Dana Drugman writes:
“As regulators in the United States and European Union prepare to review and potentially reauthorize the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, a new report reveals the stealth tactics and narrative spin deployed by the chemical’s manufacturer to discredit inconvenient science and protect profits.
The report, published by Friends of the Earth and nonprofit investigative organization U.S. Right to Know, uses the case study of Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and its widely used glyphosate-based product Roundup to illustrate the pesticide industry’s deceptive tactics and communications strategies — which mirror those of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries.
“The pesticide industry is not just following in the footsteps of Big Tobacco and Big Oil, they co-wrote the playbook,” Stacy Malkan, lead report author and co-founder of U.S. Right to Know, said.
The pesticide industry used this PR strategy, which involves tactics like distorting science and disseminating misleading messaging through third party allies, to convince regulators and the public that its products were safe and necessary, the report explains.
“This case study provides an important window into how one company worked with many partners across the pesticide and processed food industries, academia, PR firms, and various front groups to sell the world on a toxic pesticide,” said author and advocate Anna Lappé, who contributed to the report. “These disinformation tactics are critical to understand because they have been used to push the entwined myths that we need pesticides to ‘feed the world’ and that they are totally safe.”