Rebecca Goldin

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Rebecca Goldin was the director of research at both Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) and the Genetic Literacy Project and Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences at George Mason University, who is now affliated with Sense About Science USA.[1] She joined STATS in September 2004.[2] In a review of a book written by STATS authors, Salon noted that it was filled with "disingenuous maneuvers”. The review added, "It’s clear that while the authors are good at looking up articles in Lexis-Nexis, they aren’t playing straight with their readers . . . Their analyses and conclusions inevitably stack up in favor of the view that there are few environmental problems that less government spending won’t fix and that social dilemmas like racial discrimination are figments of overactive imagination. A fair review of the state of science journalism is always welcome, but this cleverly disguised example of corporate propaganda isn’t it."[3] In the New York Review of Books, Michael Massing wrote "the Center for Media and Public Affairs was set up with conservative foundation money in the mid-1980s as part of a growing effort by the right to portray the American press as liberal and out of touch with mainstream America."[4]

Reporters with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Statistical Assessment Service was a stealth defender of the chemical industry that did not disclose funders and was associated with Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) which had contracted with tobacco companies.[5] The Genetic Literacy Project has been noted for its attacks on reporters and for hosting conferences secretly funded by industry to promote GMO agriculture and the safety of glyphosate.[6]

In an investigation of Sense About Science USA, Liza Gross with The Intercept wrote, "Sense About Science does not always disclose when its sources on controversial matters are scientists with ties to the industries under examination."[7] Gross continued, "And the group is known to take positions that buck scientific consensus or dismiss emerging evidence of harm. When journalists rightly ask who sponsors research into the risks of, say, asbestos, or synthetic chemicals, they’d be well advised to question the evidence Sense About Science presents in these debates as well."[8]

Work for the Statistical Assessment Service

Goldin edited The Statistical Assessment Service webpage devoted to undermining the science linking sodas with obesity while attacking the benefits of taxing soda.[9] Research from UCLA has found a direct link between soda and obesity.[10] NPR has reported that the World Health Organization urged countries to tax sodas. Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO's Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, says that "consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes." Blecher stated, "If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives. They can also cut healthcare costs and increase revenues to invest in health services."[11] Researchers at UCLA later confirmed the importance of a soda tax, writing, "Educating people to drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages only works to a point. After that, taxation on an unhealthy product — along with putting those taxes toward public health programs — would help far more.”[12]

Writing for the Statistical Assessment Service Goldin critiqued a story by ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein on opoids. The story also appeared in the Washington Post.[13] Goldin wrote, “the non-profit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica decided to lambast prescription opioid use and administration with a shocking but misleading statistic. ‘The news about narcotic painkillers is increasingly dire,’ said ProPublica. ‘Overdoses now kill nearly 15,000 people a year — more than heroin and cocaine combined.’” Goldin also criticized CDC’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden for stating that America is “awash” in opioids.[14] Multiple media outlets later reported how payments to drug makers helped to fuel the opioid crisis.[15][16] Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, later announced it would stop marketing opioids to doctors.[17]

Research Director for the Genetic Literacy Project

At an archived page of the Genetic Literacy Project[18] and on several pages where she contributed, Goldin is cited as the Research Director for the Genetic Literacy Project and Director of Research for the Statistical Assessment Service.[19][20]

The Genetic Literacy Project is operated by Jon Entine to promote GMOs. Bloomberg and The Progressive have reported that lawyers suing Monsanto state in court documents that companies funnel money to the Genetic Literacy Project in order to "shame scientists and highlight information helpful to Monsanto and other chemical producers.” [21][22] In a report that examined corporate attacks on science, Congress found that to discredit the World Health Organization (WHO), Monsanto "turned to industry trade groups, such as CropLife and industry front groups, such as Genetic Literacy Project and Academics Review as platforms of support for industry spokespersons."[23]

Other Information

An August 2008 biographical note stated that "this fall, I am involved with running on a conference on Menopause and the Media, joint with the Hormone Foundation".[1]

Dr. Goldin was the 2007 recipient of the American Women in Mathematics (AWM) Michler award in 2007 for outstanding young women mathematicians.[24] In August of 2008 she delivered the Falconer Lecture, the keynote address, at AWM’s annual conference in Madison Wisconsin. In 2008 Dr. Goldin was elected to the Council of the American Mathematical Society and serves on it Science and Policy Committee.[1]

Articles and resources

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space & Technology: "Spinning Science & Silencing Scientists: A Case Study in How the Chemical Industry Attempts to Influence Science"[25]

Desmog Blog, page on Statistical Assessment Service[26]

Trevor Butterworth and Sense About Science Spin Science for Industry[27]

