Russian Sites Promote Anti-GMO Articles, Study Finds

RT and Sputnik publish stories about GMOs more often than US outlets, and typically portray them in a negative light.

By Jim Daley | February 28, 2018


Russian government-funded news websites RT and Sputnik are publishing articles that question the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at a rate that far outpaces US news sites, according to a preprint posted to SocArXiv Tuesday (February 27). The study is under peer review.

While examining how GMOs are portrayed in US media, the researchers found that the US versions of RT and Sputnik produced more articles with the word “GMO” than five American websites—Huffington Post, Fox News, CNN, Breitbart News, and MSNBC—combined. RT produced 34 percent of the articles about GMOs across the seven sites, and Sputnik produced 19 percent. Fox News accounted for 15 percent of coverage, and MSNBC for less than 1 percent.

“Compared to a wide range of American news media, two Russian news agencies—RT and Sputnik—were more likely to report on GMOs and to cast GMOs in an explicitly or implicitly negative light,” study coauthor Shawn Dorius, a sociologist at Iowa State University, tells Gizmodo. “The evidence suggest[s] that the difference between Russian news concerning GMOs and US news on the same topic is not random.”

The vast majority of articles in which the term “GMO” appeared as clickbait were published by RT, the researchers found. For example, one RT article was titled “GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak, critics say.”

Dorius tells the Des Moines Register that turning US public opinion against GMOs “would have a clear negative effect on an industry in the U.S. and could advantage Russia.”

“Stirring the anti-GMO pot would serve a great many of Russia’s political, economic and military objectives,” Dorius adds. “The idea in an asymmetrical war, you look at where you’re weak and your opponent is strong, and you’re really trying to undermine their strength. . . . This is an area where U.S. science is strong worldwide—especially so, relative to Russia.”

Ninety-four percent of American soybean crops are genetically modified, as are 81 percent of US corn crops, according to a 2017 US Department of Agriculture report. A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that less than half of the US population—39 percent—consider GMO foods to be less healthy than other foods.

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Avatar of: dumbdumb


Posts: 99

March 1, 2018

Someone could argue that both RT and Sputnik are not in the pocket of powerful US GMO lobbies.

You should leave political propaganda articles to websites such as breitbart, infowars or foxnews


PS: I support purposeful GMOs, not necessarily commercialy-driven GMOs

Avatar of: NatureAlley


Posts: 10

March 1, 2018

I agree with dumbdumb, stop politicising science.

I oppose commercialised GMO fr two reasons, (1) because we do not need it if we are only willing to work and limit population growth. And (2) with all the rationalisation we can never foresee what the long term effects will be on Nature. Hands off.

Arguments such as "we need to feed the world" are nonsense. The more we feed the more humans, the more problems. Humanity has tried to extract itself from Nature, but that will prove to be impossible.


Avatar of: Already


Posts: 6

March 1, 2018

Certainly the entire issue about GMO's in the food supply has morphed out of rationality.  If it wasn't for genetically modified foods, such as soybeans and corn, human starvation, poverty and suffering would be a global issue rather than local to a number of countries which are on the edge of famine and disease. We probaby are only seeing the beginning. Even areas such as global warming are severely impaced by the issue of the amount of energy and carbon necessary to produce foods. No till agriculture, utilizing GMO crops which are resistant to pesticides are central to reduced energy necessary for production of the global food supply. No till agriculture makes it possibly to raise crops with dramatic reduction in time, effort and energy production, since plowing, discing, harrowing, and cultivating are no longer necessary, but rather seeding and then utilizing GMO pesticide resistant crops in the crop cycle with spraying to eliminate weeds which compete with crops for water and soil nutrients make it possible to increase food supplies with much smaller fuel expenditure. Mechanization of agriculture, followed by the "Green revolution" and then GMO crops are at the basis of our current civilization and high standard of living in advanced societies.   There are some countries such as Russia which want to "sow discord" rather than compete in a competitive economy.  The educational system is failiing in teaching Science and Education if such negative propaganda is able to distort perception of the value of GMO crops and modern agricultural methods which enable a higher standard of living in advanced societies and prevent mass starvation.

Avatar of: Alexandru


Posts: 94

March 7, 2018

The man Putin has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3.22) because “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions” Solomon, Proverbs 8.12).

Since my comment is in total agreement with the criticisms made of GMOs by the "the Queen of the South”' = Russia (my interpretation of paragraph Matthew 12.42), a tilt or a bending to the best Management Book in the world, the Bible, now appears on the horizon as necessary, because “you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge” (Daniel 12.4).

Do not think that Russian politicians would sponsor various actions of control of science, though it shouldn't be based on new scientific discoveries ... relating to the reverse reaction of human actions that do not comply with God project.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (3 Kings 19.11.12)

The issue of GMOs which have been made by humans and their negative implications in God's creation were laid down so the great religions and people of art, of which I bring to the attention of scientists that "every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15.13-14).

There are several articles on this site to forecast human takeover of Creation, a necessity in the eyes of some, of which there are some that I did comments:

I thank you "The Scientist" that exists and that allows us, as ordinary researchers, to bring our own opinions.

Avatar of: Dodurgali


Posts: 3

March 13, 2018

I agree with other comentators that politics and religion, especially religion, must be kept out of the Scientist.

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