Jon Entine

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Jon Entine
Entine photo.jpg
Born (1952-04-30) April 30, 1952 (age 62)
Nationality  United States
Occupation author, TV News producer, business & sustainability consultant

Jon Entine is an American author and science journalist. Entine is a senior research fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication at George Mason University[1] and founder and executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, which is a biotechnology and genetics outreach organization affiliated with Sense About Science-United States.[2] He is also a senior fellow at the World Food Center’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at the University of California, Davis.[3]

After spending twenty years as a network news writer and producer for NBC News and ABC News, Entine moved into scholarly research and print journalism. Entine has written seven books and is a contributing columnist to multiple newspapers and magazines around the world, including in Forbes,[4] Ethical Corporation,[5] The Wall Street Journal,[6] Slate,[7] Science 2.0,[8] and The Huffington Post.[9] He is also a regular guest commentator on radio and television news programs, including CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Fox Business and Al Jazeera.


Entine was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 1952 and later relocated with his family to the suburb of Cheltenham. He graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1974 with a B.A. in philosophy. Entine co-directed the presidential primary campaign for Senator George McGovern in Sullivan County in New Hampshire in 1972. After graduation, he became the assistant director for the re-election campaign of Father Robert Drinan, a liberal Democratic Congressman from suburban Boston. He currently lives in Cincinnati.

Television journalism[edit]

Entine began his journalism career in high school, when he worked as a weekend copyboy for the CBS owned-and-operated TV station then known as WCAU. During his freshman year of college, he edited and produced the 11 p.m. news for the local NBC affiliate in West Hartford/New Britain. After the 1974 Congressional campaign, in January 1975, Entine was hired as a writer by the ABC News program AM America, which was renamed Good Morning America the following year. Entine worked for ABC News as a writer, assignment desk editor, and producer in New York City and Chicago from 1975-1983 for various ABC News programs, including the ABC Evening News, 20/20 and Nightline. He took a leave of absence from ABC News in 1981-1982 to study at the University of Michigan under a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in journalism.

Entine joined NBC News in New York in 1984 as a special segment producer for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, where he worked until 1990. He became Brokaw’s long-time producer. In 1989, Entine and Brokaw collaborated to write and produce Black Athletes: Fact and Fiction, named Best International Sports Film of 1989. Entine was later named the executive in charge of documentaries at NBC News (1989–1990). He rejoined ABC News in 1991 as an investigative producer for Primetime (TV series). In 1993 Entine produced a story with reporter Sam Donaldson on eye surgery clinics that led to a lawsuit against them and Primetime alleging trespass and defamation due to the use of "test patients". The case was mostly dismissed in January 1995 and a defamation suit was dismissed in 2000.[10][11] He produced a prime time special on the Miss America Pageant, "Miss America: Beyond the Crown" for NBC Entertainment in 1994 before transitioning to book writing and print journalism.

The Body Shop controversy[edit]

Entine wrote the September 1994 investigative article, "Shattered Image: Is The Body Shop Too Good to Be True?",[12] in Business Ethics magazine, created an international brouhaha and led to hundreds of stories in the international media, including articles in The New York Times and a report on ABC World News Tonight. The Body Shop, the British-based international cosmetics company, which until that point had been considered a model "socially responsible" company, tried to block the story from being published:[13] The flurry of news stories spurred by the company's attempt to quash the article and its eventual publication led to a temporary 50% drop in the market value of the stock of The Body Shop.

Entine reported that Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, in 1976, had stolen the name, store design, marketing concept and most product line ideas from a different cosmetic chain with the same name, The Body Shop, founded in 1970 in San Francisco by two California women, and subsequently fabricated her story of traveling around the world discovering exotic beauty ingredients. (In 1989, Roddick purchased the U.S. and Israeli rights to The Body Shop name from the original Body Shop founders, and the San Francisco based chain of five stores renamed itself Body Time). He reported that Roddick's "natural" products contained extensive amounts of artificial colorings, scents and preservatives. In contrast to statements by Roddick, unverified reports in popular articles, and even some university case studies claiming that Roddick and The Body Shop "gave most of its profits to charity," documents from Britain's Charity Commission showed that the company gave nothing to charity over its first 11 years and was penurious in its philanthropy thereafter. The Body Shop also faced millions of dollars in claims by disenchanted franchisees, who believed they had been enticed to buy franchises by misrepresenting its potential revenue.

The article in Business Ethics (now defunct), which was cited with a National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in 1994, is widely used in university business ethics classes and is generally credited with prompting companies claiming to be socially responsible to match their claims with operational practices and to increase transparency.

"Shattered Image" had originally been scheduled to be published as a 10,000 word feature in Vanity Fair earlier in 1994 but was dropped after legal threats by The Body Shop, which threatened to litigate under British libel law, which requires proof of innocence by defendants rather than proof of guilt by the prosecution. The original article was eventually published in 2004 by The Nation Books in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print, edited by David Wallis. Business Ethics, which had featured Roddick on its cover just the year before, printed a much shorter version of the exposé commissioned for Vanity Fair. "Shattered Image" and subsequent writings by Entine on the emerging "socially responsible" business movement challenged the belief that companies that promote themselves as socially conscious necessarily operate with a higher degree of ethics or social responsibility than conventional companies. Entine's writing focused on what he called "reality rather than rhetoric" of ethical business. He is often credited for coining the term "green washing",[14] which refers to the deceptive marketing exploits of self-professed "green" companies.


