Consumer Group USRTK Calls on Jon Entine to Reveal Funding, Ties to Industries He Defends

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News Release

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 2, 2016
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350

Jon Entine, a leading chemical industry PR operative who has written dozens of articles defending corporate interests, today attacked the Columbia University’s Journalism School, stating that it “smeared Exxon,” engaged in “advocacy journalism,” and hired “an activist” to run the Journalism School.

In response, consumer group U.S. Right to Know called on Entine to reveal in full detail his funding and ties to the industries he defends in his writing.

“Who is funding Jon Entine and the Genetic Literacy Project?” asked Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know. “Will Jon Entine disclose his funders?  If not, what is he hiding?”

In his New York Post article today, Entine attacks award-winning journalist Susanne Rust, who is an investigative editor at the Columbia Journalism School.  Entine fails to mention that Rust and co-author Meg Kissinger exposed undisclosed industry ties of Entine’s group STATS in a 2009 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, which reported that “STATS claims to be independent and nonpartisan. But a review of its financial reports shows it is a branch of the Center for Media and Public Affairs. That group was paid by the tobacco industry to monitor news stories about the dangers of tobacco.”

The Genetic Literacy Project previously declared that it is “affiliated with the non-profit Statistical Assessment Service (STATS).”  However, the Genetic Literacy Project has removed the reference to STATS from its website.  Entine’s New York Post byline previously referred to him as “a senior fellow at STATS,” and Entine has referred to STATS as “the organization that houses the Genetic Literacy Project, where I work.”

Entine is executive director of the agrichemical industry front group Genetic Literacy Project, a group with unknown funding that regularly attacks activists, journalists and scientists who raise concerns about the health and environmental risks of genetically engineered foods and pesticides.

Entine’s New York Post article is his second recent foray into the arena of climate politics, defending oil companies and attacking climate change heroes.  On February 1, Entine penned an attack on Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes, co-author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

Entine is an influential spokesman for the agrichemical industry. FOIA requests by U.S. Right to Know revealed Entine’s ties to New York Times reporter Amy Harmon, Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel, and pro-GMO journalist Keith Kloor.

In 2012, Entine claimed he had “no idea” that Syngenta was funding the organization (American Council on Science and Health) that published his book defending Syngenta’s herbicide, atrazine, according to reporting by Tom Philpott in Mother Jones.

Entine has made a career of defending the chemical, pesticide, fossil fuel and nuclear power industries.  For more background on Jon Entine, read U.S. Right to Know’s fact sheet about him.

U.S. Right to Know is a nonprofit organization that investigates the risks associated with the corporate food system, and the food industry’s practices and influence on public policy. We promote the free market principle of transparency – in the marketplace and in politics – as crucial to building a better, healthier food system.

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