The power of (mis)quotations

Quotations allow the reader to hear a story in the teller’s own words, with their true voice and passion. They are a window to the speaker’s soul.

And therein lies their power. When people read a quotation, they assume it is a faithful reporting of the speaker’s words.

Whenever we quote, edit or otherwise interpret what people tell us, we aim to be faithful to their meaning, so our stories ring true to those we interview.
NPR Ethics Handbook

But what if your goal is to portray a respected animal lover as a cold, animal-hating psychopath?

If you’re Richard Berman and his hired guns, you lie.

Time after time, Berman and his smear campaigns have twisted quotes from animal activists into something unrecognizable. Consider this interview on with Wayne Pacelle on Iowa Public Radio:

Whatever your motivation for having the animal, whatever the use, you’ve got a responsibility to provide lifetime care… But if you can’t provide care for the horses, then you euthanize the animal. You can euthanize them by bringing a veterinarian out, or you can even shoot an animal in the head. We’re not saying that animals have to live indefinitely, and you have to make heroic efforts to extend the life of every animal. We’re saying that creating a commercial incentive to slaughter horses, and then having people opportunistically or disreputably gather them up, funnel them into the horse slaughter pipeline, is really catching perfectly healthy horses into the slaughter pipeline.

USDA says 92% of the horses sent to slaughter are perfectly healthy animals. This is a commercial enterprise, and we wouldn’t do this to dogs and cats. Would we set up a plant outside of Des Moines or Cedar Rapids to kill the unwanted dogs and export the meat to some foreign country? No! We would be outraged, because we have values about these animals.

Now, if you’re a credible source, you provide enough of the quote to give the reader context. But if you are CCF’s HumaneWatch, you do this:

Wayne Pacelle’s vision for horses: “Shoot [a horse] in the head.”*
Iowa Public Radio, July 2013

When one Stop HumaneWatch reader posted Pacelle’s quote in its entirety to the HumaneWatch Facebook page, they were immediately blocked by the page moderator. Clearly, the intent was not to convey Pacelle’s words; it was to deliberately misrepresent what he said. And that’s a dishonest tactic they frequently rely on.

Deception and distortions of this kind are one of the primary weapons of Berman’s smear campaigns, but they only work when the readers are unfamiliar with Berman’s legacy of deceit. That’s why we’re unveiling a series of graphics exposing another unethical weapon in Berman’s arsenal of character assassination. Each graphic in the series will highlight a different deceptive scheme, perfect for reposting under a Berman op-ed, letter to the editor, or in response to a HumaneWatch supporter who may not understand the false nature of that smear campaign.

Please feel free to save these graphics to your hard drive, link to them directly on this site, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I do get annoyed when reporters take my comments out of context in order to suit their agenda.
— Richard Berman, The Food Channel, October 6, 2010

View and share previous weeks’ graphics from our Resources page.

Stopping Facebook Harassment

Several members of the Stop HumaneWatch group on Facebook have contacted us about notices they received, warning that their screen shots or other content have been removed for “copyright infringement”. Anti-activist terrorism is a common tactic of HumaneWatch members. When they can’t counter the facts, they resort to lies, harassment, and intimidation to protect their alleged right to abuse animals. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit there and take it. The screenshot above, taken from HumaneWatch, is one example of content that was falsely reported as copyright infringement. The comment on the screenshot pointed out that HumaneWatch has yet to confront any of the animal abusers and admitted animal killers frequenting its pages. That didn’t sit too well with the originator of the comment, who didn’t like her hypocrisy being exposed. She filed a false DMCA copyright infringement complaint through Facebook’s automated system in an attempt to suppress our free speech. That was a crime (perjury) as well as a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. According to the copy of the complaint forwarded by Facebook, she complained on the grounds that “A copywrited [sic] photograph that belongs to me is being used by an individual and a group without my permission… The photo in my avatar is copywrited [sic] and belongs to me. I did not give this group permission to use a screen shot of my photo.” Here are the facts. HumaneWatchers cannot claim copyright infringement on a comment or a profile picture that they have posted to Facebook, because they expressly gave you permission to repost it. That’s in the Facebook Terms of Service, Section 2.4:
When you publish content or information using the everyone setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
Got that? If they’ve posted it publicly on Facebook, they have granted you permission to reprint it, to share it anywhere on or off of Facebook, and to associate it with their name and profile picture. So, what do you do if someone has filed a fraudulent copyright complaint against you? Your first clue that something is wrong will probably come from the stern warning on Facebook telling you that your content has been removed, and warning you that if you continue to violate Facebook Terms of Service, you could be exiled from Facebook. They’ll require you to mark the checkbox acknowledging that you’ve read the warning. Being unfairly accused of wrongdoing is infuriating, and a little intimidating. That’s the intent of the harassment. But keep in mind that (a) you’re innocent, (b) it’s an automated system with no ability to make intelligent judgments, and (c) it ultimately means nothing, since you’re about to clear your name and turn the tables on your harasser. The warning will contain a link to Facebook’s DMCA Counter-Notice Form. Click that link. You’ll be asked to provide your contact information, and this may be provided to the person who filed the complaint. The address required is just a point of contact, so feel free to use a PO Box, maildrop, or other intermediary address if you’re not comfortable releasing that information. In the box asking why Facebook was wrong to remove the content, you can copy and paste the following:
The content is not an original work of authorship as defined by 17 U.S.C. Sec. 101 et seq., and is not subject to the DMCA. Furthermore, use of the content was expressly permitted by Facebook Terms of Service Sec. 2.4, which reads: “When you publish content or information using the everyone setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”
In a day or two, Facebook will contact you by email to confirm that you are filing a counterclaim. You may need to repeat that information in your reply, and you may need to remind Facebook of their own Terms of Service. Be patient, be polite. Once Facebook’s staff has gathered the information they need to determine that the claim was false, they will notify the harasser of your counterclaim, and will restore the content within 14 days. You can also repost the content before that time, since it has been cleared by Facebook and they have agreed to stop blocking it. Any false claims from the harasser may result in the closure of their account, so be sure to ask Facebook’s staff to pursue disciplinary action against the complainant. If this has happened before, include that information in your report. Filing false abuse reports is not just a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, it’s a crime. Stand up for your rights, and make those HumaneHaters eat their words!

