ACSH has gotten into it (again) with Carey Gilliam, a self-inflated journalist who just won't shut up about glyphosate, even though no one cares what she has to say. This time my buddy Cameron English was the "target." Not that he needs it, but I come to his defense!
My esteemed colleague Cameron English has gotten into it (again) with the esteemed
journalist BS artist Carey Gillam, who sees herself as the investigative savior of a poisoned world. You know, where cancer has exploded to the point where one can hardly peek between the blinds without seeing hoards of shuffling, ill-fated victims dragging gargantuan tumors behind them as if they were pulling a burlap sack full of radioactive chickens across the Kaliluea lava field (1). Check out some of the spiffy dialog from the comments section of his recent article, where he claims that Gilliam is having a whiny-baby fit because no one is paying attention to her bogus Round-Up/glyphosate babble anymore.
Gilliam's comment (I think) has something to do with fundraising. I don't know (I've only been here 12 years) what year (or century, really) it was written and to or by whom. It doesn't matter. The ACSH that I've heard stories about, which used to receive generous support from various industries, no longer exists. Sadly, corporate support is largely gone; we are almost entirely funded by individual contributors and foundations with less than 5% coming from corporations and trade associations. If we're on a shoestring budget, the strings must be from toddler shoes. Yet that doesn't stop Gilliam and other miscreants like Paul Thacker, Gary Ruskin, David Gorsky, and Andrew Kolodny from keeping the "industry front" lie alive, since they apparently cannot defend themselves against our science or logic.
Which brings me to the point of this article – a modern version of a bit of satire I originally wrote in 2017. Things have changed since then. If ACSH is a bunch of whores then I am now the senior whore. As such, I have earned the right to defend both my organization and my lavish lifestyle, something that might (but probably won't) amuse Gilliam, that is if she can stop laughing at that ancient email long enough to pay attention.
Am I a Corporate Shill?
Since I write about science and health (and actually know what I'm talking about) I occasionally run into stories about chemicals, foods, etc. that are portrayed as being dangerous but are really not. Then I take the time to explain the reasons for that statement, using my background in chemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology to do so. But there is a ton of money to be made in keeping people scared, and what can be scarier than chemicals?
Thus, it should not be surprising that there are a whole lot of people out there, like TV doctor-quack supplement peddlers, sleazy environmental groups, and third-rate journalists, who insist that I've been paid off because I have the unmitigated gall to say that something is not harmful when it really isn't, despite their ignorant claims to the contrary.
When budgets of organizations like US Right to Know Nothing, NRDC (~1,000X ours), and EWG (a bunch of manipulative lawyers and poly-sci majors) are threatened by the truth, they don't like it much. Inevitably, the name-calling (2) starts. With us, it's almost always the same—"corporate shill," sometimes "industry front," both polite terms for "whore."
Time for Introspection
Well, am I? I didn't think so until recently, but then I had to stop and wonder. A few years back I wrote about two issues that really stirred people up. One was WiFi in The Baltimore Sun newspaper, specifically how it wasn't hurting our children after all, and the other was about the opioid overdose crisis (Duluth News-Tribune). And I'll be damned if some mighty fine people didn't stop by, all providing the same message — that I'm on the take. Here are a few of the comments:
- Alison P. via email: "All you sluts for the corporate are putting people's lives at risk for your own pocket." (Alison is nothing if not charming)
- Dr. Nicholas Van Deelen, Duluth News Tribune: "[T]he pharmaceutical industry, through spokesmen like Bloom, obfuscates the issue [of opioid abuse] in an apparent attempt to deflect blame and protect profits." (Van Deelen also claims we're in Washington, D.C., and funded by pharmaceutical companies. Both are false.)
- "[Josh Bloom] made $106,940 but from what donors? Where is the list? (3,4)
- Wayne, via comments section: "So, did Monsanto fund you too?" (Wayne sure has his finger on the pulse of breaking news and commentary. From 30 years ago.)
So, all of a sudden, a light bulb went on. These guys must be right! How could I not see what has been so clearly dangling in front of my face this whole time? I AM a corporate shill. This revelation did sting for a while, as did the shame of my lack of self-awareness, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and concede what is evident. I'm dirty as the Gowanus Canal. My corporate puppeteers have bestowed upon me such a vast fortune that I am able to live a lifestyle that few people can even imagine, let alone encounter. Yep - I'm a shill.
The Shill Discloses His Ill-Gotten Gains
For example, my 2007 Altima has FOUR wheels, often starts, and although it looks like it's been through the Perseid Meteor Shower, still retains some of the blue paint it came with. Or was it green? And never let anyone tell you that the back seat doesn't make one awesome bed. It's not too bad sharing it with two other suckers who did not take corporate money, although their front seat beds are less plush. The driver's side guy, who has even less legroom than you get on American Airlines, developed (hopefully) temporary paralysis, and is expected to resume walking any day now. Maybe.
My roommate (trying to get into the Altima). Photo: Free stock photos
Lest you think that we shills get no more than the splendid car-home that I take such pride in, think again. I have hundreds of dollars in the bank. Yessiree- I'm a thousandaire, thanks to Agent Orange, the Koch Brothers, nuclear waste dumps, and most of all, the pharmaceutical industry. You know, those guys who are withholding a cure for cancer so they can sell poisonous drugs to the public instead.
Before you pass judgment, please don't assume that just because I have attained such a lofty status in life that I don't give back to the community. Hell no! With financial security comes free time, and I make the best of it. Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent the helicopter that I use to dump barrels of bleach on areas that lack proper sanitation? And I hardly ever get any of it on people. At least not that many. I also bring joy to thousands with my graffiti art. Sometimes the car owners don't like it all that much, but that's OK, since I'm usually long gone before they discover it.
And, could there be anything more rewarding than having the time to just stroll around and help elderly and disabled people across the treacherous streets of Manhattan—at least halfway across, anyhow.
Parting words: say what you want about me, but please don't call me corrupt, because it couldn't be further from the truth. But it sure does piss me off. And when I'm pissed off, I too can engage in name-calling. Only I'm better at it.
OK, time for bed. Lights out.... S###t! They already went out. Battery died.
(1) The only problem with the soaring cancer rate in the US is that there isn't one. The top three lines represent incidence, which has been pretty much stable since 1975. (The jump in male cancers in the early 1990s is an artifact due to the introduction of the PSA screen. There was not a real increase; more prostate cancer was detected.) The decline in mortality (bottom 3 lines) is irrelevant to this discussion since it reflects better treatments.
Source: Trends in Cancer Incidence (1975-2018) and Mortality (1975-2019) Rates by Sex, United States
(2) Some will say that name-calling is merely an ad hominem attack. I disagree! It is an art form. Don't be resentful because I am Rembrandt and you're Bob Ross. If you disagree it's probably because you're a doodie head.
(3) Our writers do not have access to the donor list. We don't talk about it. We don't want to know, since it could (theoretically) influence our articles. Our editorial meetings are only about science and Thom Golab's terrible jokes. Long John Silver could be on the list and I wouldn't know. As to why we don't make our donor list public, no one does. In 2017 our average donation was around $50 and donors have a right to privacy. If you don't like it, too bad.
(4) If you think $106,000 is a lot of money for someone with advanced degrees and who conducted biomedical research for 27 years, got laid off, and (fortunately) got a job with ACSH, making roughly half what I would have been making had I stayed in industry? Try living in New York on that salary. The conductors who run my commuter trains make $100,000-150,000. They do not have two advanced degrees. I'm not complaining, it's a decent salary, especially if you live in a car, but in NYC it's chump change. [Update: Five years later that number has not gone up]