Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page!
By now everyone’s heard of “fake news.” But there’s another equally insidious form of journalism: fake opinions.
Fake opinions are opinion pieces, or op-eds, published under the name of someone who purports to be an “independent” scientist, expert or academic, but who is actually spreading propaganda for companies like Monsanto—and usually being paid to do it.
Henry I. Miller, a well-known mouthpiece for Monsanto, is a master of fake opinions.
And Newsweek just published his latest.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page! Fill in the form on this page to send him an email.
And don’t forget to tweet! @NWapshott and @newsweek
Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that Miller, described by the Times as “an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops,” had asked Monsanto to draft an opinion piece for him—a piece he then persuaded Forbes magazine to publish under his own name.
On January 19, an op-ed titled “The Campaign for Organic Food is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam,” showed up on the pages of Newsweek magazine, under Miller’s name.
Stacy Malkan, co-director of US Right to Know fired back in her piece, “Monsanto’s Fingerprints All Over Newsweek’s Hit on Organic Food.”
In her in-depth exposé of Miller, Malkan reports that she complained to Newsweek’s opinion editor, Nicholas Wapshott, pointing out that Miller has been widely discredited for trying to pass off Monsanto’s propaganda as his own work.
Here’s what Wapshott wrote in an email to Malkan:
I understand that you and Miller have a long history of dispute on this topic. He flatly denies your assertions.
Wow. Really? Newsweek is going to bat for a Monsanto shill, regardless of Miller’s murky reputation?
There’s so much wrong with Miller’s hit piece on organics, and Newsweek’s willingness to publish it, that we hardly know where to begin.
Thankfully, Malkan details all the reasons Newsweek should have rejected Miller’s piece, even if Miller’s scandalous past hadn’t already been exposed. Here are just a few:
• Miller cited pesticide industry sources, not independent science, to claim that organic farming is “actually more harmful to the environment” than conventional agriculture,
• Those same pesticide industry sources included an inaccurate claim by Jay Byrne, former director of corporate communications for Monsanto, that organic allies spent $2.5 billion in one year campaigning against genetically engineered foods in North America. Miller included that figure in his op-ed, without revealing Byrne’s ties to Monsanto.
• Miller tries to discredit the work of New York Times’ reporter Danny Hakim, without disclosing that it was Hakim who exposed Miller’s Monsanto ghostwriting scandal.
Wapshott has an impressive resumé. We could understand if he slipped up when it came to doing his due diligence on Miller before agreeing to run his op-ed.
But we don’t understand how, given all the evidence, Wapshott is still defending Miller.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page!