ALERT: Stalker Targets Facebook Activists

I just think it's wrong, wrong, wrong to pretend to be something you're not. -- 'Gregory Davis'

Throughout 2010, an impostor has been using Facebook to gain the confidence of activists, journalists, authors, members of Congress, and prominent members of public interest groups.

Operating under the fictitious names “Gregory Davis”, “Preston G. Davis”, and “Gregoire525”, this individual has friended more than 300 people, gaining access to the personal information and status updates they have posted. Many of those individuals were maligned on websites run by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), an industry-funded astroturf group that specializes in vicious smear campaigns against public interest groups, vegans, environmentalists, animal welfare, and the charities associated with them.

HWI has obtained evidence that suggests CCF’s Director of Research, David Martosko, is using these false identities to spy on activists and public interest groups.

Given Martosko’s obsession with activists, erratic behavior, substance abuse, rumors of stalking, and the presence of his name on a 2007 concealed weapon report, his access to this sensitive information is extremely troubling.

Timeline of Events
Note: Many of the screenshots below were taken after “Gregory” had changed his Facebook identity to “Preston”. Facebook retains the content of the post, but displays the current name on the account. Therefore, you may see instances where people are talking to “Greg”, but the replies appear under “Preston’s” name. They are the same account, and the same person. Update Feb. 08, 2011: Almost immediately after this article was published, Gregory/Preston changed his name again. The account in question is here, and if it appears on your friends list, it should be blocked, and reported as a fake account.

Jan. 2001 The Yahoo! account gregoire525 is created. 5/25 is David Martosko’s birthdate. The corresponding email account is later used to register a Facebook account under the fictitious names “Gregory Davis” and “Preston G. Davis”.
Nov. 2001 CCF launches a website,, which publishes negative profiles of activists and activist groups. Foremost among its targets are SHAC, PETA, PCRM, and the HSUS.
Aug. 2002 Gregoire525 posts in the Pro-Animal-Rights forum on Yahoo. The subject line of the post reads “SHAC group moving in from England?”, and contains an article from the Financial Times titled “US is the export target for animal rights militants”.
Nov. 2004 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) files an IRS complaint challenging CCF’s tax-exempt status for, among other violations, engaging in prohibited electioneering against presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
Gregory/Preston later joins both CREW’s and Kucinich’s Facebook pages.
May 2005 CCF’s Director of Research, David Martosko, gives Senate testimony for a hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
He states: “The threat from domestic terrorism motivated by environmental and animal-rights ideologies is well documented, unambiguous, and growing… HSUS, PETA, and PETA’s quasi-medical affiliate, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), are troubling examples of animal-rights charities which have connections to their movement’s militant underbelly.”
Throughout his testimony, Martosko refers to SHAC, the subject of the 2005 post made by gregoire525.
Sep. 2006 The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is passed by the U.S. Senate. A dissenting statement was issued by Representative Dennis Kucinich.
Feb. 15, 2007 A concealed weapon petition is heard in Fairfax County Civil Court. The docket is “#CL-2007-0000410, In Re: David Matthew Martosko”. The petition is granted.
Mar. 12, 2007 David Martosko is allegedly seen stalking and photographing activists at a meeting of the National Conference on Organized Resistance.
Sep. 29, 2008 David Martosko is arrested for DUI and related offenses.
Dec. 5, 2008 David Martosko receives a suspended sentence of one year, suspension of his drivers’ license for one year, a fine, and mandatory substance abuse counseling.
Dec. 18, 2009 A Facebook account under the false name “Gregory Davis” is created, with the email address The profile is a two-dimensional caricature of a vegan activist, with a few superficially liberal interests and a political affiliation listed as “dope-smoking commie”. Gregory explains his sudden appearance with a tale of his supposed adventures building dog fostering networks in India and Bangladesh.

