On Monday, the Yes on 37 campaign called on opponents to Proposition 37 to clarify whether they share the extreme and dubious scientific views of their spokesman, Dr. Henry I. Miller, on the subject of labeling GMO's. (Updated)
Miller is a researcher at the right-wing Hoover Institute and is featured as the spokesperson in TV ads currently blanketing California, for the "No on 37" campaign. These TV ads have appeared countless times on television, to millions of Californians, with Miller arguing that Proposition 37 is "illogical".
Miller is a founding member of a now-defunct tobacco front group who attempted to discredit the links between cigarettes and cancer. He has repeatedly called for the reintroduction of the toxic pesticide DDT. He fronted for an oil industry-funded climate change denial group. He even claimed that people exposed to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant “may have benefited from it.” Now he is heading up the "No on 37" advertising campaign with yet more dubious claims.
On Monday, the "Yes on 37" campaign sent letters to to "No on 37" spokesperson, Kathy Fairbanks and other public spokespeople involved in the anti-labeling campaign, asking them to clarify if they stand behind Miller's very dubious scientific beliefs and claims.
Gary Ruskin, campaign manage of California Right to Know, says, “Time and again, Henry Miller has been the mouthpiece of corporate elites trying to deceive the public about issues of health and science.”
“If the No on 37 campaign shares his extreme views, it shows how far outside the mainstream their campaign really is. If they don’t, they should explain why they want Californians to trust someone whom they don’t trust either.”
Ruskin said in the letter, which can be read here, that Miller has a “highly controversial record on issues of science and public policy.“
On top of Miller's rather dubious scientific claims, and as reported in the Los Angeles Times, an ad aired by the "No on 37" campaign featured Miller, misrepresenting both his occupation and Stanford University. Stanford University objected to the ad and it was taken down, but only after millions of Californians had viewed it.
Over the weekend, the San Jose Mercury News analyzed the redone version of the offending ad, and still found it to be partially misleading.
The controversy over Miller's dubious claims are not the only problem with the $35 million "No on 37" campaign. Recently the Sacramento Bee fact-checked the campaigns statewide radio ad and concluded it was misleading.
Recently, as reported on Digital Journal, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sent out a press release stating that they were misrepresented by the No on 37 campaign in the official California Voter’s Guide that was sent to 11 million voters. “We are concerned that California voters are being misled..." said Academy President Ethan Bergman. "Voters need accurate information in order to make an informed choice."
Background on "No on 37" Science Spokesperson, Henry I. Miller.
To give an idea of the history of Miller's various and many dubious scientific claims:
- Miller was a founding member of The Advance of Sound Science Coalition, a Phillip Morris backed front group that tried to discredit the links between tobacco products, heart disease and cancer.
- Henry I. Miller was referred to as a "key supporter" in a 1994 PR memo, recommending strategy to help Phillip Morris organize a worldwide effort to fight tobacco regulations.
- Miller wrote in 2012, “nicotine … is not particularly bad for you in the amounts delivered by cigarettes or smokeless products.”
- DDT, a toxic pesticide, was banned in the United States in 1972, as it had been linked to pre-term birth and fertility impairment in women.
However, Miller has repeatedly argued for the re-introduction of DDT.
Fukushima and Radiation:
After the Japanese tsunami and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred, Miller argued that “those … who were exposed to low levels of radiation could have actually benefited from it.”
Climate Change Denial and Big Oil and Gas:Miller sits on the “scientific advisory board” of the George C. Marshall Institute, which is famous for its oil and gas industry funded denials of climate change.
Ca Right to Know
As if the above is not enough, Miller has argued that the FDA should outsource more of its functions to private industries, and has publicly attacked the FDA for its efforts to ensure proper vetting and testing of new drugs.
October 16, 2012 - Update:
The "No on 37" campaign has, for a third time, been caught misrepresenting Stanford University in their handouts. A large brochure being circulated by the campaign clearly shows Stanford University buildings, as well as the false claim that Miller represents the university:
Henry Miller, spokesperson for No on 37, misrepresenting Stanford University for the third time.