The Puppetmasters of Academia (or What the NY Times Left out)

Independent Science News has just published a revelatory new article by Jonathan Latham, PhD: “The Puppetmasters of Academia (or What the NY Times Left out).

Synopsis: Earlier this year, a US group called US Right to Know (USRTK) set in motion Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests directed at public university scientists it suspected of working with (and being paid by) the biotech industry and/or its PR intermediaries. A new front page article (NY Times Sept 5th) by Eric Lipton reports on similar FOIA emails obtained from University of Florida professor Kevin Folta and others. However, Lipton’s focus on individual academics like Folta obscures the fact that the emails (some available online as links to the NYT article) expose a vast network of academics employed by industry to promote GMOs and defend them from scientific criticism. Also missing from the body of the article is an idea of the enormous amounts of industry money received by Folta’s university. The institutions and academics exposed by the emails — yet left out of the NY Times article — including National Academy Scientists Nina Fedoroff and Roger Beachy and numerous academics at prestigious Cornell University, as well as Cornell’s Gates Foundation funded Alliance for Science — are part of the missing big picture. Read the full article at:

For more on the damage done to public interest science with the proliferation of academia’s financial conflicts of interest see Wilhelm Peekhaus’ excellent academic article: The Neoliberal University and Agricultural Biotechnology: Reports from the Field.