Stephan Neidenbach

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Stephan Neidenbach

Stephan Neidenbach is employed as a teacher and tweets, writes and comments on articles about GMO technology, glyphosate, and Monsanto. Neidenbach tweets as @welovegv and is known for regularly harassing NYU professor Nassim Taleb.[1] Neidenbach claims to have no ties to industry but contributes to the corporate front group Genetic Literacy Project. Neidenbach is often promoted on the website of the American Council on Science and Health.[2]

Bloomberg and The Progressive have reported that Monsanto has a social media strategy called “Let Nothing Go”—a program in which individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry rapidly respond to negative social media posts regarding Monsanto, GMOs, and agrichemicals. Part of this strategy includes funneling money to the Genetic Literacy Project.[3][4]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."[5]

In 2015, NYU professor Nassim Taleb wrote a paper about the possible dangers of GMO technology, and a campaign was launched to have him removed from the faculty.[6] During this same time, Neidenbach began posting pictures that compared Taleb to Adolf Hitler. Neidenbach later tweeted, "We have some computer people Ketchum hired to help us out."[7] Ketchum is an international PR company that runs the social media program GMO Answers.

Neidenbach on Lyme Disease

Neidenbach also considers himself an expert on Lyme Disease. In February of 2018, Maryland State senators were critical[8]of Neidenbach's testimony against HB880 and SB073, two bills meant to require insurance coverage for extended Lyme disease treatment. During testimony, he describes his Facebook page, We Love GMOs and Vaccines as a ‘grassroots organization.’ His testimony consisted of reading a portion of a book by Paul Offit. Neidenbach was one of four individuals testifying against the bill, two of whom were with the insurance industry, and stated they were not in agreement with part of his assessment of Lyme disease patients.[9] [10]Neidenbach has been a long time antagonist of the Lyme patient community. [11]

Neidenbach Trolling on GMOs, Monsanto, and Pesticides

While denying any ties to Monsanto or the biotech industry, Neidenbach maintains a constant presence in the comments sections of news stories that discuss Monsanto, GMOs, and pesticides. Neidenbach is often accompanied in news comment sections by Mary Mangan. A selection of his trolling:

  • In July 2017, the editor of Toronto's "The Bulletin" wrote an article about Monsanto’s army of online bullies, noting, "There are hundreds, possibly thousands of them, paid to bully, shame and endlessly argue with anyone posting a comment deriding GMOs or pesticides." In the comment section of the story, Stephan Neidenbach wrote, "Jeffrey Smith is a known cult leader with the Maharishi. He has an ideological reason for attacking GMOs. Something to do with invincibility and thought bubbles."[12]
  • In 2016, The Tufts Daily wrote an article about Professor Sheldon Krimsky, whose research covers ethics in science. The story reported that Krimsky had a "long career in studying the intrusion of corporate money into research and academia." In the comment section, Neidenbach wrote, "Krimsky is lying. He knows very well that not all GE crops are patented, while countless conventional crops are . . . The man is an ideologue who even fought against insulin."[13]
  • In July 2017, Berkely Professor Alastair Iles wrote that Stephan Neidenbach had sent a open records act request for his emails and the emails of other professors who wrote a letter of concern about a documentary called Food Evolution that promotes GMOs in a scientifically uninformed fashion. Alastair explained that after Neidenbach received the emails, he "wrote a letter on the Medium website that claims the letter of concern was written at the behest of the organic food industry, without disclosing this connection, and is based on false information (i.e. we did not see the film). Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Neidenbach chose to quote very selectively from the email messages that he was able to extract. He and his colleagues are also circulating images of the extracts on Twitter." In the comment section of the blog, Neidenbach wrote, "Every possible argument you make against GMOs also apply to artificial selection and mutagenesis."[14]
  • In November 2017, Undark Magazine carried an op-ed that discussed internal Monsanto documents that revealed their campaign to suppress science on the dangers of glyphosate. In the comment section, Neidenbach wrote, "Illogical conclusions based on little evidence. Many basic facts about science are just wrong."[15]
  • In December 2017, Ensia carried an article that discussed how glyphosate is ending up in our food, thanks to the growing practice of using it to dry crops in preparation for harvest. In the comments section, Neidenbach wrote, "Did you consider reaching out to a single credible scientist on this issue?"[16]

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. GM Watch, "We love GMOs and vendetta" December 6, 2015. https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/16581
  2. Alex Berezow, American Council on Science and Health, "Stop The Cyberbullying Of Scientists", March 15, 2018, https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/03/15/stop-cyberbullying-scientists-12704
  3. 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
  4. Paul Thacker, The Progressive, July 21, 2017 http://progressive.org/magazine/how-the-biotech-industry-cultivates-positive-media/
  5. 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
  6. GM Watch, "We love GMOs and vendetta" December 6, 2015. https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/16581
  7. GM Watch, "We love GMOs and vendetta" December 6, 2015. https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/16581
  8. "We love GMOs and Vaccines”, Facebook, February 28, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180526182144/https://www.facebook.com/welovegv/posts/2035601313376580
  9. GAM-Committee Audio and Video 42 minutes, Maryland.gov, February 28, 2018. https://medium.com/the-method/my-testimony-against-marylands-bill-to-force-insurance-companies-to-pay-for-quackery-d36a3ae13362
  10. ”My Testimony against Maryland’s bill to force insurance companies to pay for quackery”, Medium, February 28, 2018. https://medium.com/the-method/my-testimony-against-marylands-bill-to-force-insurance-companies-to-pay-for-quackery-d36a3ae13362
  11. Sick of it All, Censorship or Consequences, August 2016. http://endocriminal.blogspot.com/2016/08/censorship-or-consequences.html
  12. Bulletin Editor, The Bulletin, Monsanto’s army of online bullies, July 12, 2017 https://thebulletin.ca/monsanto-bullies/
  13. Jake Taber, The Tufts Daily, March 17, 2016, https://tuftsdaily.com/features/2016/03/17/138009/
  14. Alastair Iles, Berkeley Blog, No evolution in thinking in ‘Food Evolution’ July 17, 2017, http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2017/07/17/no-evolution-in-thinking-in-food-evolution/
  15. Carey Gillam, Undark Magazine, "Corporate-Spun Science Should Not Be Guiding Policy", November 28, 2017, https://undark.org/article/corporate-science-monsanto-policy/
  16. Ben Hewitt, Ensia, "WHY FARMERS ARE USING GLYPHOSATE TO KILL THEIR CROPS — AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN FOR YOU", December 19, 2017, https://ensia.com/features/glyphosate-drying/