Stacy Malkan, co-founder and managing editor of U.S. Right to Know, discusses a report she recently co-authored, Merchants of Poison: How Monsanto Sold the World on a Toxic Pesticide (2022) which uncovers astroturfing operations that Monsanto has exacted around the planet to embolden its hold over the agro-chemical industry. Malkan expounds on how Monsanto uses its wealth to saturate its agenda through universities, Nobel laureate scientists, professors, lawyers, and journalists in what she classifies as a “lockstep army.” Discussing California’s Proposition 37, a 2012 ballot measure that would have required the labeling of genetically engineered food, Malkan notes how Monsanto threw $45 million in the space of one month in order to saturate media with its propaganda, reversing public support against this measure for which there had previously been 70% public support in favour. Detailing how Monsanto orchestrates its astroturf operations—fake grassroots groups that are intended to look real but which are in reality managed by third-party PR firms to give the veneer of independence—Malkan elaborates how Freedom to Farm was one such operation that emerged in the European Union in the aftermath of the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ruling that classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Malkan fleshes out how how this astroturf operation was the creation of the PR firm FleishmanHillard whereby it employed 90 people across the EU “to recruit or look like or create the impression” that Freedom to Farm was a genuine grassroots effort led by farmers who warned of the “threat to farming” posed by restricting the use of glyphosate, when in fact this was all a massive PR theatre.
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Savage Minds Podcast
This podcast takes on investigative current events, social commentary, the arts & politics through discussions with experts in the field.