• Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/technology/monopoly-antitrust-lina-khan-amazon.html

    If competitors tremble at Amazon’s ambitions, consumers are mostly delighted by its speedy delivery and low prices. They stream its Oscar-winning movies and clamor for the company to build a second headquarters in their hometowns. Few of Amazon’s customers, it is safe to say, spend much time thinking they need to be protected from it.

    But then, until recently, no one worried about Facebook, Google or Twitter either. Now politicians, the media, academics and regulators are kicking around ideas that would, metaphorically or literally, cut them down to size. Members of Congress grilled social media executives on Wednesday in yet another round of hearings on Capitol Hill. Not since the Department of Justice took on Microsoft in the mid-1990s has Big Tech been scrutinized like this.

    Amazon has more revenue than Facebook, Google and Twitter put together, but it has largely escaped sustained examination. That is beginning to change, and one significant reason is Ms. Khan.

    In early 2017, when she was an unknown law student, Ms. Khan published “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” in the Yale Law Journal. Her argument went against a consensus in antitrust circles that dates back to the 1970s — the moment when regulation was redefined to focus on consumer welfare, which is to say price. Since Amazon is renowned for its cut-rate deals, it would seem safe from federal intervention.

    Ms. Khan disagreed. Over 93 heavily footnoted pages, she presented the case that the company should not get a pass on anticompetitive behavior just because it makes customers happy. Once-robust monopoly laws have been marginalized, Ms. Khan wrote, and consequently Amazon is amassing structural power that lets it exert increasing control over many parts of the economy.

    “As consumers, as users, we love these tech companies,” she said. “But as citizens, as workers, and as entrepreneurs, we recognize that their power is troubling. We need a new framework, a new vocabulary for how to assess and address their dominance.”

    The analogies with Amazon are explicit. Don’t let the government pursue Amazon the way it pursued A.&P., Mr. Muris and Mr. Nuechterlein warned.

    “Amazon has added hundreds of billions of dollars of value to the U.S. economy,” they wrote. “It is a brilliant innovator” whose “breakthroughs have in turn helped launch new waves of innovation across retail and technology sectors, to the great benefit of consumers.”

    Amazon itself could not have made the argument any better. Which isn’t surprising, because in a footnote on the first page, the authors noted: “We approached Amazon Inc. for funding to tell the story” of A.&P., “and we gratefully acknowledge its support.” They added at the end of footnote 85: “The authors have advised Amazon on a variety of antitrust issues.”

    Amazon declined to say how much its support came to in dollars. It also declined to comment on Ms. Khan or her paper directly, but issued a statement.

    “We operate in a diverse range of businesses, from retail and entertainment to consumer electronics and technology services, and we have intense and well-established competition in each of these areas,” the company said. “Retail is our largest business today and we represent less than 1 percent of global retail.”

    The April issue of the journal Antitrust Chronicle, edited by Mr. Medvedovsky, features a drawing of a bearded man on the cover right above the words “Hipster Antitrust.” In the middle of an article by Philip Marsden, a professor of competition law and economics at the College of Europe in Bruges, there’s a photograph of a bearded man taking a selfie next to the chapter heading “Battle of the Beards.” It is perhaps relevant that only one of the 12 authors or experts in the issue is female.

    The Hipster issue was sponsored by Facebook, another sign that Big Tech is striving to shape the monopoly-law debate. The company declined to comment.

    Ms. Khan was not the first to criticize Amazon, and she said the company was not really her target anyway. “Amazon is not the problem — the state of the law is the problem, and Amazon depicts that in an elegant way,” she said.

    From Amazon’s point of view, however, it is a problem indeed that Ms. Khan concludes in the Yale paper that regulating parts of the company like a utility “could make sense.” She also said it “could make sense” to treat Amazon’s e-commerce operation like a bridge, highway, port, power grid or telephone network — all of which are required to allow access to their infrastructure on a nondiscriminatory basis.

    #Amazon #Antitrust #Conflit_interêt

  • Conflit d’intérêts : “Je prends acte et regrette un peu”, Françoise Nyssen
    https://www.actualitte.com/article/monde-edition/conflit-d-interets-je-prends-acte-et-regrette-un-peu-francoise-nyssen/89829

    Jointe par téléphone, Françoise Nyssen explique à ActuaLitté qu’elle « prend acte de cette décision, qui émane de la Haute Autorité, et la regrette d’une certaine façon ». Elle ajoute : « Ça pose la question, propre à toute personne venant de la société civile, et c’est pour cette raison – 40 années de travail dans le privé ou l’associatif – que l’on est venu me chercher. »

    Et pour cause. « C’est une évidence que l’on conserve des liens. C’est logique pour toute personne venant de la société civile et particulièrement dans mon cas : on peut se douter que tout ne disparaît pas du jour au lendemain. »

    La ministre affirme que ce sont « mes compétences, qui me donnent des possibilités de réflexion sur le secteur. Sur la réforme du statut des auteurs, je suis à la manœuvre, avec détermination. Et objectivement, je me trouve bien placée pour mesurer les enjeux, et faire, en lien avec eux, des propositions innovantes et audacieuses ».

