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An Inside Look at How Monsanto, a PR Firm and a Reporter Give Readers a Warped View of Science

Dogged for years by bad press, Monsanto hit reboot with Ketchum.

Agricultural giant Monsanto has spent much of the last decade attempting to polish its public image amid campaigns to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and horrifying stories about how the company treats anyone who might get in its way

In 2013, it enlisted Ketchum PR ― the public relations firm for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and many governments known for human rights abuses ― to help. To reboot the national dialogue, Ketchum created a campaign called GMO Answers, and used social media and third-party scientists to offer a counternarrative to allay concern about Monsanto’s products. HuffPost has acquired 130 pages of internal documents from an anonymous source that detail the campaign and its tactics for enhancing Monsanto’s public image ― tactics that include developing close relationships with one writer in particular that seem to have paid off for the company. (Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018.)

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