Entine is the founding director of the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP), which operates as part of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Sense About Science-United States, and is an affiliate of STATS and the Center for Risk & Health Communication at George Mason University. GLP focuses on the intersection of media, policy and genetics, both human and agricultural. Entine himself is not a geneticist, and has a BA degree in philosophy and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in journalism.

Entine has written three books on genetics and two on chemicals. Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution addresses the controversy over genetic modification in agriculture.[15] His first book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It was inspired by the documentary on black athletes written with Brokaw in 1989.[16] It was favorably reviewed by The New York Times[17] and numerous other publications, there were some critical reviews, claiming that the subject was inappropriate as it could encourage a racialist view of human relations.[18]

In 2007, Abraham's Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People was published, which examined the shared ancestry of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and addressed the question "Who is a Jew?" as seen through the prism of DNA. Kirkus Reviews called the book an epic tale of 'The Chosen People'...Engaging and informative reading for Jews and non-Jews alike. According to Library Journal, [Jon Entine's] explorations take him from his own Jewish family members' cancer diagnoses to genetic labs—both academic and commercial—across the world, with lengthy forays into Jewish history, the history of Israel and Zionism, and the split between social anthropology and biological anthropology. Harry Ostrer in Nature Genetics called it a broad, well-documented sweep of Jewish history that will inform even the most knowledgeable of readers".[19]

Entine is a public speaker on genetics and identity for the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Federations of North America.[20]

Think tank affiliations[edit]

Entine joined the World Food Center's Institute for Agricultural and Food Literacy (IFL) in September 2014 as a senior fellow. He is also senior research fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication at George Mason University where he has served since 2011.[1] and GMU's STATS (Statistical Assessment Service),[21] as senior fellow and executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, which focuses on the nexus of genetics—human and agricultural—with the media and public policy. Entine joined the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research as an adjunct scholar in 2002, and is now a visiting scholar. His research focuses on science and society and corporate sustainability. AEI Press has published three books written and edited by Entine: Crop Chemophobia: Will Precaution Kill the Green Revolution? (February 2011), which analyzes the impact of chemicals in agriculture; Pension Fund Politics: The Dangers of Socially Responsible Investing (2005) on the growing influence of social investing in pension funds and Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics Is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture (January 2006), which examined the debate over genetic modification (GMOs), food, and farming. He has also contributed to numerous academic books on a variety of subjects, including sports, genetics, leadership, and sustainability.

Personal life[edit]

Entine has won 19 journalism awards, including Emmys for specials on the reform movements in China and the Soviet Union and a National Press Club award in Consumer Journalism.

Entine has faced criticism for his alleged links to various corporate interests, though he denied this accusation. Entine said he is "an Obama Democrat".[22]


  • Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, 2000, ISBN 1-58648-026-X
  • Pension Fund Politics: The Dangers of Socially Responsible Investing, 2005, ISBN 0-8447-4218-X
  • Scared to Death: How Chemophobia Threatens Public Health, 2011, ISBN 978-0-578-07561-7
  • Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution, 2006, ISBN 0-8447-4200-7
  • Abraham's Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People, 2008, ISBN 0-446-58063-5
  • No Crime But Prejudice: Fischer Homes, the Immigration Fiasco, and Extrajudicial Prosecution, 2009, ISBN 978-0-692-00282-7
  • Crop Chemophobia: Will Precaution Kill the Green Revolution? 2011, ISBN 978-0-8447-4361-5


  1. ^ a b "Founding CHRC Faculty Scholars". The Center for Health and Risk Communication. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  2. ^ About: Mission Statement, Genetic Literacy Project website, November 2014.
  3. ^ Jon Entine testimony to the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, September 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Contributor Jon Entine". Forbes. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Jon Entine - articles". Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Jon Entine columnist], Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2014.
  7. ^ Authors: Jon Entine, Slate Magazine, November 2014,
  8. ^ Author profile: Jon Entine, Science 2.0, November 2014.
  9. ^ Jon Entine, Huffington Post, November 2014.
  10. ^ Russomanno, Joseph (2002). "J.H. Desnick, M.D. Eye Services, Ltd., et al. vs American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., Jon Entine, and Sam Donaldson". Speaking our minds: Conversations with the people behind landmark First Amendment cases. Psychology Press. pp. 134–69. 
  11. ^ "Libel suit against ABC’s ‘PrimeTime Live’ dismissed". The News Media & The Law. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Winter 2001. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Body Shop File: Beyond "Shattered Image"". Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Dixon, Cyril (28 August 1994). "Besieged Body Shop comes out fighting". The Independent (London). Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  14. ^ SustainAble: A Handbook of Materials and Applications for Graphic Designers and Their Clients
  15. ^ "Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics Is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture". Goodreads. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Nobody Does It Better: A journalist looks at the sensitive issue of how black athletes came to rule American sports, by Jim Holt], New York Times, April 16, 2000.
  17. ^ Bernstein, Richard (14 January 2000). "Books of the Times: The race to the swift. Or is it the swift to the race?". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Breaking the taboo on race and sports". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Ostrer, H (2008). "A genetic view of Jewish history. Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People By Jon Entine. Grand Central Publishing, 2007. 432 pp., hardcover, $27.99 ISBN 978-0-446-58063-2". Nature Genetics 40 (2): 127. doi:10.1038/ng0208-127. 
  20. ^ "Jon Entine". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "STATS - Staff". George Mason University. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  22. ^ Philpott, Tom. "The Making of an Agribusiness Apologist". MotherJones. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 

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