    Eh oui, c’est un problème de ne voir en "compétent" que les dirigeants d’entreprises, et de laisser de côté les universitaires, les activistes, et de ne pas développer une expertise réellement indépendante. Il faut engager sur ce point un travail de long terme, dans tous les domaines (notamment la pharmacie).

    #Conflit_intérêt #Politique #Société_civile #Expertise

  • It Was Supposed to Be an Unbiased Study of Drinking. They Wanted to Call It ‘Cheers.’ - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/18/health/nih-alcohol-study.html

    The director of the nation’s top health research agency pulled the plug on a study of alcohol’s health effects without hesitation on Friday, saying a Harvard scientist and some of his agency’s own staff had crossed “so many lines” in pursuit of alcohol industry funding that “people were frankly shocked.”

    A 165-page internal investigation prepared for Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that Kenneth J. Mukamal, the lead investigator of the trial, was in close, frequent contact with beer and liquor executives while designing the study.

    Buried in that document are disturbing examples of the coziness between the scientists and their industry patrons. Dr. Mukamal was eager to allay their concerns, respond to their questions and suggestions, and secure the industry’s buy-in.

    Dr. Mukamal has repeatedly denied communicating with the alcohol industry while planning the trial, telling The Times last year that he had, “literally no contact with the alcohol industry.”

    The study was intended to test the hypothesis that one drink a day is better for one’s heart than none, among other benefits of moderate drinking. But its design was such that it would not pick up harms, such as an increase in cancers or heart failure associated with alcohol, the investigation found.
    Scientists who designed the trial were aware it was not large enough to detect a rise in breast cancer, and acknowledged to grant reviewers in 2016 that the study was focused on benefits and “not powered to identify negative health effects.”

    “Clearly, there was a sense that this trial was being set up in a way that would maximize the chances of showing a positive effect of alcohol,” Dr. Collins said last week as he accepted his advisers’ recommendation to terminate the trial.

    “Understandably, the alcoholic beverage industry would like to see that.”

    If the study failed to find health benefits in moderate drinking but provided no evidence of harm, the results still would be a boon for the beverage makers. The findings would counter a 2014 World Health Organization edict that no level of alcohol consumption is safe because it raises the risk of cancer.

    #Santé_publique #Alcool #Conflit_intérêt

  • Le cadmium, ce « tueur » caché dans les engrais qui divise l’Europe
    http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2018/03/16/le-cadmium-ce-tueur-cache-dans-les-engrais_5271887_3244.html

    Le cadmium est un métal lourd contenu dans les roches phosphatées utilisées pour fabriquer des engrais pour l’agriculture. Classé cancérogène pour l’homme par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, il a des effets toxiques sur les reins, le squelette, l’appareil respiratoire, et est fortement suspecté d’être un perturbateur endocrinien. Or, l’utilisation d’engrais phosphatés dans les cultures est la principale cause de contamination des sols au cadmium, et donc de l’alimentation, qui représente 90 % de l’exposition à cette substance pour les non-fumeurs.

    Santé contre marché

    Autre élément : la peur des agriculteurs de voir s’envoler le coût des engrais. « Limiter le niveau de cadmium dans les engrais phosphatés aura un impact important sur le prix du produit fini en raison de la rareté des gisements de phosphates faibles en cadmium, a déjà prévenu Fertilizers Europe, le syndicat européen des producteurs d’engrais. L’augmentation des coûts sera transmise aux agriculteurs européens au détriment de leur compétitivité internationale. »

    Avec sa nouvelle réglementation, la Commission entend aussi encourager l’usage des engrais ­organiques et à base de déchets. Le projet de texte s’inscrit dans un train de mesures sur l’économie circulaire. Il précise que « l’UE importe environ 6 millions de tonnes de phosphates par an, mais pourrait remplacer jusqu’à 30 % de ce total par des boues d’épuration, des déchets biodégradables, des farines de viande et d’os ou du fumier ».
    « Conflit d’intérêts » en Espagne

    Des orientations qui ne semblent pas partagées par tous les Etats membres. Si la France n’a pas encore exprimé publiquement sa position, dans d’autres pays, le débat fait rage. L’Espagne a fait savoir qu’elle était opposée au projet de la Commission. « Des limites trop strictes de cadmium nous excluraient du marché des engrais phosphatés », a déclaré la ministre de l’agriculture et de l’environnement, Isabel Garcia Tejerina, le 21 février, devant les députés, affirmant que cette position était partagée par la France.

    La ministre espagnole a également assuré que les teneurs en cadmium actuelles ne représentaient « pas de risque pour les personnes ni pour l’environnement ». Le parti d’opposition Podemos accuse Mme Garcia Tejerina de « parrainer les engrais toxiques » et de « corruption » – une allusion au parcours professionnel de la ministre de l’agriculture. L’élue du Parti populaire a été, entre 2004 et 2012, directrice de la planification stratégique de Fertiberia, le premier producteur d’engrais en Espagne, et conseillère de Fertial (Société des fertilisants d’Algérie) appartenant au même groupe Villar Mir.

