Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and way too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning feature editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize natural poisons found in the skin of certain tropical frogs. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a second masters in journalism from UC-Berkeley. In 2009, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for public service, as one of five writers in MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. The father of two mostly charming kids and an only occasionally charming striped cat named Phelps, Michael lives in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and raucous punk-rock drumming (and putting out more than a dozen CDs on his former DIY label, Bad Monkey Records), he has retired to old-time and traditional music, guitar finger-picking, and more recently fiddle and mandolin. He has four chickens—Lucia, Podge, Cat, and Weed Whacker—but what he really covets is a hedgehog.

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Are High-Fructose Corn Syrup Makers in Denial?

| Thu Nov. 1, 2012 4:31 PM EDT

Whoa! Did the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) seriously just put out a press release using our just-published exposé, "Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies," as a cudgel in its court battle royale with the sugar industry? Why yes, it did. And I quote:

In court documents filed yesterday, attorneys for the U.S. sugar industry tried to deny that The Sugar Association is deceiving consumers into believing that processed table sugar is safer and more healthful than high fructose corn syrup, even as several recent media stories revealed they are funding secretive campaigns to attack HFCS and other sweeteners.

In the newest issue of Mother Jones, the cover story "Sweet Little Lies" chronicles the sugar industry's decades-long use of paid-for allies to mislead the news media, public and regulators through front groups and questionable science. Just weeks ago, a Bloomberg investigative reporter revealed that The Sugar Association has recently paid $300,000 to the phony consumer group, Citizens for Health, to launch petitions and other sponsored activities to stir-up baseless consumer concerns about high fructose corn syrup.

Wow, okay then.

Watch: Gary Taubes Reveals the Sugar Industry's Secrets

| Wed Oct. 31, 2012 6:03 AM EDT

Mother Jones multimedia producer Brett Brownell and senior editor Michael Mechanic paid a visit to the home of science journalist and best-selling author Gary Taubes to talk about his new article "Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies." In the piece, Taubes and coauthor Cristen Kearns Couzens use a trove of internal documents to show how the sugar industry set out to counter scientific evidence suggesting that their product may play a role in deadly chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The documents also reveal how the industry influenced agencies such as the FDA and the USDA—whose advisory panels included industry-friendly scientists, and whose conclusions about the safety of sugar leaned heavily on industry-funded studies. Click on the screen prompts in the video to view key documents and read the piece, which is featured in our November/December print issue. (A quick footnote: One question in the video about sugar consumption references the USDA's speculative new figures, while the chart you'll see shows the older "availability" figures, hence the difference.)

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