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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sham News Sites Promote False Narrative

If you've been following the controversy over the world's most popular herbicide active ingredient  glyphosate, you know things have been getting increasingly heated since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified it as probably carcinogenic to humans back in 2015.

During this time, a series of reports have come out of Reuters by a reporter named Kate Kelland. These 'exclusives' can all be traced back to Monsanto, the agrochemical company that made glyphosate famous with their lucrative product Roundup. As a result of this reporting, and perhaps some lobbying efforts, the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee has launched an investigation into IARC, threatening to cut funding to the independent organization. Three of Kelland's stories were cited in letters to IARC by House Science chairmen Lamar Smith and Andy Biggs. The first letter was sent in November 2017 and a follow-up in December 2017. 

Most recently, the House Science committee has held a hearing titled "In Defense of Scientific Integrity: Examining the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph Program and Glyphosate Review" wherein Andy Biggs refers to glyphosate as "glyphosphate." It was just as appalling as it sounds. But then, this is that House Science committee.

NBC reports: The article claims the science behind global warming is “in its final death rattle.”
And if you think they learned after that first go-around...well, you'd be wrong.

Despite their name, the House Science committee needs some serious work on their science literacy. The criticisms made by Chairman Smith, who has accepted thousands of dollars in contributions from the agribusiness industries, have been thoroughly rebutted by IARC Director Christopher Wild in several written responses, and yet the 'investigation' continues to drag on - much like their tweets featuring rock solid sources.

ACSH is American Council on Science and Health - a notorious front group.

While this circus has been going on, Monsanto has been rolling out their "Preparedness and Engagement Plan for IARC carcinogen rating of glyphosate." In one section of this plan, they state their first objective is to "Protect the reputation and FTO (acronym for 'freedom to operate') of Roundup by communicating the safety of glyphosate." One of the first actions in the plan is "Engage Henry Miller." The finished product of that engagement was an article on Forbes' website, which has now been removed along with all of Miller's articles. It turns out Henry submitted a draft written by Monsanto. Ghostwriting, for obvious reasons, is in direct violation of Forbes' contract with contributors. Oops.

Another part of the plan specifies "Share SM messages (Twitter, Facebook)." This is interesting considering a number of ads that people have been seeing on the social media platforms from anonymous and fictitious news sites.

The Facebook page Science News Today with posts dating back to March 18th 2015, (two days before the IARC monograph 112 was released) have since removed their reviews because so many people called them out - they had a rating of 1 star with 124 reviewers as of October 2017.

In addition to that Facebook page there are at least two more that people have noticed, In The News and Facts of Science.

This was in my news feed not long ago.
Reviews are still up.
The only three star review was an accident.
I think it's fair to say people are noticing something fishy about these accounts. They are painfully obvious.

This tweet, now deleted, was being promoted on Twitter by Facts of Science in January.

The account is really bizarre, it was created in May 2017 with a creepy-feeling focus on single mothers along with some awkward replies to certain tweets.

The Facts of Science account on Facebook has posts going back to October 2017. It has no reviews but you can still see what people are saying about this page.

Bottom line, someone is creating these accounts in an attempt to look like multiple independent sources, and are using them to buy ads on social media to promote the narrative that glyphosate the wonder chemical is being unfairly maligned by those fraudulent scientists over at IARC. This is a bunch of bullshit, straight out of the tobacco playbook and you have to wonder who is behind it.

If I had to give it a guess, I'd say, oh I don't know, someone in the chemical industry?



I was sent a screen shot today of another fake news outlet, sponsoring this tweet. Shared News Story have both a Twitter and Facebook account fitting the same pattern as the others.


The promoted tweets from Shared News Story continue...

I think it's fair to say there's a pattern here...


But wait - there's more!

A new promoted tweet showed up in my feed the other day, this time it's a survey offering the chance to win a free Apple iWatch.

So, before I took the survey I decided to look at the privacy policy.

LoudDoor, LLC? What's that? I'll have to look that up in a bit. I went ahead with the survey...

I answered yes. I wonder where they are going with this???

Exactly where I thought...and I answered no to this one.
No Apple iWatch for me, I guess! Better see what's up with LoudDoor...

LoudDoor was clearly hired by someone. Do you think it's someone who manufactures and sells Roundup brand weed killer perhaps?  

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