By Nancy Smorch and Shannon Keirnan
Is the 2013 poll-voted "Most Evil Corporation" trying to soften it's public image?
Though Monsanto has mostly avoided reacting to the many, many accusations fired their way, they're now ready to respond.
Not with answers, understanding, or a willingness to change, of course, but by launching a campaign that will soften their public image and focus on the lighter, kinder side of a company that hey, just wants to assist farmers in growing the world's food!
The corporation has brought in PR firm FleishmanHillard, one of the largest public relation firms in the nation, to head a new international campaign in an effort to soften their "evil" image. They've even launched a series of YouTube videos, where farmers tote the kindness and importance of Monsanto.
But can we be fooled by words and pictures?
Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association, reminds us to take Monsanto's new approach with a very large grain of salt.
“Monsanto patents seeds and enforces those patents by suing farmers; we support farmers’ right to save seeds. Monsanto sells agricultural chemicals and genetically engineered seeds designed to increase the use of pesticides; we support pesticide- and GMO-free organic farming. Monsanto has focused on the seeds that are primarily used to grow animal feed for factory farms; we support farms that raise grass-fed animals on pasture. We know, as many experts have proven, that organic and pasture-based agriculture is the only way to feed the world and turn back climate change, so, we aren’t optimistic about the promises Monsanto has made about the potential benefits of GMOs," she says.
She's right, of course. Monsanto is, at its heart, still a profit machine. It does not have our best interests at heart, it retains an iron, monopolizing grip on the food industry, it will do anything to cover up the truths they don't want us to know.
Take, for example, the recent news you might have heard: The only study linking Monsanto's glyphosate products and genetically modified corn to cancer was retracted.
Shocking, right? Have we been wrong about GMO's all along?
Not if you care to delve a little deeper.
Not only was the study retracted without meeting the official guidelines for retraction (unethical research, clear evidence that the findings were unreliable as a result of honest error or misconduct, previous publishing of the findings, or plagiarism), but the study was retracted after the magazine created a new position and hired into it an editor who happened to be an ex-employee of Monsanto.
If you go a little further, you'll even find out that the publishing company of the study had previously come under fire for fabricating an entire medical journal and editorial board, to publish papers and findings provided by pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck.
And yet, many people will take this retraction at face value. This is exactly what companies like Monsanto want. Those willing to accept information like this are exactly the reason Monsanto continues to thrive.
People who will watch their seemingly heartfelt videos for the new campaign and appreciate a few pictures of wheat fields, are simply letting themselves be blinded from the truth.
Don't settle for the first piece of information you come across. Website GMO Answers, for example, seems harmless enough while looking for answers... but if you explore the site you'll realize it's actually controlled, in part, by Monsanto!
Empower yourself with knowledge, use common sense to sort through facts, and remember that we all have a global responsibility to learn the truth.
Dig deep! Share your information, and continue always to learn.