They promote GMOs, defend toxic chemicals, and attack people who raise concerns about those products as 'anti-science'. But behind the slick 'astroturf' PR fronts lurk some very dubious funders: the same arch-conservative foundations that finance climate science denial. Stacy Malkan exposes the key players in the agribusiness and chemical industry propaganda wars.
British writer George Monbiot has a warning for those of us trying to grasp the new political realities in the US and the UK.
"We have no hope of understanding what is coming until we understand how the dark money network operates," he wrote in the Guardian.
Corporate America may have been slow to warm up to Donald Trump, but once Trump secured the nomination, "the big money began to recognize an unprecedented opportunity," Monbiot wrote.
His incoherence was not a liability, but an opening: his agenda could be shaped. And the dark money network already developed by some American corporations was perfectly positioned to shape it.
This network, or dark money ATM as Mother Jones described it, refers to the vast amount of hard-to-trace money flowing from arch-conservative billionaires, such as Charles and David Koch and allies, and corporations into front groups that promote extreme free-market ideas - for example, fights against public schools, unions, environmental protection, climate change policies and science that threatens corporate profits.
Investigative writers Jane Mayer, Naomi Oreskes, Erik Conway and others have exposed how "the story of dark money and the story of climate change denial are the same story: two sides of the same coin," as US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse described it last year in a speech.