Russia’s PR Firm Boasted of Doubling Positive Media Coverage on GMOs, Snooping on Citizens

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News Release

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350

[*Update: Ketchum PR announced in March 2015 that it ended its partnership with Russia for undisclosed reasons. The Russia account was actually spun off  to fellow Omnicom property GPlus, Adweek reported. In its DOJ filing, Ketchum reported terminating its relationship with the Russian Federation on Jan. 1, 2016.]

 Russia’s PR Firm Boasted of Doubling Positive Media Coverage on GMOs, Snooping on Citizens

In a video, recently removed from the Internet, the public relations firm Ketchum bragged about its success in spinning the media to get positive coverage of GMOs, and admitted “we closely monitor the conversation” on social media accounts of GMO skeptics. Ketchum is Russia’s PR firm in the United States.

In the video, Ketchum boasts about how, following its work, “positive media coverage has doubled” on GMOs, and “we’re now on the first page of [Google] search results.”

“This video lays out the GMO industry’s PR playbook, and how the media fell for it,” said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right to Know, a new nonprofit food research organization. “Ketchum also reveals their creepy snooping on Americans who are concerned about the health and environmental effects of GMOs.”

Ketchum is a fascinating PR firm.  In addition to advocating for GMOs, they are also Russia’s PR firm*.  “Most Americans don’t trust Ketchum when they speak for Russia and President Putin, so why should we trust them when they speak for GMOs?” Ruskin asked.

Ketchum’s defense of GMOs appears to be longstanding; in 2000, according to an email uncovered by Mother Jones, they were apparently involved in an espionage effort against nonprofit organizations concerned with GMOs, including the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth.

The Ketchum video bragging about their GMO spin success was posted on the Clio award website after Ketchum was named to the 2014 Clio Award shortlist for “Public Relations: Crisis & Issue Management” for its website “GMO Answers.” However, the video was recently removed after U.S. Right to Know called attention to it.

U.S. Right to Know is a new nonprofit food organization that investigates and reports on what food companies don’t want us to know about our food. For more information, please see our website at usrtk.org.

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