Real scientific research isn’t supposed to be political. It is, at its best, unbiased and curious, ready to observe an outcome from an experiment no matter what the facts say. Science Media Center has given the world a ‘false’ sense of truth about GMOs based on politicized science, not real science, and PR Watch explains why.
The Science Media Center (SMC) influences governments. It acts as if its coverage of GMOs is unbiased, and their report on genetically modified ingredients was released with great fanfare. Their actions have outcomes that affect us all.
Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom suggests that GMOs have been proven safe (with evidence from SMC) and his commissioned a new report to convince the UK that they need to rely on GM crops instead of imports.
SMC’s ‘data’ was published prominently with media outlets like The Guardian and The Independent and it was featured by the BBC. The independent and the BBC published no critical report of the SMC’s findings, but just regurgitated exactly what they were told. The Guardian buried critics’ responses to the SMCs briefing at the bottom of the article.
And just what gives the SMC authority to be the all-knowing institution on GMOs? Interesting you should ask.
SMC was conceived in 2002, and enjoys a cozy relationship with the British government. It is now based at the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest non-profit foundations ($22.5 billion in total assets as of late 2012), founded on the fortune of American-born pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome, whose drug company has since evolved to become GlaxoSmithKline.
The Wellcome Trust provides the SMC with more than five percent of its annual budget. If this is sounding more and more like Monsanto’s usual tactics to buy out scientists and labs, governments, and even Supreme Courts, then you are getting the idea.
Furthermore, its current funding comes from BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta — three of the world’s biggest pesticide and GMO corporations — as well as a number of agrichemical trade groups like CropLife International. But we are supposed to believe that their scientific inquiries into GMOs are unbiased?
SMC initially promised to “provide an anti-GM scientist and a pro-GM scientist, a pro-legalisation of cannabis scientist and an anti-, etc, etc.,” but it has done nothing like this. They also spearheaded the attack on the controversial Gilles-Éric Séralini study, which showed GMOs to be extremely toxic to rats. The study will now be republished despite SMC’s attack, with the support of thousands of scientists all over the world.
The SMC’s attack on the Gilles-Éric Séralini study went viral. It was posted in papers all over the UK, and even the New York Times quoted from the SMC when they covered the story. This caused the publishing journal to retract the story – even though it showed that GMOs caused tumors.
The organization pretends that real science is fabricated public opinion.
SMC director Fiona Fox told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), “[W]e are not about to reinforce the ‘he-said-she-said’ false balance by trawling our universities for climate skeptics or plant scientists who take issue with GM.”
There you have it. The SMC is a paragon for biotech’s bottom line, not real science that tells the truth about GMOs.