Foreign Press Association USA
Monday February 21st, 2021
Lessons From Carey Gillam & Robert Bilott's Battles to Expose Monsanto & DuPont
How did investigative journalist Carey Gillam expose the health risks of Monsanto’s glyphosate and attorney Robert Bilott, DuPont’s pollution of waterways with PFAS forever chemicals? By a persistent focus on exposing the facts that both companies went great lengths to hide.
In the latest Zoom briefing for the FPA, Gillam and Bilott share how they wrestled with the companies that are now ordered expected to pay billions in costs and damages, the efforts that were made to discredit them, the failures of the Environmental Protection Agency and lessons for journalists.
Interviewed by Foreign Press Association President and award-winning journalist Ian Williams, the Zoom discussion is a must watch for journalists, journalism students, whistle blowers and environmentalists. It is also a warning to corporate leaders of the consequences of reckless attitudes to public health on brands and bottom lines.
Where there may be a lot of grey, hard facts are essential for telling the story, which in these cases involved many years of persistent reporting and investigating. In both the Monsanto and DuPont cases the companies’ internal memos shows they discussed and knew the risks, but covered them up.
Journalists must seek out independent scientific perspectives and not rely on research paid for or supported by corporations which try to dominate the agenda.
The companies went to great lengths to discredit and bully Gillam and Bilott. They engaged PR experts and other organizations campaigns and tried hard to woo and even buy journalists and media organizations.
Despite media coverage, books and even a Hollywood documentary about Bilott’s pursuit of DuPont (Dark Waters), both of them confess surprise at the lack of public attention to these cases despite the millions of Americans at risk from these chemicals.
Gillam shares the importance of journalists doing what they are supposed to do: not to reprint press releases, but to standup and ask the tough questions. She also highlights the challenge for media organizations of not becoming beholden to corporate interests.
As Ian William’s shares in the webinar, when the former FPA President, David Michaels turned down expelled Executive Director Thanos Dimadis’ efforts to give Bayer AG influence over our organization and engage in a secret discussion to compensate himself, Dimadis left, sabotaged the FPA, took membership lists and engaged in an effort to defame the FPA,
(see Gillam’s Guardian article), setting up a Potemkin organization with funding from the pharmaceutical and chemical giant.
Robert Bilott - Exposure
Carey Gillam: The Monsanto Papers