It should be no surprise that Heidi Larson’s team at the Vaccine Confidence Project, funded by GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, produced a flawed study that inflated the impact of so-called “vaccine misinformation” on social media and that the most impactful “misinformation” was actually “correct” according to Larson and her coauthors.
And, it should surprise no long-time reader of Organic Bytes that this misinformation about misinformation ended up in the New Yorker.
The New Yorker remains a guilty pleasure, but we’ve long realized that, amongst the longform goodness, is the occasional carefully placed and well-written piece of misinformation fed to them by their corporate advertisers.
That became all too clear with the publication of Michael Specter’s hit piece on Vandana Shiva in August 2014, at the height of the GMO labeling movement.
Since 2009, the magazine had been running Monsanto’s greenwashing print ads falsely claiming that genetically modified crops were intended to help farmers “squeeze more food from a raindrop.”
(We’ve never believed for a second that GMOs were ever for anything other than selling pesticides. According to industry data, more than 99 percent of GMO acres are in crops that either produce an insecticide or withstand an herbicide—or both. Read the latest on the “squeeze more” ruse at GM Watch: “Monsanto’s GMO drought-tolerant maize failed in US, now pushed on Africa.”)
As you’ll recall, 2009 was the year Monsanto’s favorite governor Tom Vilsack became President Obama’s Agriculture Secretary over the protest of hundreds of thousands of citizens who wanted GMOs safety-tested, labeled and kept from contaminating organic crops.
So, we weren’t terribly surprised to find that the misinformation funded by GSK, J&J and Merck, would end up on its pages.
Never shocked, always appalled.