For 23 years Ive provided a unique and valuable service, and if I am to continue doing so I must receive patron support. Will you help keep me working for the public? Without substantial financial support, and soon, the pipeline goes dry.
Ever since my debunking of the “heterosexual AIDS explosion” in 1987, I have repeatedly stood entirely or almost entirely alone among journalists and scholars in reporting the truth on a wide range of hugely important topics; yet Ive consistently been proved right. I debunked both major hoaxes of 2009 and of 2010, the alleged “swine flu emergency” and the “runaway Prius.” I have “a knack,” as Publishers Weekly put it, for debunking popular beliefs and revealing the true state of things.”
Thats what they were saying, "No one." Until I came along.
Since I began writing under the name of the Independent Journalism Project in mid-June, I have placed over three dozen heavily-researched, original pieces in publications like the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes Online, Investors Business Daily, NRO, the New York Post, and newspapers around the world.
Some have 50 hyperlinked citations in pieces only 900 words long. Most contain fresh information from phone interviews. Rush Limbaugh, John Stossel, Neil Cavuto, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved, and Mark Levin have all sung my praise recently.
AND NOW, FOR THE BAD NEWS
But precisely because these are prestige publications that are hard to get into, they pay anywhere from nothing to almost nothing. (That said, Im sure People magazine pays well!) Their business model assumes the freelance writer has institutional support. I have none at this time.
This year Ive led the counter-attack against the Toyota hysteria, with seven articles published so far, plenty in the pipeline, dozens of blogs, countless radio shows, and several national TV appearances. Even though Ive never written about Toyota before, “Fumento” and “Toyota” brings up about 115,000 results on Yahoo!
Total pay for all this: See above. (I keep hoping a new Lexus will show up in driveway, but so far not even a beat-up old Civic.)
Obviously Im very passionate about my work. Nobody can change human nature, but I have made the world a slightly better place. Ive helped a lot of people. The stuff Im writing about, the stuff you care about, nobody else is writing. And nobody will step forward to take my place.
The bad guys have no qualms about hitting me in the pocket book. Two decades ago, as the Washington Monthly later documented, fierce opposition to my AIDS book cost me two jobs and a fellowship at a prestigious think tank, and left me unemployable for two years. Newspaper editors who published my material got death threats, the nations largest book chain refused to carry the book, and ultimately the publisher pulled it from circulation. Yet its now accepted that everything I wrote was correct, and even at the time it received rave reviews from the nations two top medical journals and numerous other prestigious publications. “The arguments, statistics and perceptions,” in the book, according to The New York Times Book Review, “appear almost as irrefutable as they are controversial.”
Many years later environmentalists targeting my nationally syndicated column enlisted the help of a dishonest, liberal BusinessWeek writer, who cowed Scripps Howard into canceling it. Its not hard to snipe conservative writers when we comprise merely 8 percent of the national media. And the more effective you are, the more crosshairs they put on you. As the Washington Monthly article stated, “It is precisely because his arguments are legitimate that Michael Fumento is a threat.”
Ultimately, such attacks are the highest compliment. Im proud of the praise Ive gotten; but perhaps Im prouder of what Erin Brockovich, who makes millions a year terrorizing people on behalf of trial lawyers, said of me. Quoth the lady, “I hate him!”
But with the bad guys practically obsessed with hurting me, the good guys have to step forward with help more substantial than “God bless you!” I can no more afford to simply donate all my work anymore than can most people. I have spent a life of public service, beginning with a stint as a paratrooper. Then I gave up my law practice (I was graduated from a top 25 law school) to go into public policy. Ive done my job for society.
“Starving artists” who have a choice choose not to starve. As you might guess, my research, analytical, and writing skills are in demand by business.
Four months before the entire media parroted the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology claim that swine flu could kill 90,000 Americans, I was pointing out that it was vastly milder than plain old seasonal flu. Sure enough, this flu season was remarkably mild.
To get the real anatomy, the only source was my work. In May 2009, 4 months before the entire media parroted the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology claim that swine flu could cause "as many as 90,000 deaths," I had already begun exposing it as a hysteria.
A SMART INVESTMENT
“Fumento, Inc.” provides an excellent ROI (return on investment). Ive published over 800 articles and columns (viewable at fumento.com), five heavily annotated-books (four with major publishers), several book chapters, two monographs, and uncounted white papers. I also blog prolifically on a broad range of subjects.
An objective measurement of my impact includes books as listed by Amazon.com, Google Scholar mentions, and overall search engine hits on Yahoo! I have, respectively: 360, 900, and 1.8 million.
Thats more impressive in perspective. For example, a comparison with two major think tanks, one left and one right, shows that in terms of input combined they have about 60 staffers and budgets of over $7.5 million dollars. But in output I vastly exceed them in all three categories. (Write to me if you want their names and the specifics.)
