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Wilce writes: "California Proposition 37 to label foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is up for a vote on Tuesday, November 6. It enjoyed broad popular support as of September, with a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showing support by 61 percent of registered voters. But in the two weeks following that poll, support dropped to 48 percent, according to a poll done by Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable."

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting Proposition 37. (photo: Los Angeles Times)
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting Proposition 37. (photo: Los Angeles Times)


Big Ag Ad Blitz Puts GMO Labeling in Jeopardy

By Rebekah Wilce, PR Watch

27 October 12

 

alifornia Proposition 37 to label foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is up for a vote on Tuesday, November 6. It enjoyed broad popular support as of September, with a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showing support by 61 percent of registered voters.

But in the two weeks following that poll, support dropped to 48 percent, according to a poll done by Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable.

What explains the 13 point slide?

Multi-Million Dollar Ad Blitz Changes Minds

Between one poll and the next, voters saw the start of what the Los Angeles Times called a "major television advertising blitz by opponents aimed at changing voters' minds on the issue."

How big of an advertising blitz? $41 million in campaign contributions have been made to the "No on 37" campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times. The campaign paid Winner & Mandabach Campaigns, a political campaign management and advertising firm specializing solely in ballot measures, $14.7 million for "TV or cable airtime and production costs" in September.

Mark Bittman writes in a New York Times op-ed, "By some accounts the 'no' advocates are spending $1 million a day."

Follow the Money: "Big 6" GMO Companies Buy Big Ads

Among the campaign's largest funders are the "Big 6" GMO and pesticide corporations: BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, Syngenta, and Monsanto (see the chart below this article). These six corporations dominate the world's seed, pesticide and genetic engineering (GE) industries. Collectively they have contributed more than $20 million to oppose the labeling measure.

The most effective ad run by the opposition campaign, according to "Yes on 37" spokesperson Stacy Malkan, features Henry I. Miller telling voters that Prop 37 "doesn't make sense." It misleads voters by spinning the law's logical labeling exemptions into "arbitrary" "special interest" loopholes that allegedly result in an "illogical" and "ill-conceived" law.

For instance, the ad discusses exemptions for animal products, but currently there are no genetically modified cows, pigs, or chickens on the market.

According to the Earth Island Journal, spinning the law's exemptions into a major issue makes "a snazzy sound bite, . . . no doubt informed by the No campaign’s polling and focus group findings that show this is a wedge issue. But it’s a strawman argument and fundamentally misleading. The article points out "the holes in the loophole argument" one by one.

Who is Henry Miller?

The ad originally listed campaign spokesperson Miller as "M.D., Stanford" and showed Stanford University buildings in the background. The campaign had to pull that version off the air at the request of Stanford University and re-do it because "the Stanford ID on the screen appeared to violate the university’s policy against use of the Stanford name by consultants," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Miller is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank housed on the Stanford campus. Prior to joining Hoover, Miller worked for 15 years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he was an outspoken advocate of agricultural biotechnology, including GMOs. Miller was the founding director of the FDA Office of Biotechnology, from 1989-1994.

What Miller is most notorious for are his unusual public positions. In 2003, Miller penned an op-ed for the New York Times defending DDT and arguing for its resurrection. This prompted a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) response pointing out the estimated "increase in infant deaths that might result from DDT spraying."

Miller was also a founding member scientist of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, a now-defunct, tobacco industry-funded public relations front group run by the APCO Worldwide PR firm that worked to discredit the links between cigarettes and cancer.

Perhaps most outrageously, Miller wrote in a 2011 op-ed for Forbes that some of those exposed to radiation after the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant "could have actually benefitted from it."

So it is unsurprising that Miller penned a Forbes op-ed on GMO labeling this week suggesting that it is the supporters of GMO labeling who are engaged in "no-holds-barred advocacy . . . to disparage farming methods and promulgate fraudulent health claims about the foods we eat."

Behind the Money is the Right to Know

In these big dollar proposition campaigns, voters in California are often subject to a great deal of misinformation. As CMD has reported, a proposition on the California ballot in June dropped 17 points in the polls and was defeated after a $47 million misleading ad campaign by the tobacco industry.

On election day, voters in California are challenged to sift the wheat from the chaff to decide if they want to join 61 nations in enjoying the right to know if their food contains GMOs.

"No on 37" Campaign Funding

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+8 # jlohman 2012-10-27 09:34
How stupid can "we the people" be? Yea, cover your ears and repeat after me: "Na, Na, Na, I can't hear you!!!"

