Posted by @TakeThatGMOs:
Note: The contents of this post were written originally by the kind folks at Fit Strategy on Facebook. They post solid science-based advice on fitness as well as a healthy dose of skepticism. Their post is hosted here with permission.
By now everybody has heard about Kevin Folta and the recent news about him. A lot are frustrated at the anti-GMOs community due to their exaggerations and lies and many people are very confused and/or unaware of the degree of hypocrisy and lies presented by USRTK and the anti-GMOs activist community. They are nothing but a bunch of unscientific, fear and woo mongering, liars. The amount of hypocrisy and fraud involved in this case is unbelievable, and to demonstrate that, Fit Strategy made an excellent post by the full meaning of the word. Here is their post:
The Truth About Kevin Folta. Definitely read to the end where we expose USRTK.
After the frivolous waste of taxpayer money that was the FOIA request of Kevin Folta’s and other scientists’ email accounts, the big buzz was a $25,000 donation from Monsanto. There’s been a lot of spin, so let’s get things straight.
The initial narrative was that Kevin Folta was a paid shill. This didn’t last long seeing as how the money wasn’t actually given to Folta and he didn’t pocket any of it. Folta organizes a communication seminar that teaches scientists and teachers how to better communicate about hot-topic science issues like biotech. Some topics he presents include presentation structure, overcoming anxiety, non-verbal communication, and understanding your audience. Controversial stuff, I know. Of course he presents the current scientific consensus too, but so do thousands and thousands of other scientists. The money was used to pay for travel, food, and other expenses on 12 different talks [and a student conference, as mentioned by Folta]. That’s a measly $2,083.33 per talk, covering things like roundtrip airfare, hotels, taxis, etc.
All of the accounting is transparent and available upon request. How can we trust it? It comes from the University of Florida fiscal office. This takes care of the 2nd narrative that followed the shill accusation: that Kevin Folta lied about never receiving money from Monsanto. Folta has repeatedly said that he has never been paid by Monsanto nor has his research been funded by them. And all of that’s true. Monsanto donated $25k to the University of Florida, which was earmarked to cover expenses for these 12 talks. Folta was never personally given that money and never took any kind of compensation. So no, he didn’t lie. And it’s worth noting that the communication program has had numerous donors, not just Monsanto.
If you’re still inclined to believe that Kevin Folta is some kind Monsanto hack, let’s examine the people who wasted your tax dollars raiding public scientists’ email accounts. The US Right to Know organization filed the request, but first let’s look at their biggest donor…the Organic Consumer’s Association. OCA doesn’t reveal their donors (how transparent of them), but some public disclosures find major funding from Eden Organic, Nutiva, and Dr. Bronner’s. All of these are major organic businesses with a financial interest in convincing the public that biotech is evil. And for spreading that message, Ronald Cummins the CEO of OCA got paid $99,590 in 2013. That’s just a little more than the $0 Folta got paid to give his talks.
Onto USRTK. In 2014 they raised $46,525. Their director, Gary Ruskin, was kind enough to pay himself about half of that in salary, $22,479.09. Again, a bit more than the $0 Folta was paid. Their listed accomplishments for 2014 were building their website, and a report on GMOs. The GMO “report” is a laughable 60 pages with plenty of big pictures, large headings, some charts, and foot notes. Yet somehow they claimed to the IRS it cost them $22,000. The report is standard propaganda claiming the usual non-sense, like GMOs aren’t actually regulated (they’re heavily regulated). This year, OCA has already given USRTK $114,500.
So the people behind the shill accusations are actually getting paid salaries by large organic businesses to spread a message that benefits *drum roll* large organic businesses. AND they wasted YOUR tax dollars doing it. Now they have the audacity to call a respected scientist a shill? Hey Gary and Ronald…how about you release all your funding information and emails? Come on, live up to your namesake–I thought we had a right to know? Nothing but a couple of cowards who are too stupid and morally bankrupt to contribute anything of real value to the world.
Kevin Folta: everyone who is capable of critical thought, and isn’t already drinking their kool-aide, is on your side. The hypocrisy is blindingly obvious. Please don’t lose any sleep.
None of the contents of the original post were edited in any way except for one inaccuracy pointed out by Kevin Folta which was highlited.