Michael Fumento

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Michael Fumento is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. and a close friend and co-worker with TASSC's Steven J Milloy on spreading Philip Morris's "junk-science" claims.

Fumento graduated in 1985 from the University of Illinois College of Law. "He has been a legal writer for the Washington Times, editorial writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and was the first "National Issues" reporter for Investors' Business Daily. Mr. Fumento was the 1994 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., a fellow with Consumer Alert in Washington, D.C., and a science correspondent for Reason magazine," according to a biographical note in a report he co-edited. "Fumento has lectured on science and health issues throughout the nation and the world, including Great Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Hong Kong, China, and South America," the profile continues. [1]

Tobacco issues

Fumento no longer works for the Hudson Institute. He is a graduate of the partly tobacco-funded National Journalism Center (NJC),[2][3] although he graduated in 1985 [4] and the tobacco connection dates back only to 1993. [5] According to a 1993 Five year plan written by Thomas J. Borelli of Philip Morris Corporate Scientific Affairs department, PM "Support[s] the efforts of...the National Journalism Center to conduct policy forums and issue papers on junk science and health care reform."[6] He has been a vocal critic of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 1993 Risk Assessment on secondhand smoke.[7] In a July 7, 1996 article in the Rocky Mountain News, Fumento disputed whether the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, stating "The FDA is using the addiction issue as an excuse to gain the power to regulate tobacco." though he added, "personally I like some of" the proposed regulations.[8] Elsewhere, in distinguishing between active and passive smoking he has written that active smoking is "a terrible killer" [9] and "Smoking – real smoking – is both vile and deadly." [10]

According the National Journalism Center's profile of him, Fumento attended an NJC course in the fall of 1985 and has subsequently been "National Issues reporter, Investor's Business Daily, legal writer, Washington Times, editorial writer, Rocky Mountain News (CO), U.S. correspondent, A3 Umwelt (Austria)." Fumento has also held a number of positions at conservative think tanks, including being a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a science advisor to the Atlantic Legal Institute.

1995 Jun 13 Peggy Carter at RJ Reynolds is writing to the top misinformation team in the company, Tom Griscom, Chuck Blixt and Dan Donahue about her observations at a recent Manhattan Institute seminar on "Junk Science and the Law".

Walter Olson and Peter Huber at the Manhattan Institute were both in the pay of Philip Morris and promoting their junk-science propaganda.

She comments on some in attendance:

  • Michael Fumento: Mike authored the Investor's Business Daily piece on the EPA's ETS risk assessment that we've been sending out for some time. He told me that piece generated more reaction than anything he's ever done. He's clearly keeping his distance from the industry to preserve his neutral position. Matt Swetonic advises on the QT that work is in progress to nationally syndicate Mike as a science columnist.
  • Steve Milloy: Milloy included in his remarks a recap of the problems with the EPA's ETS risk assessment, and told me privately that we're really getting "screwed" on this issue. He asked me if I knew CRS was working on an evaluation of the EPA's assessment; seems he and Steve Redhead (the CRS official who contacted us) are good friends. He characterized Redhead as an "anti." Dr. Redhead told Milloy last week that their report was going to require "significant rewrite."
    In response to my question about why, he indicated Redhead felt the only issue was in homes with high exposures over long periods of time. He clearly did not want to be more precise, and apparently felt that was clue enough. Perhaps Chris Coggins can tea-leaf read if - that means CRS was convinced to reevaluate their position on high exposures.
C. Stephen Redhead was a physiologist who worked for the Congressional Research Center who became embroiled in controversy over the Gravelle CRS report which attacked the EPA's anti-tobacco stance (she was actually an Economics Policy analyst). [12] Redhead had already, reported on Mortality and Economic Costs Attributable to Smoking and Alcohol Abuse in April 1993. [13]

Pro-GMO (Which It Pays To Be)

"Scripps Howard News Service announced Jan. 13 that it's severing its business relationship with columnist Michael Fumento, who's also a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute," reported BusinessWeek in 2006. "The move comes after inquiries from BusinessWeek Online about payments Fumento received from agribusiness giant Monsanto -- a frequent subject of praise in Fumento's opinion columns and a book." Scripps Howard general manager Peter Copeland said Fumento "did not tell SHNS editors, and therefore we did not tell our readers, that in 1999 Hudson received a $60,000 grant from Monsanto." The grant was for Fumento's book BioEvolution published by Encounter Books. [14]

Fumento called himself "extremely pro-biotech" and said that, as he was soliciting financial support from "everybody" for his then-unwritten book BioEvolution, he told Monsanto, "The biotech industry is going to look really good, and you should contribute." Fumento said his recent columns, including a January 5, 2006 piece praising new Monsanto products, were not "quid pro quo." He added, "I think there's a statue of limitations on that." [15]

Fumento insists that there was nothing ethically wrong with his failure to disclose Monsanto's contribution to his book. "I acted completely ethically, and within a month or two nobody will doubt that," Fumento wrote in an e-mail to Businessweek.


In a December 1998 article published in the Idaho Statesman, Fumento complained of "environmentalists' never-ending campaign against pesticides." His ire had been provoked by a Natural Resources Defense Council report titled, "Trouble on the Farm: Growing up with Pesticides in Agricultural Communities." He referred to NRDC as "a group of suit-wearing city slickers who rarely get closer to a farm than watching 'Green Acres' reruns." [16]

Fumento claimed, "Ultimately the NRDC does not want safe use of pesticides; it wants no use." He warned that, if NRDC were to have its way, Americans would be "forced to eat expensive, ugly, shriveled-looking organic produce and foreign competitors will have our farmers foreclosing at rates not seen since the dust bowl days." [17]

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.


Books Fumento has authored include: [18]

  • BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World
  • Science Under Siege
  • The Fat of The Land
  • Polluted Science
  • The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS
  • BioHype a critique of Fumento's Bioevolution from American Scientist Online

Contact Information

Michael Fumento
Hudson Institute
1015 15th Street NW (the Examiner Building (Washington DC), home to numerous conservative organizations)
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202-974-2406
Website: http://fumento.com
Email: fumento AT pobox.com

SourceWatch Resources

External links


  1. Advisory Board, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, accessed September 19, 2008.

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