Monsanto and Conde Nast Planning a Web Series, and There’s an Icky Tom Colicchio Connection (Updated)
If you’re a charity, you can be a part of the propaganda!
Gawker obtained an email from a Conde Nast “business representative” sent to big-name charities, offering them the opportunity to get on board with a web series on a custom Youtube channel, sponsored by Monsanto. (And hosted by Mo Rocca, someone who completely stumped us until we Googled him. Don’t hate us, NPR-loving nerds.)*
It’s already a pretty juicy story (we’re having all the John Oliver feels about journalistic integrity), but one tidbit is making us really, really question things. From Gawker, the email:
I’m writing on behalf of the Strategic Alliances group within Conde Nast Media Group. We are currently producing an exciting video series being promoted on our brand websites ( i.e: Self, Epicurious, Bon Appetite, GQ & Details) and living on a custom YouTube channel. The topics center around food, food chains and sustainability, and there is great interest to have Lori Silverbush as part of the panel.
Oh, and the Lori Silverbush behind the documentary A Place At The Table?
We can speculate all we want, but something is bizarre. Is Silverbush actually on board with such a Monsanto-series? Or is Conde Nast and the PR pros just really, really hoping that such a credible lady will get behind the propaganda? (More importantly, are they dumb?)
WHAT IS HAPPENING WE CAN’T EVEN.
Never mind that this tentatively-named “A Seat at the Table” (WHICH IS ODDLY SIMILAR TO A PLACE AT THE TABLE OMG) will cover nutrition (“Fortifying Foods for a Modern World”), sustainability (“Making More From Less”), hunger (“Feeding the Global Appetite), and our favorite, distribution (“Redefining the road from Farm to Fork”).
We get that the wave of Big Food buzz is starting to come around on the positive side, as evidenced Linton Hopkin’s essay in favor of Big Food in Esquire’s blog. We get that major food corporations are figuring out the weakest of the flock to target with great publicity: mommy bloggers. But for GOD’S SAKE, leave Lori Silverbush and Tom Colicchio out of this. Please let this all be one big nightmare that we just haven’t woken up from yet.
*Update: Mo Rocca now says he is not involved with the project. Let’s hope for more good news that the “interest” for Silverbush is just, uh, excitement on the PR people’s part.*
**Update: Colicchio clarifies for us all:
@marcyafranklin Lori declined the Monsanto "opportunity" when it was first offered, for reasons you can imagine. Thanks for calling them out
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) August 6, 2014