Keith Kloor

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Keith Kloor is a blogger and freelance writer. He is best known as an advocate for genetically modified organisms (GMO) and biotechnology.[1]

Controversies

Contrarian Reporting on Climate and Conflicts with Dr. Joseph Romm

In 2009, Dr. Joseph Romm wrote that Kloor had "spread false charges" against him.[2]

Romm is a physicist who was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2008, for "distinguished service toward a sustainable energy future and for persuasive discourse on why citizens, corporations, and governments should adopt sustainable technologies."[3] Romm is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he founded their blog, Climate Progress."[4]

Kloor had repeatedly attacked Romm in multiple venues including Nature magazine's online site.[5] As one commenter noted, "There’s almost not a week that goes by in which you don’t have something derisive to say about Joe Romm, often times in concert with Roger Pielke Jr. Nature later ran a correction of Kloor's article. [6] (Pielke has attacked in writing noted climate change scientists like NASA's James Hansen.)[7] Kloor later called an analysis of Romm by the Breakthrough Institute, where Roger Pielke Jr is a fellow, a "Fisking of Romm"[8]

When Roger Pielke Jr was criticized for his contrarian views on climate change while writing for 538, Kloor wrote that the "torch-bearing mob that went after him after he published his first piece at Nate Silver’s new site was despicable."[9] After Roger Pielke Jr was later let go by 538, Kloor provided Pielke Jr with a venue to vent his disapproval. [10]

Kloor also wrote a complimentary profile of climate change contrarian Bjorn Lomborg, claiming that Lomborg was "right and his old enemies are being won over." [11] Seven months later, Lomborg was exposed for taking millions in hidden money to promote his contrarian viewpoints.[12]

Issue Raised over Writing about GMOs

Kloor's connection to a pro-GMO group has been raised by Dave Murphy, the Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! (FDN). FDN describes itself as "a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming food, agriculture and environmental policy and access to healthy food."

In September 2015, Murphy wrote to Science, the magazine of the AAAS, and Nature magazine about Kloor's writing regarding the non-profit group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) for filing public records requests about the communications of corporations or front groups with agriculture professors who opposed the California proposition that would have required labeling of GMO foods.[13] That proposal was defeated in 2012 after a multi-million dollar ad campaign underwritten by industry.[14]

Kloor's story described the background of USRTK's president, Gary Ruskin, in pushing for GMO labeling, and quoted some of the professors who had received the requests expressing concerns. One of the quotes featured was from the University of Florida's Kevin Folta, whom Kloor quoted as claiming he would be smeared for having innocent communications with companies: "They will show I have 200 e-mails from big ag companies. While it is former students … or chitchat about someone’s kids, it won’t matter. They’ll report, ‘Kevin Folta had 200 emails with Monsanto and Syngenta,’ as a way to smear me.”[15]

However, when public records responsive to USRTK's request for communications by Folta were released, they revealed more than emails about the kids of his corporate friends. As Kloor noted in a follow-up blog for Nature, the university released more than 4,000 pages of Folta's communications with industry, and "The documents show that Monsanto paid for Folta's travel to speak to US students, farmers, politicians and the media. Other industry contacts occasionally sent him suggested responses to common questions about GM organisms. 'Nobody ever told me what to say,' says Folta."[16] Kloor also quoted Bruce Chassy, a toxicologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who argued that the public records requests would reveal "“people trying to defend the science against malicious attacks."[17] Months later, The New York Times revealed that Bruce Chassy was a consultant for Monsanto [18] and Chicago Public Radio found that Chassy had been hiding consulting payments from Monsanto by routing them through the university's foundation.[19]

In his letter to the editor of the online magazines, Murphy pointed out the Kloor gave a speech in 2015 at an Alliance for Science (AFS) meeting at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Murphy asked both magazines to inquire whether Kloor had received any honorarium or travel expenses for the speech titled "How Cultural Brokers Shape the GMO Debate."[20] AFS is funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has worked closely with the Monsanto Corporation to push GMO crops and oppose restrictions on GMOs, including most recently working together to urge Kenya to overturn its ban on GMO cotton.[21]

Murphy noted that AFS was petitioning against USRTK's requests to professors at public universities. Murphy's letters are uploaded and available here: [1] (Science pdf) and [2] (Nature pdf). There appear to be no public responses to those letters.

Kloor was invited to attend a June 2015 conference on GMOs sponsored by the University of Florida, Academic Review and the Genetic Literacy Project. See agenda..

