“The campaign for organic food is a deceitful, expensive scam,” according to a Jan. 19 Newsweek article authored by Dr. Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institution.
If that name sounds familiar – Henry I. Miller – it may be because the New York Times recently revealed a scandal involving Miller: that he had been caught publishing an article ghostwritten by Monsanto under his own name in Forbes. The article, which largely mirrored a draft provided to him by Monsanto, attacked the scientists of the World Health Organization’s cancer panel (IARC) for their decision to list Monsanto’s top-selling chemical, glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen.
Reporting on an email exchange released in litigation with Monsanto over cancer concerns, the Times’Danny Hakim wrote:
“Monsanto asked Mr. Miller if he would be interested in writing an article on the topic, and he said, ‘I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.’
The article appeared under Mr. Miller’s name, and with the assertion that ‘opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.’ The magazine did not mention any involvement by Monsanto in preparing the article …
Forbes removed the story from its website on Wednesday and said that it ended its relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.”
The opinion wire Project Syndicate followed suit, after first adding a disclaimer to Miller’s commentaries noting that they would have been rejected if his collaboration with Monsanto had been known.
Desperate to Disparage Organic
The ghostwriting scandal has hardly slowed Miller down; he has continued to spin promotional content for the agrichemical industry from outlets such as Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, without disclosing to readers his relationship with Monsanto.
Yet the corporate collaboration seems clear; Miller’s Newsweek hit on organic food has Monsanto’s fingerprints in plain sight all over it.
For starters, Miller uses pesticide industry sources to make unsubstantiated (and ludicrous) claims about organic agriculture – for example, that organic farming is “actually more harmful to the environment” than conventional agriculture, or that organic allies spent $2.5 billion in a year campaigning against genetically engineered foods in North America.
The source on the latter inaccurate claim is Jay Byrne, a former director of corporate communications for Monsanto (not identified as such in the Newsweek article), who now directs a PR firm called v-Fluence Interactive.