In recent years, millions of Americans have begun passing on genetically modified foods in favor of more natural options. Now, researchers are claiming Russia is behind the shift.
The Des Moines Register was first to report on the research out of Iowa State University, declaring:
Politics isn’t the only issue where Russia seeks to sway U.S. opinion.
The former communist country is trying to influence American’s attitudes about genetically engineered crops and biotechnology, according to new Iowa State University research.
Russia is funding articles shared online that question the safety of GMOs in an effort hurt U.S. agriculture interests and bolster its position as the “ecologically clean alternative” to genetically engineered food, said Shawn Dorius, an ISU assistant sociology professor.
The ISU researchers, already looking at how U.S. media portrayed genetic engineering and biotechnology, decided to include GMO news articles published on the U.S. versions of RT and Sputnik, news sites funded by the Russian government.
They found RT and Sputnik produced more articles containing the word “GMO” than five other news organizations combined: Huffington Post, Fox News, CNN, Breitbart News and MSNBC.
RT accounted for 34 percent of GMO-related articles among the seven sites; Sputnik articles made up 19 percent.
The researchers also found RT and Sputnik used “GMO click bait” embedded in articles that most people would consider “negative or distasteful” to create an intentional negative reaction.
For example, the researchers pointed to an RT article titled, “Complex abortion debate emerges over Zika virus-infected fetuses” that included a link to another article, titled “GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak, critics say.”
“RT and Sputnik overwhelmingly portrayed genetic modification in a negative light,” the researchers wrote. “Among U.S. news organizations, the left-leaning Huffington Post produced the most ‘anti’ articles, followed by CNN. Fox News produced the most neutral or mixed coverage of GMOs.
“Nearly all articles in which the term GMO appeared as ‘click bait’ were published by RT,” the researchers said.
It is, of course, worth noting that dozens of countries throughout the world have banned GMOs over the health and environmental concerns associated with the corporate owned crops.
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