Union Of Concerned Scientists Allege Monsanto Misconduct
Public relations firm created false online identities to stump for bioseed company, says group.
March 12, 2012
In a recently published report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the organization levies some troubling allegations against agriculture industry giant Monsanto.
In the report, titled “Heads They Win, Tails We Lose: How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense” and originally published in February of 2012, UCS alleges that a Monsanto-affiliated public relations firm created two false online identities to dispute findings that genetically modified corn was contaminating native Mexican corn.
Below in quotations are the allegations, taken in verbatim from the report, which can be accessed in full here.
“Dr. Ingacio Chapela of the University of California–Berkeley and graduate student David Quist published an article in Nature showing that DNA from genetically modified corn was contaminating native Mexican corn (McGarity and Wagner 2008; Quist and Chapela 2001). The research spurred immediate backlash. Nature received a number of letters to the editor, including several comments on the Internet from “Mary Murphy” and “Andura Smetacek” accusing the scientists of bias (Monbiot 2002). The backlash prompted Nature to publish an editorial agreeing that the report should not have been published (Campbell 2002). However, investigators eventually discovered that the comments from Murphy and Smetacek originated with The Bivings Group, a public relations firm that specializes in online communications and had worked for Monstanto. Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek were found to be fictional names (Monbiot 2002).”