When Dr. Oz aired a show about the super-toxic, DNA damaging, cancer causing herbicide glyphosate that Monsanto sells as Roundup, Monsanto quickly went on the attack and the mass mind-control media quickly joined in.
The headline in Slate blared, “Letter from Prominent Doctors Implies Columbia Should Fire Dr. Oz for Being a Quack.” The story was based on a letter by a group of doctors who want Columbia University to relieve Dr. Oz of his position as vice chair of the department of surgery at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The letter states, “Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.”
The complaint to Columbia was signed by Dr. Henry I. Miller and nine colleagues, “all of whom are distinguished physicians,” the letter claims.
So who are these prominent distinguished physicians?
Slate didn’t ask that question, nor did the other media minions who covered the letter for the Associated Press, Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Vox or New York Daily News.
If they had, they would have learned that not all the physicians on the letter are so distinguished. One was stripped of his medical license in New York and sent to federal prison camp for Medicaid fraud. Yet Dr. Gilbert Ross plays up his M.D. credentials in his role as acting president of the American Council for Science and Health (ACSH). Ross was joined on the Columbia letter by ACSH board member Dr. Jack Fisher.
So what is ACSH? Though some reporters treat it as an independent science source, the group is a disinformation agency that has been heavily funded by oil, chemical and tobacco companies, and has a long history of making grossly inaccurate statements about science that directly benefit those industries – for example claiming that secondhand smoke isn’t linked to heart attacks, fracking doesn’t pollute water, and there is no scientific consensus on global warming.
Two other signatories of the letter – Miller and Dr. Scott Atlas – hail from the Hoover Institution, a rabid right-wing agency of lies posing as a think-tank based at Stanford University that has a special affinity for featuring the work of climate change deniers.
“In other words, it’s an institution whose commitment to science is highly questionable to nonexistent in one area, and it’s attacking Oz for pseudoscience?” pointed out Dr. David Gorski in his blog about the Columbia letter.
Though an Oz critic himself, Gorski dismissed the Columbia letter as unlikely to yield anything but a brief media blip, and noted that Miller did “a half-assed job” getting credible signers. (Gorski describes ACSH as “a group that is pro-science when that science aligns with industry interests, particularly the pesticide industry.”)
The obvious irony of Miller’s Hoover Institute association may be why he tends to downplay it in the press; for example, AP reported the Columbia letter was “led by Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford University.” But Miller has landed in hot water before for tying himself too closely to Stanford.
In 2012, a TV ad imploring Californians to vote against GMO labeling was yanked off the air because it identified Miller as an M.D. at Stanford and had him perched in front of the ornately vaulted campus walkway. Stanford demanded it be changed to reflect Miller’s true status at Hoover.
Along with his “colleagues” at ACSH, Miller has a long history of defending the indefensible for polluting and dangerous industries. Nicotine is “not particularly bad for you in the amounts delivered by cigarettes,” he wrote in 2012. He has repeatedly argued to bring back the banned pesticide DDT. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, Miller wrote that people exposed to low levels of radiation “could have actually benefitted from it.”
Now, he’s fronting for the GMO industry. Miller has become one of the most prolific and best-known liars about genetically engineered food and crops, with frequent propadanda pieces in 1% rags such as Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other outlets – most recently Slate, where he attacked Oz for his coverage of GMOs. Among other industry talking points in the piece, Miller claims that glyphosate “has lower overall health impacts than white vinegar,” and fails to mention its recent listing by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen.
These facts are relevant in stories about scientific integrity. The scientific accuracy and motivations of the accusers matter when they are publicly challenging the scientific accuracy and motivations of somebody they are trying to get fired.
What this case shows is that mass media lies, lies often and does real harm to the American people.
If you are sick of the lies you should not only boycott such publications but also inform their advertisers that you are boycotting them for supporting the publications.