Friday, January 20, 2006
Today, I Cry Like Frey
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and I have a high threshold for idiosyncrasy. But in this case, perhaps the image really was a distress call.
If you read AMLP and felt bamboozled by someone whose accounts you trusted, I know how you feel. Someone who I felt was doing a great job in an needful area of the media turned out to be a shill. Via Cathy's World, I learned about this man (whose bizarre picture I post as part of his punishment, though he was apparently proud of it), Michael Fumento, formerly one of my favorite health and science reporters and debunkers of junk science.
No more. It seems he was taking money from Monsanto to write articles with favorable positioning for Big Pharma. My views come chiefly from my work inside the beast and the many people I knew and still know in the industry. His corruption does not change my opinions on the broad subjects of drug research and approval, but it does change my opinion of him and the slimebags at, or on behalf of, Monsanto who hired him.
I've cited Fumento's articles in 5 posts ranging from the topics of silicone breast implants and teflon coating for cookware to the drug Tysabri for MS and the avian flu panic. I found his writing clear and his points persuasive, but I must now consider all of it so much crapola. His article links from Townhall, the site of some of the pieces I used, no longer work, and that's appropriate. I will put updates to all my applicable posts about this discredited creep. Sure, I could poke through every article and substantiate every fact to see if it truthfully leads to his expressed viewpoint, but why should I do the reportage to salvage a reputation that he doesn't care enough to protect in the first place?
Lying is foremost manipulation, an attempt to control what people think and do by controlling the information they're given. This is in essential opposition to individual freedom of thought and action, and so, cannot be tolerated by me to any degree in people claiming to have candid opinions based on facts. If Fumento sold his integrity for 60k, I sure hope whatever grave personal emergency (like a new car) created this devil's bargain is long past, because he isn't going to be working as much anymore, and all of the fruits of his career are rightly suspect.
I can't assume that having deceived in one way that he wouldn't ever deceive in another. Breaching ethics is serious, premeditated, and repulsive, a sign of a deteriorating inner self as well as the professional. In situations like this, where I'm now discarding everything he's written, it's not a case that I'm unhappily throwing the baby out with the bathwater. How many deep cracks does a drinking glass have before you decide not to trust it anymore? Just one, and it no longer holds water.
You stink, Fumento. However sweet your words, they were the utterances of a prostitute.