From my early "corporate whore" days, a cover story blasting the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation.
What I didnt know was that the most malicious and false attack would appear in NRO.
Written by Catherine Seipp of "Cathys World" fame (Dont worry if youve never heard of it), it states "Fumento has long been suspected of accepting money from corporations he so admiringly opines about in his better-living-through-chemistry pieces, and now we all know for sure."
Excuse me, but "has long been suspected?" By whom? Seipps terminology is code for: "Theres no evidence." If she had any, certainly shed have provided it.
As for her accusation that I do "better-living-through-science" pieces, just maybe thats because (duh), Im primarily a science and health writer. To me its the most exciting field in journalism, such that it drew me away from a law career that began with a degree from a top-25 law school whose graduates last year averaged starting salaries of $125,000. If Im so money hungry, I must be even more stupid than I am greedy.
True, science writers often praise the products and research of industry; but isnt corporate-bashing why God created liberals?
Moreover, I repeatedly criticize specific industries when they deserve it. My first magazine cover story, in National Review in 1987, was a detailed expose of the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation. The grant that led to the current brouhaha was from the Monsanto Company, yet within months of that award I charged Monsanto with being "chicken-hearted" for caving into environmentalists.
What about the "now we all know for sure" line?
Read the Business Week piece. It takes three whole minutes. Nowhere does it say I took money for any column or story. It says I solicited a grant from Monsanto for a biotechnology book I was working on. (It doesnt say, but should, that such solicitations from philanthropies and corporations are the general rule for writers of policy books.) It says my think tank employer accepted the grant and paid me a salary while I worked on the book.
Using a bizarre set of rules that writer Eamon Javers made up on the spot, applied specifically to my circumstances, and then made retroactive, Javers decided – bizarre though it sound – that a book grant received in 1999 should be disclosed in columns written in 2006 - and presumably forever.
Seipp posted a photo of me on her website, inviting her readers to laugh. Dont know if Im in Brad Pitt territory, but does this woman not look like a mouse that drowned in a bottle of Old Milwaukee?
Seipp also uses my firing from Scripps Howard as evidence of guilt, but made no inquiry into the circumstances – that Scripps acted solely upon receiving a phone call from Javers. I wasnt even consulted. Thats not evidence of my guilt, but of their cowardice.
Seipps attack on me is all the more stunning in that she herself, in her attack piece, claimed she was falsely accused by New York Times writer Sharon Waxman of taking pay-for-play. Did it not occur to her that if she were falsely accused, others might be too?
It also speaks poorly of Seipp that she cooperated with Waxman. Not incidentally, the day after she attacked me she blogged that the New York Times gave her hell for revealing Waxmans witch-hunting activities and that she now regrets having helped them.
Do they "think they are both above the rules and can also make them up for other people?" she asks of them in astonishment. Yes they do Cathy, just like Eamon Javers did. Why is that suddenly news to you?
Waxman also called me, in December, and under the same pretenses. She first leveled a groundless accusation against me and then sought my cooperation in nailing others. I gave her no information on anybody but me. (Though how shell twist that, God knows.)
Seipps "betrayal" blog entry, as well as a column I wrote about the attack on me, shows how truly vicious the witch hunters are. I reported that, after Doug Bandow lost his column albeit for reasons having nothing to do with his rightwing beliefs, leftist groups "realized they might eliminate more of their critics by simply accusing them of being paid corporate shills, and then siccing the media on them to see what they could dig up."
Lefties are automatically passed over, as was New York Times "economist" Paul Krugmans "extra-curricular paychecks over the years" as NRO and others have reported. Just as blacks cant be racists were told, liberal writers cant be corporate stooges.
But just what is this womans problem? She also goes after me on her blogsite attacking . . . my looks! She displays a photo of me in Speedos that I had posted to my website to counter a hate mailer who accused me, author of a book warning of the obesity epidemic, of being fat myself. Seipp then invites readers to laugh at a 45-year-old man with no belly fat and the chest of the weight lifter I am. (I, in turn, invite readers to visit her blog and admire her photo.)
But blogs dont have editors; Seipps snipe did. And those editors had no business letting it see print.
One might argue they should have been a bit more careful with a hit piece against a contributor of two decades. Surely they knew an attack on me from the right would have vastly more impact than one from the left. They had a special duty to make sure Seipp could back up every charge leveled; a duty they forsook. Further, never should accusations be allowed comprising nothing more than someone has "long been suspected," even if the target is Al Gore or Hillary Clinton.
This is a time to band together against the witch hunters, not to succor those who aid them. The ultimate purpose of the hunt is not to remove individuals but to weaken the entire conservative and free market movement. As my case shows, innocence is no defense. We either present a united front or we watch as, one by one, were each led to the stake.
Read Michael Fumentos other work on the media.