Bayer (formerly Monsanto) hired various PR firms to perpetuate the messaging of glyphosate and GMO safety. Through the Monsanto Roundup cancer litigation discovery documents, we learned a great deal about which PR firms were hired, and what strategies were employed in defense of glyphosate.
Key PR Agencies Hired by Monsanto to Defend Glyphosate
A global lobbying and PR firm, FleishmanHillard’s contract of responsibilities with Monsanto included utilizing the strategy “Let Nothing Go”. Any criticism of glyphosate by journalists or on social media would be met with a swift response. The responses included “direct intervention with journalists or editors; letters to the publication; direct response to twitter, Facebook, blog, etc.”
Check out the long list of tactics from the Monsanto Company and Fleishman-Hillard Statement of Work.
Ketchum is a global PR Agency that worked with Monsanto to develop the website GMO Answers. The site GMO Answers is masterfully designed to feel like an independently scientific, academically-sound collection of information from academics on the topic of food safety.
Meanwhile, the site was originally funded by The Council for Biotechnology Information, whose members included BASF, Bayer, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta. As of 2020, it has been funded by CropLife International, an industry group composed of the same companies.
FTI Consulting is a business advisory company that specializes in reputation management. Monsanto hired FTI consulting to target journalists and activists who reported on glyphosate. They deliberately promoted disinformation on the risks of glyphosate, pushing back on the claims that glyphosate could cause cancer. FTI used to have a business case up on their website discussing their wins in supporting Monsanto, but it has been taken down.