Newsweek failed to disclose the chemical industry connections of two opinion writers who argued today in an op-ed that glyphosate can’t be regulated. The commentary by Henry I. Miller and Stuart Smyth, both of whom have ties to Monsanto that were not disclosed in the piece, appeared soon after a federal jury handed cancer victim Edwin Hardeman an $80 million verdict against Monsanto (now Bayer), and said the company’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide was a “substantial factor” in causing Hardeman’s cancer.
Last year, we complained to Newsweek’s opinion editor about an op-ed Dr. Miller wrote attacking the organic industry that was based on pesticide industry sources and didn’t disclose Miller’s Monsanto ties. See our bizarre email exchange with the editor, Nicholas Wapshott, in which he declined to inform readers about the conflicts of interest. Wapshott is no longer at Newsweek, but Miller’s organic food attack still appears there, and today it was surrounded by Bayer advertisements promoting glyphosate.
Today’s op-ed in Newsweek, in which Miller and Smyth defended Monsanto and Roundup, provided these bios: Stuart J. Smyth is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and holds the Industry Funded Research Chair in Agri-Food Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a Senior Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. He was the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Here’s what Newsweek did not disclose to its readers about the authors:
Henry Miller’s Monsanto ties:
- In 2017, the New York Times reported that Dr. Miller published an article in Forbes defending glyphosate that had been ghostwritten by Monsanto. Forbes severed ties with Miller and deleted all his articles.
- A 2015 Monsanto PR plan identified Dr. Miller as a key ally. The company’s plan to discredit a scientific panel that raised cancer concerns about glyphosate listed as its first action item: “Engage Henry Miller.”
- Miller has a long history of partnering with – and pitching his PR services to – corporations that need help convincing the public their products aren’t dangerous and don’t need to be regulated.
Stuart Smyth’s Monsanto ties:
- Dr. Smyth also collaborates with the agrichemical industry on PR projects, according to emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know and published in the UCSF Chemical Industry Documents Archive.
- Emails from 2016 indicate that Dr. Smyth receives “program support” from Monsanto. The email from Monsanto Canada’s Public and Industry Affairs Director asks Dr. Smyth to send the “invoice for this year’s contribution.”
Newsweek has a duty to inform its readers about the chemical industry connections of writers and sources who argue in Newsweek for the safety and necessity of pesticides linked to cancer.
For more information:
- Monsanto’s Fingerprints All Over Newsweek Attack on Organic Food, by Stacy Malkan (1.23.2018)
- Newsweek’s Bizarre Standard for Opinion Writers, by Stacy Malkan (1.31.2018)
- Henry Miller Dropped by Forbes After Monsanto Ghostwriting Scandal, USRTK fact sheet
- Tracking the Agrichemical Industry Propaganda Network, USRTK fact sheet