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rebecca Goldin "Rebecca Goldin", George Mason University, August 29, 2008.
  2. Statistical Assessment Service, "Staff", Statistical Assessment Service website, accessed August 2008.
  3. David Appell, Salon, “It Ain’t Necessarily So” by David Murray, et al. JUL 2, 2001 https://web.archive.org/web/20170313025504/http://www.salon.com:80/2001/07/02/murray_4
  4. Michael Massing, "[http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2006/02/09/the-enemy-within-an-exchange/ ‘The Enemy Within’: An Exchange ]," The New York Review of Books, February 9, 2006.
  5. Meg Kissinger and Susanne Rust, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 22, 2009 http://archive.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/54195297.html/
  6. Paul Thacker, The Progressive, July 21, 2017 http://progressive.org/magazine/how-the-biotech-industry-cultivates-positive-media/
  7. Liza Gross, SEEDING DOUBT How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industry, The Intercept, November 15, 2016 https://theintercept.com/2016/11/15/how-self-appointed-guardians-of-sound-science-tip-the-scales-toward-industry/
  8. Liza Gross, SEEDING DOUBT How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industry, The Intercept, November 15, 2016 https://theintercept.com/2016/11/15/how-self-appointed-guardians-of-sound-science-tip-the-scales-toward-industry/
  9. STATS website, accessed through WayBack Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20130823072940/http://www.stats.org/sodaindex.html
  10. University of California, Bubbling over: New research shows direct link between soda and obesity, September 17, 2009 http://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/newsroom/press-releases/pages/details.aspx?NewsID=30
  11. Allison Aubrey, Tax Soda To Fight Obesity, WHO Urges Nations Around The Globe, October 11, 2016 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/10/11/497525337/tax-soda-to-fight-obesity-who-urges-nations-around-the-globe
  12. Ryan Hatoum, Do soda taxes help curb obesity?, UCLA, October 26, 2016 https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/do-soda-taxes-help-curb-obesity
  13. Rebecca Goldin, STATS accessed by WayBack Machine, ProPublica fumbles painkiller story; Seattle Times scores touchdown, January 31, 2012 https://web.archive.org/web/20140702203653/http://www.stats.org/stories/2012/attack_painkillers_misusing_statistics_jan31_12.html
  14. Rebecca Goldin, STATS accessed by WayBack Machine, ProPublica fumbles painkiller story; Seattle Times scores touchdown, January 31, 2012 https://web.archive.org/web/20140702203653/http://www.stats.org/stories/2012/attack_painkillers_misusing_statistics_jan31_12.html
  15. Maggie Fox, NBC News, Many Doctors Get Goodies from Opioid Makers August 10, 2017 https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/many-doctors-get-goodies-opioid-makers-n791281
  16. Katie Zezima, The Washington Post, Study: Doctors received more than $46 million from drug companies marketing opioids August 9, 2017 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/09/study-doctors-received-more-than-46-million-from-drug-companies-marketing-opioids/?utm_term=.761726761906
  17. German Lopez, Vox, The maker of OxyContin will finally stop marketing the addictive opioid to doctors February 12, 2018 https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/2/12/16998122/opioid-crisis-oxycontin-purdue-advertising
  18. Genetic Literacy Project, Team and Advisors, accessed through Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/web/20120903084332/http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/our-team/
  19. Rebecca Goldin, Genetic Literacy Project, Bacterial genetics helps defeat antibiotic-resistant "super-bugs" February 4, 2013 https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/02/04/bacterial-genetics-helps-defeat-antibiotic-resistant-super-bugs-2-2/
  20. Rebecca Goldin, Genetic Literacy Project, Privacy and our genes: Is deCode’s DNA project ‘Big Brother’ or the gateway to a healthier future?, June 24, 2013 https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/06/24/privacy-and-our-genes-is-decodes-dna-project-big-brother-or-the-gateway-to-a-healthier-future/
  21. Peter Waldman, Bloomberg Businessweek, Does the World’s Top Weed Killer Cause Cancer? Trump’s EPA Will Decide, July 13, 2017 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-07-13/does-the-world-s-top-weed-killer-cause-cancer-trump-s-epa-will-decide
  22. Paul Thacker, The Progressive, July 21, 2017 http://progressive.org/magazine/how-the-biotech-industry-cultivates-positive-media/
  23. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space & Technology: "Spinning Science & Silencing Scientists: A Case Study in How the Chemical Industry Attempts to Influence Science" February 2018 https://democrats-science.house.gov/sites/democrats.science.house.gov/files/documents/02.06.18%20-%20Spinning%20Science%20and%20Silencing%20Scientists_0.pdf
  24. "Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize of the AWM", Association for Women in Mathematics website, accessed August 2008.
  25. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space & Technology: "Spinning Science & Silencing Scientists: A Case Study in How the Chemical Industry Attempts to Influence Science" February 2018 https://democrats-science.house.gov/sites/democrats.science.house.gov/files/documents/02.06.18%20-%20Spinning%20Science%20and%20Silencing%20Scientists_0.pdf
  26. Desmog Blog, Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), Accessed March 2018 https://www.desmogblog.com/statistical-assessment-service
  27. US Right to Know, Page on Trevor Butterworth, Accessed March 2018 https://usrtk.org/food-for-thought/trevor-butterworth-spins-science-for-industry/

External resources

External articles