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FluWiki editor displays dishonest of his site and himself

By Michael Fumento

FluWiki pretends to be an encyclopedia of that which we should know about avian flu and the possibility of it becoming a human pandemic. It is not. It is a propaganda site, dedicated to spreading alarmism. I pointed out in a previous blog that it even
carries advertising. To this, the editor responded:

Apparently, you are going around the internets [sic] spreading false information about Flu Wiki. On your blog, you state:

(There are actually a number of such dedicated sites, primarily FluWiki, which refuses to post my material but has no problem posting opinion pieces like A Severe Pandemic Is Likely and running ads from pharmaceutical companies that make flu drugs.) Similar claim [sic] is made on Crawford Kilian's blog, H5N1.

Flu Wiki has no ads whatsoever, and never has had ads. It's a non-commercial site and always has been. It does not endorse products. Simple inspection will verify that. Perhaps you have us confused with another site.

Please correct this in the various places you are posting, including your blog.


My response:

You can stop squawking. I didn't say you blatantly posted ads. But you have them nonetheless. Under "Authoritative sources of background information" there is:

"Bird Flu is a Real Pandemic Threat to Humans," described as "An essay by Leonard Crane, author of Ninth day of Creation (2006)" It's hardly relevant to avian flu that he wrote this novel about biological terrorism (published in 2000, by the way) but it is relevant that you see fit to plug it. More importantly, in clicking on the link you provide we find it's nothing more than an advertisement for a book called "How To Protect Yourself And Your Loved Ones from BIRD FLU." In it we're warned in super-sized type: Right Now, Bird Flu Is Killing Entire Families in Indonesia -- Infecting a 2 Year Old Girl in Djibouti Africa and Forcing Quarantines in Romania!"

Authoritative, huh? No. The question is, why run something this insipid if it doesn't pay a kickback?

Under "Other sources of background information," you have "Joel Fuhrman M.D.'s Six Steps to Protect Your Family from Avian Flu." But click on the link and the reader finds it's actually an advertisement for his line of vitamins disguised as a blog.

Yet somehow you have no room to mention sources of background information such as my two articles that bird flu is not a real pandemic threat to humans and your family doesn't need protection from avian flu.

At the same time FluWiki disguises ads for nutty books and vitamins under legitimate-looking links, it censors articles that inform readers that avian flu H5N1 was actually discovered way back in 1959 and therefore has had far more time to become pandemic than most people believe, that recent CDC tests on ferrets show that fears of H5N1 reassorting with human flu are probably grossly overblown, or that your "expert" Laurie Garrett rose to fame and fortune by prediction a pandemic of Ebola - one of the hardest human viruses to transmit.

You're a dishonest person who runs a dishonest site. And by the way, my offer of 10 to one odds of no human pandemic in the next ten years is also open to you.

His incredible response:

Spam is spam. When you run a wiki, anyone can post links. There are literally thousands of pages and tens of thousands of links there. If you see any other commercial links, feel free to write and I'll remove them. These were commercial sites and they have been removed.

Flu Wiki is, was and will be a non-commercial site. It is a resource anyone can use. No kickbacks, no moneys accepted, no charge. When we have information to share, we give it away.

I will accept readership by public health departments around the world, visits by NIH and CDC on a daily basis, and positive reviews in Harvard Business Review and Science magazine, to name two, in lieu of your approval. I think it's a fair exchange.

I don't bet on natural disasters. I prepare for them and hope they never happen.

Cheers and good luck

My response:

How stupid do you think I am? You posted those links. [Or, I should have added, allowed them to stay up. Certainly when I posted a link to one of my avian flu articles he pulled it down.] YOU. Spam is unsolicited bulk email. As I said, you are a dishonest person with a dishonest website. And your refusal to take me up on my bet also shows you don't have the courage of your convictions. You know as well as I do there's no H5N1 pandemic coming, but you've got a business to run.

January 15, 2007 06:30 PM  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)