- By Beau Hodai and Lisa Graves
Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal how the global chemical company's PR team investigated the press and spent millions to spin news coverage and public perceptions in the face of growing concerns about potential health risks from the widely used weed-killer "atrazine."
This story is part of a new series about this PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer's potential to act as an endocrine disruptor, over the past decade or so.
Dealing with Meddlesome Reporters
Two years ago, on March 2, 2010, Huffington Post Investigative Fund (HuffPo) reporter Danielle Ivory contacted Syngenta Corporation Director of Corporate Communications-North America Paul Minehart and asked, as reporters do, a few questions.
Little did she know her questions to Syngenta—which reported sales of over $11 billion that year, almost half of which, $5 billion, was profit—would provoke the creation of a secret dossier on her.