Background

Kloor is an adjunct professor at New York University.[22] In 2016, he is scheduled to teach "Journalistic Inquiry," a freshman level class focused on "basic journalistic forms, issues and responsibilities."[23] He is listed as having previously taught that class, as well as a senior-level class in 2011.[24]

He is also listed as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism.[25]

From 2008 to 2009, Kloor was a fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado,[26] where he studied climate changes in the ancient Southwestern U.S.--[27]after leaving Audubon magazine, where he had been an editor from 2000 until 2008.

Kloor has a master's degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree from CUNY Empire State College.


  1. , PolluterWatch, accessed Jan. 2016, http://polluterwatch.org/keith-kloor "Keith Kloor"
  2. Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Nov. 1, 2009, accessed Jan. 2016, http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/11/01/204856/keith-kloor-trash-journalist/
  3. New Frontier website, accessed Jan. 2016, https://frontierfinancials.com/about-us/our-advisors/about-dr-joseph-romm/
  4. Center for American Progress webiste, accessed Jan. 2016, https://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/romm-joseph/bio/
  5. Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Nov. 1, 2009, accessed Jan. 2016, http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/11/01/204856/keith-kloor-trash-journalist/
  6. Nature magazine blog, Oct. 21, 2009, accessed Jan. 2016, http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2009/10/countdown_to_copenhagen_2.html
  7. Dylan Otto Krider, ""Is Roger Pielke, Jr. Zelig?", Skepticism Examiner, March 1, 2008.
  8. Keith Kloor, Colide-a-Scape, March 3, 2010, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2010/03/03/fisking-romm/#.VqWAiLyYelI
  9. Keith Kloor, A Climate Mob, Collide-a-Scape, April 3, 2014. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/04/03/climate-mob/#.VqWBd7yYelI
  10. Keith Kloor, Roger Pielke Jr. on FiveThirtyEight and his Climate Critics, Collide-a-Scape, July 28, 2014 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/07/28/roger-pielke-jr-fivethirtyeight-climate-critics/#.VqWC37yYelI
  11. Keith Kloor, Bjørn Lomborg: The resilient environmentalist, Cosmos, 21 OCT 2013, https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth-sciences/bjørn-lomborg-resilient-environmentalist
  12. Graham Readfearn, "The Millions Behind Bjorn Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center US Think Tank," DesMog Blog, June 24, 2014. http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/06/25/millions-behind-bjorn-lomborg-copenhagen-consensus-center
  13. Keith Kloor, ScienceMag, Feb. 11, 2015, accessed Jan. 2016, http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/02/agricultural-researchers-rattled-demands-documents-group-opposed-gm
  14. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch.org, Nov. 7, 2012, http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/11/11844/direct-democracy-results-ballot-propositions-across-country
  15. Keith Kloor, ScienceMag, Feb. 11, 2015, accessed Jan. 2016, http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/02/agricultural-researchers-rattled-demands-documents-group-opposed-gm
  16. Keith Kloor, Nature, Aug. 6, 2015, accessed Jan. 2016, http://www.nature.com/news/gm-crop-opponents-expand-probe-into-ties-between-scientists-and-industry-1.18146
  17. Keith Kloor, Nature, Aug. 6, 2015, accessed Jan. 2016, http://www.nature.com/news/gm-crop-opponents-expand-probe-into-ties-between-scientists-and-industry-1.18146
  18. Eric Lipton, New York Times, accessed Feb 2017, https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2303693-bruce-chassyuofillinoisdocs.html#document/p14/a237566
  19. Monica Eng, Chicago Public Radio, accessed Feb 2017, https://will.illinois.edu/news/story/why-didnt-an-illinois-professor-have-to-disclose-gmo-funding
  20. Cornell Alliance for Science website, Apr. 8, 2015, accessed Jan. 2016, http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/keith-kloor-how-cultural-brokers-shape-gmo-debate
  21. GMWatch website, Jan. 6, 2016, accessed Jan. 2016, http://www.gmwatch.eu/2016-articles/16631-monsanto-us-and-gates-foundation-pressure-kenya-to-reverse-gmo-ban
  22. New York University website, accessed Jan. 2016, http://journalism.nyu.edu/about-us/profile/keith-kloor/
  23. New York University website, accessed Jan. 2016, http://journalism.nyu.edu/about-us/course/2010-spring/journalistic-inquiry-3/
  24. Myedu website, accessed Jan. 2016, https://www.myedu.com/NYU/Kloor/professor/3574788/
  25. CUNY website, accessed Jan. 2016, http://www.journalism.cuny.edu/cunyj_profiles/kloor-keith-adjunct-faculty-urban-environmental-reporting/
  26. University of Colorado website, accessed Jan. 2016, http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2008/05/21/cu-boulder-center-environmental-journalism-names-2008-09-scripps-fellows
  27. https://www.audubon.org/magazine/march-april-2008/a-lost-civilization-may-shed-light-coping