Another consideration: On average, the best charities spend 15 to 20 percent on overhead and administrative costs, while some have overhead spend as much as 77 percent. My overhead? Zero.
HYSTERIA ENEMY NUMBER ONE
Heres a select list of some of my exposes over the years. You may well find yourself saying, “I didnt know he was the one who wrote that!” A colleague of mine once called me “The most famous person nobodys heard of.” A bit of an exaggeration, but the points made. Ive virtually never had the benefit of a publicist and hence my work is vastly better known than I am. But again, with support, I can hire a part-time publicist which in turn would probably lead to more funding.
I specialize in exposing “misinformation cascades,” when a little snowball of false “facts” rolls down a mountain and becomes gargantuan, crushing everything in its path.
Cascades occur because opportunists profit from them. This always includes the media, often trial lawyers, and often government. Big government, H.L. Mencken warned, seeks ever “to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Cascades are almost always an excuse to pass more regulations and expand government.
Cascades are frequently devastating. For example, I was alone in countering the SARS pandemic hysteria of 1993 that cost the economies of East and Southeast Asia an estimated $18 billion. Swine flu hysteria cost the U.S. government over $9 billion, while Toyota may lose more than that. In cascades, people become terrified, jobs disappear, and personal freedoms vanish.
Nobody is even in my league when it comes to countering them.
Many on the right seem convinced that the truth will out through sheer analysis, and thereby undervalue the need for investigative work. But analysis is no substitute for information.
You can read a whole book on the "black southern church arson epidemic," but I revealed it as a hoax and traced it back to those who began it.
In 1996 conservatives desperately sought to counter liberal charges that the “southern black church arson epidemic” proved that America remained a deeply racist country. But I asked: “What epidemic?” I called the fire marshals of every southern state, did some extra research, and revealed it was all a hoax. Moreover, the faux epidemic was no case of spontaneous combustion; rather I proved it was orchestrated by a left-wing activist group.
Currently all the the pundits are all asking "How Did Toyota Lose its Way," with none asking whether it really has. I have been gradually answering that question and will show the entire “Toyota mystery” is no more of one than other “mysteries” Ive debunked.
While I frequently publish in Townhall, Canadian Free Press, NRO, and other conservative organs, I emphasize reaching mainstream audiences precisely because my abilities allow it. I have a unique ability to persuade. Thats important because, while conservatives are a plurality of the public, they are not a majority. Moreover, even most conservatives dont read conservative publications.
I have also proved a willingness and ability to do anything legitimate to get a story.
In 2005, with most of our Iraq news coming out of Baghdad hotels, I embedded in Iraqs most dangerous province, al Anbar, to report the truth. And I nearly died, undergoing seven operations. But one year later I was back.
I embedded in the most dangerous section of the Iraqs most dangerous city in the country with the Navy SEALs and 101st Airborne Division. Turns out their two prior embeds had exited feet first. But I survived to get photos, video, and a close-up view of these brave men in action and what they were accomplishing. That included the first SEAL to die in Iraq, as well as the first to win the Medal of Honor (posthumously). I was in combat with him; I attended his award ceremony.
One article from that trip was called “Great stuff with a great unit in a very tough neighborhood!” That courtesy of a guy named General David Petraeus.
PATRONAGE SUPPORTED WRITING, AS OLD AS HISTORY
I am grateful for every $15 or $20 I receive via my Web site, because I know thats all some people can afford. But I need a salary, just as others do.
Navy SEAL and future Medal of Honor winner Michael Monsoor during a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq. Sometimes getting the truth to the public is a bit tougher and riskier than other times.
Patron-supported writing is as old as writing itself. Shakespeare received virtually nothing in direct payments; he needed patrons. Survival in public policy writing today demands patronage. Indeed there are 15 major investigative journalism centers that receive over $30 million in support each year. Problem is, they all have a sign over the door reading, “Non-liberals need not apply.”
But a scholar with whom I worked receives $300,000 a year from a patron. Endowed chairs, of course, are patronage. Thats an option here: Your name on the back; my rump on the seat. In any case, your name will go somewhere. The new build of my Web site (quite far along) will have a “Fans of Fumento” page listing major contributors.
Couldnt I just research and write part time while otherwise supporting myself? Emphatically “No.” The requirements of jumping immediately on a story and pursuing it at fever pace until publication dont allow that. Investigative writers, notes the president of one of those 15 leftist centers, must be “paid as well as possible, and have sufficient time and the best, up-to-date technology needed to do quality journalism.” I invite you to visit my website and view my CV. You will be impressed.
Support for me is tax-deductible via a 501(c) (3) organization.
I have a gift. Its one that should stay in the public domain. I made a difference in the world, and you can help make a difference through me. But to repeat, without enough support soon to sustain a decent salary, the pipeline goes dry. And by the way, if youre thinking, “Surely somebody else will provide it!” well guess what? Thats exactly what theyre thinking!
So please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets talk about what you and I can do together.