He joins a number of activist groups on Facebook.
Dec. 22, 2009 Although nobody publicly questioned him, Gregory posts a preemptive defense of his identity.

The gregoire525 Yahoo! identity was created in 2002.
Dec. 25, 2009 The Center for Consumer Freedom posts an article about the HSUS suit against Ringling Bros. on their website. That same day, Gregory/Preston posts a link to the article on his wall.
Dec. 2009 – Present Gregory joins dozens of groups associated with CCF’s enemies: PETA, HSUS, Mercy for Animals, Dennis Kucinich, CREW, Sea Shepherd, SHAC, etc.. He friends prominent individuals in the fields of animal rights, veganism, and environmental protection. In all, more than 300 activists, authors, journalists, and politicians are victimized by the impostor. At least 50 of these individuals have been personally attacked on CCF websites.
Jan. 12, 2010 Gregory/Preston posts a message to his Facebook wall about exercising his Second Amendment rights over a satellite radio broadcast.

Mar. 2, 2010 David Martosko posts a press release announcing the results of a CCF-commissioned poll. Later that day, Gregory/Preston refers to it on the HSUS Facebook page.
Mar. 21, 2010 The “Stop HumaneWatch” Facebook group (SHW) is formed to combat misinformation from the Center for Consumer Freedom. Soon after, Gregory joins the group:

Martosko has made idle threats of libel suits against SHW members on several occasions.
May 2010 David Martosko’s 2008 DUI arrest is exposed on a blog critical of CCF. Martosko grudgingly admits his alcoholism on the HumaneWatch Facebook group the following day. Subsequent posts by Gregory/Preston take on a distinctly hostile tone, and he begins making inflammatory posts on the “Stop HumaneWatch” Facebook group urging members to commit acts of violence against Conklin Dairy. The comments are immediately deleted by a moderator, but not before arousing members’ suspicions that Gregory might be an agent provocateur trying to incite comments that could be used against the group.
May 28, 2010 HumaneWatch posts a blog message inciting readers to harass Jordan Winery, an HSUS donor. That same day, Gregory/Preston harasses the Jordan Winery Facebook page.
Jul. 8, 2010 Following a string of high-profile HumaneWatch failures — a scathing exposé of CCF in the NY Times, a premature celebration over the Ohio Compromise that outraged CCF’s agricultural supporters, and failures to convince Jordan Winery, Chipotlé, and other donors to abandon their support of the HSUS — Martosko is arrested again on alcohol-related charges. The charges are public intoxication, swearing, and trespassing on the grounds of a church/school.
Jul. 16, 2010 David Martosko posts the following message on the HumaneWatch website: “Instead of seeing my name plastered on everything, you’ll soon be reading articles contributed by various members of the HumaneWatch team. There will even be some outsiders sharing their own analysis.”
Jul. 2010 – Dec. 2010 Gregory’s behavior continues to become more erratic and hostile. He frequently breaks character, making disparaging remarks about animal protection groups, contradicting previous stories, defending CCF/HumaneWatch, and angrily confronting those who criticize David Martosko.
Inconsistent stories:


Confrontations with HumaneWatch opponents:


Nov. 2010 Organic farmer Kevin Fulton hosts a town hall meeting with HSUS. David Martosko, reportedly acting in an erratic manner, is refused entrance. The evening culminates with Martosko accosting Mr. Fulton at a men’s room urinal with a recording device. When the incident is related on SHW, Gregory responds:
Dec. 3, 2010 Concerned members of SHW email dozens of Gregory’s victims, warning them of their suspicions. Many of those individuals immediately cut off Gregory’s access to their personal information.
That evening, a user posts a comment on this blog under the name “Greg”, with an email of “”, an attack on the blog’s webmaster with whom Martosko has clashed previously. Greg posts: “Where’s the DISLIKE button? Hope the money from Pacelle feels good. Your heart is a black rock.”
Access logs showed that the comment originated from an Verizon FIOS subscriber in Burke, VA — a short distance from David Martosko’s house.
Two hours later, when a member of SHW refers to Martosko’s behavior in Nebraska and history of alcohol abuse, Gregory explodes:
Dec. 16, 2010 Martosko posts a blog entry calling attention to Wayne Pacelle’s role in Michael Vick’s rehabilitation. That evening, Gregory/Preston posts a link to that blog on the HSUS Facebook thread.
Dec. 29, 2010 “Gregory” posts a comment on the HSUS Facebook page calling attention to the fact that Second Chance, a horse rescued by HSUS, has died. The following morning, David Martosko posts a blog entry calling attention to the fact that Second Chance has died.
Jan. 21, 2011 “Gregory Davis” changes the name on his account to “Preston G. Davis”, and begins friending activists again. On January 21st, he replies to a reader on the HumaneWatch Facebook group in the cadence, voice, and mannerisms that David Martosko uses in his administrative capacity. Nine minutes later, he notices his error and hastily tries to cover his tracks.

The post is later deleted from Gregory/Preston’s Facebook wall, but not from the HumaneWatch page.
Feb. 7, 2011 Gregory/Preston responds to a friend request from the webmaster of this site, John Doppler Schiff.
Mr. Schiff replies to that Facebook email by asking if Gregory/Preston is familiar with the people behind HumaneWatch, and provides a link to a hidden page on the site. The IP address of any visitor to that page is logged. Only Gregory/Preston and Schiff know of the page’s existence.
Feb. 8, 2011 At 8:57 AM and 8:59 AM, Pacific, the link is accessed twice from IP address This IP address traces back to the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Martosko’s employer, Berman & Company, Inc.

6:26 PM. John Doppler Schiff sends another Facebook email to Gregory/Preston, inviting him to click on a link that would “change the minds of a LOT of HumaneWatchers”.
7:01 PM. Web logs show that the link is accessed from a Verizon FIOS subscriber in Burke, VA, in the same area and network as “Greg”, less than a mile from David Martosko’s residence. Only Schiff and Gregory/Preston know of the link’s existence.

7:22 PM. Gregory/Preston opens a chat window with Schiff to ask why the links aren’t working. Schiff says he will look into the problem.
7:26 PM. Gregory/Preston clearly knows he’s caught, and tries to cover his tracks. He changes his profile information in Facebook; he now pretends to be from Fairfax, VA. He changes his employer; he now pretends to work for World Bank Publishing, a company close to Berman & Company’s offices. He adds a work history, claiming to be employed by Trader Joes from 2008 to 2010.

This conflicts with his original cover story, when he previously claimed to be in India and Bangladesh. It also conflicts with the facts, as Trader Joe’s does not have locations in Colorado.


  1. Someone operating under the assumed name “Gregory Davis” and “Preston G. Davis”, using the account is friending activists, authors, legislators, bloggers, and other prominent individuals on Facebook.

  2. Gregory/Preston makes contradictory statements about his history and his ideology.

  3. At least 50 of the individuals friended by Gregory/Preston have been targeted by Richard Berman and the Center for Consumer Freedom on their websites.

  4. Nearly all of Gregory/Preston’s Facebook “likes” are directly related to issues CCF pursues.

  5. David Martosko is the spokesperson and Director of Research for CCF. He lives in Burke, VA, and works at CCF’s offices in Washington, D.C.

  6. Gregory/Preston frequently makes comments and posts which mirror Martosko’s writings within hours of their publication.

  7. Links sent privately to Gregory/Preston were subsequently visited by a person residing in Burke, VA within a mile of Martosko’s house, and working in Washington, D.C. within a mile of Martosko’s workplace.

  8. Martosko has an aggressive anti-activist agenda.

  9. Martosko is alleged to have stalked and photographed activists in 2007.

  10. Martosko has a recent history of substance abuse and erratic behavior.

  11. Martosko may have a concealed weapon permit.
If you have accepted a friend request from this questionable account, please block the account. Many of the individuals who were previously warned about “Gregory Davis” later accepted friend requests from the same account under “Preston G. Davis”. Blocking the account prevents you from seeing future requests, even if the name on the account changes.
Be wary of friend requests from people you don’t know. Don’t be shy about asking mutual friends if they can vouch for the person.
Please contact the webmaster for further information.

Update March 15, 2013

A Mother Jones report has independently confirmed Martosko’s impersonation of activists through court documents in the case of Human League of Philadelphia v. Berman & Co.