Skip to main content

Journalist Mouthpieces (Victims) of USRTK

It has been well established that the activist group US-RTK advances it agenda by using public records requests to obtain emails from public academic scientists at great taxpayer expense.  They then selectively pass stories along to willing (lazy) journalists that see an easy story and a quick paycheck if they publish the story that US-RTK wants told. 

We've seen it several times already.  Thacker and Seife wrote a story about me that was false and retracted.  The New York Times and Eric Lipton wrote a damaging, libelous piece about me that time has shown holds minimal truth. Other stories are written by people on the USRTK payroll, posing as unbiased reporters.

All of these stories started with USRTK passing along the emails to journalists. Journalists failed to do their own homework, instead, ironically doing the bidding of a well-financed activist group. Some did the homework but decided to perpetuate falsehoods.  Still others saw through the attack and would not comply with RTK, maintaining their integrity and standards. 

Sadly, some journalists are used and manipulated, drawn by the allure of an apparently sexy story and a few shekels, not actually thinking about the content or the people that could be affected. Sometimes it is so poorly done that it reflects an abject abortion of journalistic standards. 

Let's look at the piece by Alex Orlov on Food.Mic.



"Leaked email" ???  Leaked? You mean, emails freely provided through public records requests at significant taxpayer cost?  This is the level of disingenuous rhetoric that Orlov uses to frame this article. 

The article is about Registered Dietitian Mary Lee Chin, a professional that is really interested in communicating concepts around food risk and safety to other dietitians.  I've seen her in action a few times now.  She's small in stature but fills the room, always deliberate and articulate, dressed perfectly and always hyper-professional. Here words flow with a catchy slowness, delivered with unending poise and strength. She captivates an audience and provides beautiful analogies about food, food safety and risk. She freely acknowledges her associations with a number of organizations, including Monsanto. 

****ADDED 3/23- Read Mary Lee's Response! 

When I read this article I was pretty sad. Mary Lee is a kind person I always like to watch perform. I learn from watching her teach others about food and food safety.  

But Alex Orlov is the next victim of US-RTK, a credulous journalist that accepted the emails from these corporate-financed activists, and then followed the RTK narrative to the letter without a whole lot of other critical evaluation.  

The article claims that "leaked emails" show Mary Lee and Monsanto fail to disclose their relationship, and implies that her discussion of dietary concepts cannot be trusted because of this top-secret link. But if you look at the graphic below, you can see that the paragraph contains a link to "Monsanto's site" where Chin is mentioned as one of their consulting RD's. 

That's some top-notch journalism. Including a link in the article that freely discloses the information that is claimed to not be disclosed.  D'oh.



This is the best part. 


Mic "obtained" emails.  You mean, US-RTK sent emails and a story to tell? 

Wait a minute... the next paragraph...


Ahhhh, there it is!  USRTK "shared" (e.g. provided the emails and a story to tell) to Mic after obtaining them to the University of Florida in 2014. 

No, US-RTK got these from me last week and promptly packaged them for willing dupes to communicate.  That's 2017.  They needed someone to do their work, and Alex Orlov fell for it. They didn't make the records request in 2014.  Their endless harassment of professors at public expense started in 2015 and continues to this day. They got another 15,000 pages from me last week, including this one. That's some solid journalism there. 

Ultimately the thing Orlov fails to show is that Mary Lee Chin said something, or did something that was wrong.  What rules were broken?  What did she say that was inconsistent with the scientific evidence and vast consensus?  

Hint:  Nothing. 

And here's Orlov's smoking gun (highlights hers).


A dietitian excited to leverage her training to teach others and have impacts!  For shame! Full disclosure-- Source is US-RTK, not Mic. 


I'm sad because this goes after Mary Lee.  At the same time I'm sad because this hurts Alex Orlov.  She joins a group of victims, journalists duped by an activist organization with a mountain of industry funding and a handful of well-cherry-picked emails. She's also a victim because she did their bidding-- and it is dead wrong. 

So add her name to those that scientists should not trust, in the same hopper as Infowars' Alex Jones, Natural News' Mike Adams, Eric Lipton, Alison Vuchnich, Brooke Borel, US-RTK's own Carey Gillam, Thacker and Charles Seife and the other "journalists" that do the bidding of activists instead of telling the truth. Time has shown them to be wrong, and that trend will only continue.

The trend will continue until journalists stop being the mouthpieces of activist organizations, trading their integrity for a paycheck and a website that dies in an irrelevant echo chamber. 

There is an irony here that is so incredible that it gives me an ice cream headache. 

Journalists, if someone comes to you with a hot-story of a scumbag scientist working for Monsanto, look at it carefully and follow up with the scientists targeted. 

Most of all journalists, are you the shill selling out for a paycheck? Are you telling the truth?  How you decide to parrot RTK's claims will dictate your journalistic legacy. And sadly, they have shown that they are interested in destroying scientists, even if that means destroying the careers of a few journalists along the way. 


**This work is uncharacteristically angry and direct.  However, as someone that has survived this type of assault on my reputation, I feel an obligation to stand up for others enduring similar persecution.  This is how I stand up for science. 









Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…