Welcome to the party. Get ready for your readers to be told you must have been bought off by Monsanto or Pfizer. While USRTK will claim its own funding has no impact at all on their content.
How USRTK navigates being on The A-Team of the anti-vax movement while maintaining a veneer of credibility for outlets like the New York Times and Guardian could be taught as a master class at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for decades to come. But since that journalism department is stuffed with allies of USRTK it won't be. Key allies in important places are part of how they maintain their facade.
US Right To Know told Bredderman “We don’t work on the issue of vaccines” and yet anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. frequently touts them, they tout him, and they were even on his podcast talking about how Science Is A Corporate Conspiracy.
What Bredderman does not know is what everyone in science does; Organic Consumers Association, which does deny vaccines, is not just their chief funder, they helped create US Right To Know to be a persistent denier of science after their failed 2012 organic food initiative (Proposition 37) in California.
That proposition - any food organic industry lobbyists and trade reps did not list as "natural" would have needed a warning label - was funded by nearly all the same people that fund US Right To Know. It was exactly the kind of collusion their chief propagandist, Gary Ruskin, conspiratorially claims about the science community.
Given the short amount of time he has been watching their machinations, Bredderman does not know how connected they are to trial lawyers hoping to sue over products they demonize. USRTK's Carey Gillam, for example, a discredited former journalist let go for being unwilling to address concerns by editors at Reuters about her lack of objectivity, collaborated with attorney Timothy Litzenburg, who was convicted of extortion after he told chemical company Nouryon they should give him a $200 million "consulting" agreement or they'd get the guns turned on them, presumably the way Monsanto was targeted. Which led the science community to wonder if by 'guns' he meant US Right To Know op-eds by Gillam. She certainly endorsed him over and over.
If Bredderman had been watching them, and been targeted by them, for years he would wonder about the strange affection US Right To Know has for state-run Russian media outlets, which promote anti-GMO narratives to make its organic food claims financially viable. The frequent promotion of Russian articles and by Russian groups certainly looked odd to the pro-science community because the money issue became so obvious that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence during the Obama administration, warned that Russia was using offshore "donor advised" funds to send money to US groups opposed to farming and energy, Russia's top-two exports.
It is impossible to know how deep the connections are, we only know Ruskin and colleagues routinely take to Twitter to endorse claims against American science by Sputnik and Russia Today, but the shout-outs were so common that people on Twitter made it graphical.
I am not saying Ruskin has directly taken money from Russia, only he knows that, but he has been operating in the ethical shadows for a long time so it is entirely possible that he has gotten money from an offshore donor-advised fund that everyone can pretend is anonymous - much like Center for Media Democracy, publisher of Sourcewatch, an anti-science "wiki" where US Right To Know contributors also create hit pieces against scientists, can claim it does not know where a $500,000 donation may have derived. That is "dark money" by the definition of all these groups, yet when they receive it, it is simply an anonymous donation.
Which makes it completely hypocritical. As is their claim to care about all Americans when they really only care about the people buying the products that the corporations donating to them sell. Magic soap, alternatives to medicine, and organic food. They only care about the demographic that straddles all three.
None of this is really new to scientists and nonprofits targeted by Ruskin and his political allies at UC San Francisco, NYU, and a few other schools, and it's never been funny, because their war on science is really a war on poor brown and black people in other countries. It's a bad look for a group that represents the whitest and richest of rich white elites - the organic food industry.
It's instead tragic that activist die-hards who claim to care about America actually despise science, the one thing that promotes the equality and equity they claim to care more about than everyone else.
What is hilarious is that Gary Ruskin deflects questions about whether his funding sources has any connection at all to the output of his organization. That's right, a conspiracy theorist whose stock-in-trade is claiming that anyone who was ever at an event where Monsanto paid for the coffee station must be banned from ever appearing on an International Agency for Research on Cancer working group now has to tell news outlets that no donation he ever got has impacted the work of his group.
Something he claims is impossible for any and every pro-science nonprofit.
Yet I think he will pull it off. Given his track record of success in navigating the dark web of the anti-science movement for decades, I predict US Right To Know will be just fine.
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