16 July 2002
MONSANTO'S PR FIRM STILL DIGGING
In his letter below to New Scientist, Gary Bivings claims that media reports about his company's involvement in Monsanto's dirty tricks campaign are not just down to "unfounded allegations... being spread by anti-biotechnology activists" but to "media sources" getting it wrong.
Talk again to Todd Zeigler, your head of online PR, Gary. Todd told Newsnight *on the record* that one of the e-mails in question was sent by someone "working for Bivings" or "clients using our services". This admission was included in their report on the Mexican maize scandal broadcast on BBC2 on 7th June 2002 (programme transcript: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/deceit11.html). We have checked with Newsnight. They say there is absolutely no question about the admission having been made.
In addition, anyone can check for themselves the veracity of Bivings'
denials at the following url:
Here you will find a message posted by 'Mary Murphy' on June 9, 2000 from her usual hotmail address but with the additional identifying details from the poster's headers: (bw6.bivwood.com). bivwood.com is a domain owned by The Bivings Group, formerly known as Bivings Woodell Inc - the company co-founded by Gary Bivings.
The Maize Feud
Letters, The New Scientist, 6 July 2002
from Gary Bivings, Bivings Group PR company, Washington DC
Fred Pearce's article repeats unfounded allegations about the Bivings Group currently being spread by anti-biotechnology activists (15 June, p 14).
The article repeats the charge that Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek are online personas used by The Bivings Group to combat a study on Mexican maize that originally appeared in Nature.
This is completely false. Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek are not employees or contractors or aliases of employees or contractors of The Bivings Group. In fact, The Bivings Group has no knowledge of either Mary Murphy or Andura Smetacek.
The article claims The Bivings Group admitted that "one of the emails" written by one of the aforementioned online personas "came from a Bivings' employee or client".
The Bivings Group has never made any statements to this effect. In making this claim, your article relies on other media sources that got this wrong.
judge for yourself:
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