We have been closely following the trials surrounding Roundup weedkiller in which several plaintiffs have prevailed against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) after they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The plaintiffs’ attorneys pointed to Monsanto’s lack of transparency and truthfulness despite knowing of the chemical’s dangers. However, it seems the the Roundup case is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Monsanto’s shady dealings. Journalist Carey Gillam pointed out alarming public relations tactics Monsanto uses, further showing the company’s failure in trustworthiness.
After speaking with a lawyer for one of the Roundup cancer victims, Gillian learned of a “dark money project” by Monsanto aimed at staying in the public’s favor. Tactics lawyer Tim Litzenburg pointed out include:
- Publishing news articles in major outlets
- Discrediting journalists who oppose Monsanto’s agenda
- Secretly funding groups to amplify pro-Monsanto messaging on social media
The article delves into several specific actions Monsanto has taken to carry out these PR tasks. Here are some of Gillian’s revelations:
- A woman falsely posing as a BBC reporter at the Hardeman v. Monsanto Roundup cancer trial was actually a “reputation management” consultant working with Monsanto. The woman pretended to report while suggesting pro-Monsanto storylines and points to real reporters.
- Academics Review, a brainchild of Monsanto, published scathing articles against Gillam’s articles about Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops and Roundup product. Under the guise of an independent association, Academics Review amplified Monsanto’s complaints that she should not be writing about the views of company critics.
- American Council on Science and Health, which has received money from Monsanto, attacks journalists and scientists that contradict Monsanto’s agenda.
These are just a few of the many points Gillian makes about the deep-rooted manipulation tactics Monsanto uses to gain favorable public opinion.
Gillian’s 17-year career of covering Monsanto, combined with the Roundup cancer litigation, has brought to light the trust and transparency issues we often see with major corporations. Continuing to take Monsanto to task for these practices will hopefully promote more transparent actions in the future — the only real way to be deserving of Americans’ favor.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).