Yes, GMOs may (or may not) be bad for us. We don't know. They may be responsible for our extended life expectancy, or they may be responsible for the increase in diabetes. Or both!

But the GMO companies own our politicians and most of the scientists. They give cash dollars to both, and last I looked, cash works. So here we are, moving forward with a proposition, hoping that we can embarrass the politicians into doing the right thing.

The answer is to CUT THE POLITICAL BRIBES and demand that our politicians take a clean, unbiased look at the issue! Hire UNCOMPROMISED scientists to study the issue. Find out the truth, and then do something about it!

For once in your life, politicians, do the right thing!

Jack Lohman
http://MoneyedPoliticians.net
 
 
0 # Madrona 2012-10-27 15:38
Good points!

I thought you might want to know about the phone bank fighting this corporate hogwash:

http://www.carighttoknow.org/

Anyone can help make calls from anywhere in the US!
 
 
+3 # WolfTotem 2012-10-27 12:27
SMOKE GMO!!! IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!!!

All these fine corporations with their spotless histories...

A FEW DETAILS: The original Swiss Nestlé, official supplier of chocolate to the Nazi armed forces. Bayer and BASF, when part of the IG Farben conglomerate, producers of the Zyklon-B gas used to kill millions in the Nazi death camps. One postwar Bayer chairman (1956-'61)a war criminal responsible for experiments on human beings... Dupont de Nemours, the merchant of death and peerless polluter, with its prewar Black Legion death squads and close Nazi links. Dow - producers of napalm and Agent Orange for the Vietnam war and responsible for severe plutonium pollution in Colorado in the '50s and '60s.

Trawling horrors is tiring so I'll say nothing about the others. Except that GM research is one thing but in the hands of Monsanto & Syngenta it becomes the ultimate weapon: a means to monopoly control over world food production.

What's terrorism compared with THAT?
 
 
+1 # Madrona 2012-10-27 15:39
I did not know about the Bayer Chairman. Thank you.

You might be interested to know that IG Farben had the first documented epidemic of occupational cancer also--100% of the workers in their dye factories in the mid-1800's died from bladder cancer.

I thought you might want to know about the phone bank fighting this corporate hogwash:

http://www.carighttoknow.org/

Anyone can help make calls from anywhere in the US!
 
 
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2012-10-27 14:03
Boycott these companies. By buying their products, you are paying for these attacks.
 
 
+2 # Street Level 2012-10-27 14:16
This is the dumbing down of America. Over 60 countries around the world label their food for GMO's but not the US or Canada.
Nobody wants this stuff. Japan just cancelled a billion dollar order for soy with us because it failed the GMO taint test. India is putting a 10yr moratorium on new plantings and will probably move for a ban like so many other countries.
Our big food companies removed their GM content rather than label them when that country enacted labeling. They know this stuff is bad and we are there last market. Seventeen other states are mobilizing to pass labeling in their state. The food movement is on.
The Majority of people I talk to are not fooled and are still voting "yes" on 37.

Control the food supply and you control the people.
 
 
0 # Old Man 2012-10-27 14:40
These people that change there minds are the ones that can't figure out who to vote for.
It's like clean coal so it must be alright...ha!.. .just idiots.
 
 
0 # Madrona 2012-10-27 15:36
YOU CAN BE LOUDER than all this corporate money: WE CAN WIN THIS ONE!!!

Yes on 37: Right to Know campaign to label genetically engineered foods has a phone bank. You can call from anywhere in the US by signing up here:

http://www.carighttoknow.org/

Just click on the red ‘Volunteer’ button in the middle of the page near the top.

‘Yes on 37’ was way ahead in the polls until the chemical/agribu siness monsters started playing “trick” for real. After a multi-million dollar ad blitz, support dropped from 61% of voters polled to 48%.

However, if people learn about the law—and who paid for the misleading campaigns against Proposition 37, support is likely to rise again.

You can help!.

California leads the country in this type of action because they are so big and have enough people who are progressive that the people’s voice can be heard above the massive money noise that corporations generate. They are the only state with state anti-trust laws, so California is the only state where insurance companies are subject to anti-trust laws. Lets help them get GMO labeling laws—once California has it, it will be easier for activists in other states to get it passed in their states.

I signed up for a shift tonight from 6 pm to 9 pm. As you know, I am “mobility impaired”. It feels good to be able to help on a ballot campaign that supports actions I strongly believe in: Telling the truth and protecting public health.
 

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