Monsanto public relations are fighting an uphill battle as they try to convince the world that their genetically modified crops are beneficial and necessary. More than ever before, informed people are skeptical of the so-called safety of GMOs and agrochemicals. When the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen, public opinion on GMO safety quickly shifted.
Now Monsanto must employ a new strategy to promote GMOs, one that paints dissenters as “ideologically driven” and “anti-science.” In the United Kingdom, Monsanto headquarters appointed former World Bank communications strategists Vance Crowe to head up a new position called “Director of Millennial Engagement.” This position was created to convince skeptical young adults that their anti-GMO views are fueled by emotion, not logic. Crowe is scheduled to tour the UK in 2017 and convince millennials that the benefits of GMOs trump the fear surrounding public opinion.
The communication expert will engage in public forums and try to relate to millennials’ mistrust of GMOs. His public relation tour is meant to appeal to skeptics in the most persuasive way, disregarding the evidence on GMO health issues by first painting skepticism as fact-less. One of the speaking engagements will be at Glasgow Skeptics, which is an organization that promotes “science and critical thinking.” The event’s organizer, Brian Eggo, is already on record classifying GMOs skeptics as the kind of people who are guided by ideology and fueled by the public’s unsubstantiated fears of GM technology. In trying to win over skeptics, Brian Eggo said that Glasgow isn’t pro-GM, but will present the scientific facts in a neutral setting. The Monsanto sympathizer says that the discussion on GMO’s should involve “putting aside personal biases, ideologies and preconceived ideas in order to examine what is true.”
For those who can see through this PR stunt, it’s obvious that Brian Eggo and Monsanto’s Vance Crowe are making a play on words to paint GMO dissenters as lunatics who don’t follow facts or science. Eggo’s assertion that GM promoters base their views on science is a dead giveaway that Monsanto is just trying to frame the debate so that people will believe in their “science.” When these communication experts declare up front that those who oppose GMOs are driven by ideology and emotion, they are being intentionally manipulative and using their own science as a device.
Industry studies alone do not give a clear picture of the damage that persistent chemicals and continual consumption of GMOs do to humans and the environment. It is the hope of Monsanto and biotech industry that they can convince people to believe in their studies as if it is settled, religious teachings. In this way, they can control the official story on GMOs.
There is no scientific consensus on the safety of GM technology. Where one industry-backed study touts its safety, there is another showing the tumors that are the result of GM-rich diets. The real long-term safety tests are continually being carried out on the population. The lasting effect on the environment is also a grave concern.
The most common genetically modified crops are engineered to withstand weed killer chemicals such as glyphosate. Since glyphosate is a registered antibiotic, its presence on crops and in food causes microbe depletion (in the soil and in the human gut). This may change how the nutrition of food is assimilated in the human body. (RELATED: For more information on GM technology, visit GMO.news)
When Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered an immediate ban on glyphosate in 2014, he did so because scientists recognized that glyphosate acts as a vector for heavy metals to flood the kidneys of agricultural workers. This deadly uptake of heavy metals to the kidneys happens because glyphosate depletes the commensal microbes in the gut that protect the gut wall and the blood from heavy metals and other toxins.
People have every reason to emotionally and ideologically detest anything that Monsanto comes up with. Monsanto has a long, sordid history of mass producing chemicals that cause human suffering. Look no further than DDT, agent orange, PCBs, dioxin, saccharin, bovine growth hormone, aspartame, polystyrene, and yes today’s wonderful weedkiller – glyphosate. Just like we once got serious about banning Monsanto’s DDT, agent orange, PCBs and dioxin, it’s now time to get serious about the damning facts on glyphosate toxicity.
If communication experts are being called upon to silence dissent and sway public opinion on the benefits of toxic chemicals and genetic experiments, then it’s time to wake up and start talking about the data and the evidence!