for the jury to see.
Monsanto objects to Evidence
Monsanto, meanwhile, has objected to the jury’s hearing any mention of show Monsanto fed fake news to a Reuters reporter. Judge Vincent Chaabria is still deciding how much, if any, of this new evidence the jury will hear in the second Roundup cancer trial scheduled to start this month.
The judge has apparently agreed, for the most part, to Monsanto’s demands to “bifurcate” the trial into two parts, a move which undoubtedly serves Monsanto’s interests to the detriment of the plaintiff. The new arrangement will keep jurors from hearing any evidence of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes machinations to protect its poison products from the hard glare of independent studies and public scrutiny.
This second trial over a Roundup cancer link – and the first in a federal court – is set to be heard very differently than the first, which last summer found that Monsanto had failed to warn a California groundskeeper of a Roundup-cancer link. The jury in that trial decided unanimously that Monsanto was guilty of offenses that resulted in punitive damages. In this second trial, the jury will first hear only scientific and legal arguments concerning direct causation. Then, if and only if the jury determines that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will they then be allowed to hear how Monsanto worked (and works) behind the scenes to propagandize public perception and manipulate scientific opinion.
Monsanto Propaganda Poisons Discourse
It is well known now that Monsanto pays for its own vested interest studies (none of which has ever gone more than 12 months) which are then used to “convince” friendly regulators like the U.S. EPA that Monsanto products are safe. Many Monsanto employees, like Michael Taylor, move from the Monsanto payroll into US government regulation jobs with FDA or EPA, and then back to Monsanto’s payroll. It is now also well known how Monsanto works to manipulate and control public perception by ghost writing articles like those signed by the disgraced Stanford academic Henry Miller. Mr. Miller, for one, published his pro-GMO Monsanto propaganda in Forbes magazine before Forbes’ editors realized that, like Reuters last month, they, too, had been used by Monsanto to mislead the public.
Monsanto, Reuters Team for Fake News
In the latest bombshell, a Reuters reporter named Kate Kelland was used as a willing dupe by Monsanto to publish propaganda attacking the credibility of the International Agency for Cancer Research, whose 2015 proclamation that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic did as much as anything to unleash what now amounts to nearly 10,000 lawsuits by people who say their lymphoma was caused by their exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate.
The clear motive of the fake news effort was to defend Monsanto against the very serious allegation that Roundup “herbicide” probably causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For anyone paying attention, the result should be a fatal blow to the credibility of not only Monsanto and Reuters (when one sees below how easily the “news’ agency allowed itself to be used for a nefarious purpose), but also to what all of us have been taught we should swallow daily as “The News.”
A History of Attacking Critics
Monsanto has taken several lines of attack against any person or organization which has found credible evidence that Roundup causes cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Whenever Monsanto has perceived a threat to its business model – based on poison chemical farming and genetically modified organisms – it has moved quickly, and viciously, to neutralize or attack that threat.
Monsanto has moved quickly to neutralize or discredit scientists (like Giles Seralini and others) or regulatory bodies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) whenever those scientists or regulators have found evidence of carcinogenicity in Monsanto’s poison products like Roundup.
Even before the IARC declared Monsanto’s glyphosate a probable carcinogen in 2015, the chemical giant was already maneuvering to unleash attacks on the agency.
Monsanto’s Latest Puppet Journalist
New documents filed in federal court last month threaten to expose Reuters news reporter Kate Kelland for acting as Monsanto’s latest puppet. She signed her name to a completely false narrative about cancer scientist Aaron Blair and the IARC that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
Court Documents? What Court Documents?
In 2017, Reuters put Ms. Kelland’s by-line on a controversial story that she attributed to “court documents.” But those so-called “documents” now appear to have been given her by a Monsanto executive. That person fed Ms. Kelland several key points Monsanto wanted made. It was fake news because those “documents” which Ms. Kelland cited were not filed in court. They were also not publicly available at the time she wrote her story. So she apparently lied about them being “court documents.” That lie – if it is the lie it now appears to be – allowed her to avoid disclosing Monsanto’s role in pushing the story.
Putting Words in a Scientist’s Mouth
U.S. Right to Know reported that Ms. Kelland’s Monsanto-sourced story portrayed cancer scientist Aaron Blair as hiding “important information” that found no links between glyphosate and cancer from IARC. Ms. Kelland wrote that Mr. Blair “said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.” But a review of the full deposition shows that Mr. Blair said no such thing.
The Missing Link
Ms. Kelland provided no link to the documents she cited. That conveniently made it impossible for readers to see for themselves how far she and Reuters had veered from veracity. It was Monsanto propaganda pure and simple.
Monsanto Propaganda Assails World
To further promote the fake news, Monsanto used Google advertisements, its chemical industry allies, and chemical-industry-friendly “news” outlets. Pliant media outlets around the world picked up the “hot new story” and trumpeted it everywhere. (It reminded one of another fake news coup, of Dick Cheney echoing that the New York Times’ Judith Miller had – falsely, it turned out – reported evidence of Iraq WMD. Mr. Cheney then used that fake news – so shamelessly promoted by the country’s paper of record – to rally the country to attack Iraq and begin the country’s longest-ever-running war, with no end yet in sight.)
New information revealed in court filings shows just how heavily Monsanto promoted the false narrative to Reuters and Ms. Kelland. In a January 15 court filing, plaintiff’s attorneys cited internal Monsanto correspondence dated April 27, 2017. They say it shows how Monsanto executive Sam Murphey sent the false narrative to Ms. Kelland with a slide deck of talking points as well as out-of-context portions of the Blair deposition which was not filed in court. The attorneys said the correspondence shows Monsanto’s man asking her to publish a piece accusing Dr. Blair of deceiving IARC.
Monsanto and Bayer lawyers are trying to keep the correspondence with Ms. Kelland sealed from public view. Some of the emails between the Reuters reporter and Monsanto still have not been released.
Monsanto Works to Discredit IARC
Plaintiff’s attorneys also write in their letter brief that Monsanto’s internal documents show Ms. Kelland was seen as a a key media contact in their efforts to discredit IARC.
USRTK fairly points out that companies routinely give media outlets story suggestions that benefit the companies from the companies, but reporters need to present facts, not corporate propaganda attacking reputable scientists.
This Reuters story was especially important because Monsanto used it to attack IARC on multiple fronts. Part of that attack included an effort by Monsanto to get Congress to strip funding from IARC.
Reuters and Ms. Kelland failed the public by not revealing that Monsanto was the story’s source. USRTK says, “Reuters owes the world – and IARC – an apology.”
But an apology hardly cuts it. This episode shows that Reuters, like the New York Times in the Iraq WMD propaganda blitz, is a captured news agency that cannot be trusted. Hopefully this episode will teach us all to be very careful to assess veracity each time we open a newspaper or a web site or listen to anyone read us what their corporate masters call “the news.”