Thursday, May 08, 2008

Amy Goodman and Vanity Fair's James Steel on Democracy Now!

A month ago, I'd written about Vanity Fair's recent weighty exposé on the monstrously huge biotech bully Monsanto. Tuesday's episode of Democracy Now! featured Amy Goodman's interview with James Steele, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who co-authored the Vanity Fair piece. You can listen to (or watch) the interview here, or read the transcript here.

Democracy Now! also provides
a link to the five page letter written by a Monsanto PR rep to Steele in response to his original article. In the letter, Monsanto attempts to disassociate itself from its previous incarnations, referring to the companies it was as if it's completely unrelated to them, instead of having evolved from them. The rep absolves the ''new'' Monsanto of any sort of ethical accountability and beats it all down to so much legal mumbo-jumbo, as if chan
ging a company's name cleans the slate.

The rep refuses to discuss anything having to do with
their bullying and harassment of farmers in what the rep refers to as ''patent infringement cases'', except to describe the manner they go about investigating claims as this almost genteel process. Then, as if to make the whole thing smell even more benevolent, he adds that funds gained by blackmailing and intimidating farmers go towards agricultural education and scholarships. Nice.

The letter response is well worth reading, just to get a sense of the time and energy that this company puts into manipulating its image. And the interview is a must-see.

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