In the past, you may have seen various 'we detected X in urine' papers written by suspect names like homeopathy believer Phil Landrigan and endorsed by organic industry apologists like Chuck Benbrook.

What do such claims even mean? In science, nothing. We can detect anything in anything in the last 20 years, but lawyer-created groups like Heartland Health Research Alliance Ltd are ready to help the litigators who fund them sue "at the drop of a rat" so any detection in humans - bonus points if they can claim pregnant women - of any chemical that can kill a mouse at 10,000 times a real-world dose is going to get a teary press release sent to the New York Times.

How do they get away with it exploiting journalists when scientists see through it immediately? In the past, I have written about the well-established methodology they use; they first recruit a prominent allied scholar to be the lead author of a paper whose results are known in advance. Then they recruit others to write papers citing the first while the first is in editorial at a journal. Once papers cite the original journal article, even if it is in some pay-to-publish predatory outlet, a press release goes out claiming "emerging evidence."

Thank you, environmental activists, for accidentally leaving your conspiracy effort exposed on the Internet long enough for it to be screen-captured.

If journalists want to regain the public trust that cratered in the last decade, they need to stop writing stories designed to boost their political beliefs against science, and start looking critically at claims as they would if scientists outside a few northeast universities made them. Heartland Health Research Alliance refuses to disclose its conflicts of interests, it lies about its supposed endorsements from other institutions (when it may only be one crank inside the building who likes them) and it refuses to disclose how it gets its funding.

Energy and food have long been two key Russian exports so it was no surprise when the Obama administration announced the Russians were funneling money through offshore donor-advised funds that happened to make its way into the coffers of American groups that happened to oppose the scientific consensus on energy and food.

At the time, we wondered why supposed consumer advocates like Sourcewatch were not outraged at such dark money funding but then we found an anonymous $500,000 donation from, you guessed it, an offshore donor-advised fund. It's almost like left-wing anti-science activists are colluding with trial lawyers, IARC epidemiologists, and foreign powers to undermine American scientists.

That is dismissed as conspiracy stuff - unless they want to pretend corporations are doing it.