GM Watch admits joke

The April Fools joke that fooled an OpEd “News” contributor last week, has admittedly been started by GM Watch.

And in case anyone’s still in the slightest doubt, the Times article by “Mark Handerson” (GM may be on the agenda at the G20 summit) that GMWatch circulated on the morning of April 1, and also posted onto its website, was also an April Fool.
Although the bogus article was authored by us, some others joined in the joke by posting the piece on their websites too, while others presumably took it at face value.

They also noticed my post:

Someone even went to the trouble of checking with the GM-adoring science correspondent of the Times, Mark Henderson (sic) that he hadn’t written our piece.

Yeah, well, my first thought was that it could have been a joke started by Henderson – why not hear it from the horse’s mouth? Although I didn’t guess ‘out loud’ in my post that GM Watch authored it, they were the prime suspect. They were evidently pleased with the attention they were getting. But honestly, was it that funny? I thought that Lendman being fooled by the bogus article was 10 times funnier than the article itself.
Tragically, his article remains unaltered. Except on his personal blog, of course. Edited without note – down the memory hole it goes!

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Written by Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Riverside and works on Citrus genetics.

5 comments

  1. Wow. That is funny. I had no idea so much stuff was just made up! If you follow the links, there’s even stuff about a libel case that ended up in the High Court in London and which was covered in the press – “Greenpeace wins damages over professor’s ‘unfounded’ allegations” – which arose out of a posting by an entirely fictional character on the AgBioView list.

  2. Sigh. I’m sure it will become another internet-zombie-myth in the chain.
    Trying to fool a credulous group is not hard. But maybe that was their goal?

  3. Fooling the credulous certainly seems to have been Monsanto’s goal. They deployed fake people and even a fictional agricultural center to try and corral their supporters via the net. The case that ended up in the High Court is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all here.
    http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit_index.html

  4. Hi Jemma, thanks for the link, it will be particularly useful when I write about the stuff related to Ignacio Chapela. I actually interviewed him four years ago after he appeared in The Future of Food, and I’ve read a lot about his situation. In particular, how he did not confirm the more controversial findings of his paper, which is what led to the retraction. Neither of his findings have ever been reproduced. (Specifically – the introgression of transgenes into mexican landraces, and the breakup of those transgenes and their spread throughout the genome)
    I knew a little about the ugliness at Berkeley that he was involved in, but not the full extent. It just seems odd that a faculty member would hook up with people throwing pies over the Novartis deal – the New Scientist article was particularly interesting.

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