Cheaters never prosper, so we don’t cheat!

When you have science backing you, you don’t have to cheat (or lie).

Despite the fact that Biofortified is maintained by students and professors on a volunteer basis, and the fact that none of us are compensated by any company or organization for our blogging efforts, GM Watch has decided that we are “a blog run by some well known GM promoters”. I don’t know if using peer-reviewed evidence to make decisions about genetic engineering counts as promotion, but it’s nice to be well known!
Twitter screen shotGM Watch seems to be upset that Biofortified is currently ahead in the GMO: Risk or Rescue competition at Ashoka Changemakers. They claim that tweets to vote for us by industry caused our abrupt increase in votes, but that’s actually not the case at all.
A simple search on Twitter for “Biofortified” shows that my friend Mike tweeted about us 4 days ago. Then, the Council for Biotechnology Information and Mica from Monsanto tweeted about us 3 days ago, back when were were still behind in votes. It wasn’t until this morning when a truly well known blogger and scientist helped us out with a mention that our votes started to increase. Subsequent mentions by other well known skeptic and/or scientist personalities have kept our vote count going up all day!
Going by this evidence, one could argue that we are a scientist-backed blog, not an industry backed blog, which I think really says something about us. The fact that GM Watch lies rather than engaging in dialog really says something too.
Thanks to everyone who’s voted, and please continue to ask your friends and colleagues to support a science-based discussion of genetic engineering. They can find instructions on how to navigate Changemaker’s site right here on Biofortified.
Is anyone else bothered by the fact that our primary competition is actually industry connected but their supporters are making up industry connections for Biofortified? I guess it all depends on which industry you’re involved with (or supposedly involved with).

Written by Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia Bodnar is a science communicator and science policy expert with a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Anastasia has had various risk analysis roles in US government and military service. She serves as BFI's Director of Policy and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog.

7 comments

  1. I would have felt that if Monsanto (or any ag-bio company) wanted to cheat you guys into first place a far better option than using twitter (which according to your post didnt have much of an impact anyway) would be to utilize the internal company email and tell employees to go out and vote…. even a 10% response rate would put the result completely beyond the current voting.
    Darwin forbid that news of your entry into the competition should fall on ears which may be supportive of GMOs in general.

  2. GMWATCH have been caught lying on a number of occasions so i wouldn’t take them seriously….nobody else does either.
    I think GMWATCH should come clean on who is funding them??

  3. Ewan, good point! I hadn’t thought of that. Hmmm… Just kidding 🙂
    Dannt, I’ve seen their “creative treatment of the facts” before, but all of their lies don’t stop them from having 359 followers on Twitter and who knows how many people reading their site. I wish we could just ignore them, but they are dangerous like the anti-vaccine people.

  4. When I first saw GM Watch’s article, I immediately called up our opponent the Non-GMO project for support in asking GM Watch to refrain from making such baseless claims. I talked to Megan Westgate, the executive director, and she agreed and sent them a message. When I read her the part about GM Watch calling this a blog run by several well-known GM promoters, I laughed and said, I’m not well-known! She also laughed and said, “You are now!”
    The grant and Michael Pollan aside, if we win this contest, this puts Biofortified on the map! And on everyone’s radar…

  5. This is especially frustrating because this is nothing against Non-GMO Project. While I don’t agree with their motivations, I think they are providing a valuable option to consumers who prefer to avoid GMOs. I’ve said in previous blog posts that I favor voluntary labeling. This is just a competition, not a judgment. We would have just quietly won if they hadn’t made an entry!

  6. Actually, Jeffrey Smith’s entry got the #2 spot with almost 400 votes. They didn’t do their voting drive until Tuesday. It is conceivable that if it wasn’t for the Non-GMO Project passing us early on, we could have been complacent and allowed Smith’s Campaign to pass us un-noticed. We could have gotten the support of science bloggers on Wednesday in response, but what if some key individuals were too busy getting ready for Darwin 2009 in Chicago to be available to plug us? We could have quietly lost!
    Oh, you want to be added to ‘the list,’ Mike? Just send us your mailing address and a vial of blood (on ice – Big Biotech is very picky) and I’ll see to it that a fat check comes your way.
    Did anyone notice that when Jeffrey Smith’s entry started gaining “at an unprecedented rate” that GM Watch didn’t utter a tweet? The sheer rapidity and inventiveness of the claim still surprises me.

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