    Et bien sûr conflits d’intérêt.

    #Conflit_intérêt #Perturbateurs_endocriniens #Engrais #Agriculture

  • How Big Pharma Is Corrupting the Truth About the Drugs It Sells Us | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/drugs/drug-companies-are-funding-investigational-studies-influence-their-results

    Remember how appalled we felt as a society when we discovered that, for so long, we had been mistakenly taking Big Tobacco’s word that cigarettes are harmless? Rinse and repeat with lobbyists for Big Alcohol fear-mongering about legal weed. And again and again with a panoply of consumer-level commodities and goods.

    Nowadays we have all these familiar worries, but about our drugs and medications instead. It’s become so bad that there’s now reason to believe Big Pharma is also colluding to poison the well of scientific inquiry.

    The truth is, there are many examples of private industry paying for positive press from the scientific community. When you look closer at our spending priorities as a nation, it’s not entirely difficult to see why. As public funding for the sciences has fallen away, many scientists have had to pivot toward more consistent—and ethically fraught—sources of funding and stability as surely as politicians who, for want of public election funding, get buoyed by billionaires at $100,000-per-plate fundraising dinners.

    The Fall of Accountable Science

    Between 2011 and 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine published more than 70 “original studies” of newly FDA-approved and experimental drugs. Of these 70-plus reports:

    Sixty received direct pharmaceutical company funding.
    Fifty were written or co-written by a current employee of a pharmaceutical company.
    Thirty-seven had lead writers who had, at some point, received speaking fees or other compensation from the subject of the study.

    Up until about the 1980s, the federal government was the primary financier of scientific research in the world of medicine. In the ’60s and ’70s, the federal government had a 70 percent share of scientific research. In 2013, that number finally dropped below the 50 percent mark.

    #Conflit_intérêt #Big_Pharma #Pubications

  • In Asia’s Fattest Country, Nutritionists Take Money From Food Giants - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/23/health/obesity-malaysia-nestle.html

    The research exemplified a practice that began in the West and has moved, along with rising obesity rates, to developing countries: deep financial partnerships between the world’s largest food companies and nutrition scientists, policymakers and academic societies.
    Continue reading the main story
    Planet Fat
    Articles in this series are exploring the causes and the consequences of rising obesity rates around the world.

    A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico’s Soaring Obesity
    DEC 11
    She Took On Colombia’s Soda Industry. Then She Was Silenced.
    NOV 13
    The Global Siren Call of Fast Food
    OCT 2
    Obesity Was Rising as Ghana Embraced Fast Food. Then Came KFC.
    OCT 2
    As Global Obesity Rises, Teasing Apart Its Causes Grows Harder
    SEP 17

    See More »
    Photo
    Dr. Tee E Siong, in front of a restaurant menu at a mall outside Kuala Lumpur, heads the Nutrition Society of Malaysia, which is financed in large part by some of the world’s largest food companies. Credit Rahman Roslan for The New York Times

    As they seek to expand their markets, big food companies are spending significant funds in developing countries, from India to Cameroon, in support of local nutrition scientists. The industry funds research projects, pays scholars consulting fees, and sponsors most major nutrition conferences at a time when sales of processed foods are soaring. In Malaysia sales have increased 105 percent over the past five years, according to Euromonitor, a market research company.

    Similar relationships have ignited a growing outcry in the United States and Europe, and a veritable civil war in the field between those who take food industry funding and those who argue that the money manipulates science and misleads policymakers and consumers. But in developing countries, where government research funding is scarce and there is less resistance to the practice, companies are doubling down in their efforts.

    But some nutritionists say Malaysia’s dietary guidelines, which Dr. Tee helped craft, are not as tough on sugar as they might otherwise be. They tell people to load up on grains and cereals, and to limit fat to less than 20 to 30 percent of daily calories, a recommendation that was removed from dietary guidelines in the United States in 2015 after evidence emerged that low-fat diets don’t curb obesity and may contribute to it.

    Corporate funding of nutrition science in Malaysia has weakened the case against sugar and processed foods, said Rohana Abdul Jalil, a Harvard-trained diet expert based in the rural state of Kelantan, where obesity is as high as in the biggest cities.

    “There’s never been an explicit, aggressive campaign against sugar,” she said.

    #Nutrition #Conflit_intérêt #Malaysie #Nestlé

  • Glyphosate : révélations sur les failles de l’expertise européenne
    http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2017/11/26/glyphosate-revelations-sur-les-failles-de-l-expertise-europeenne_5220696_324

    En septembre, la défiance a atteint son paroxysme. Une ONG autrichienne, Global 2000, a révélé, documents à l’appui, que de longs passages du rapport d’évaluation officiel sur la toxicité du glyphosate étaient parfaitement identiques au dossier déposé par Monsanto pour solliciter le renouvellement de son produit. Son surlignage coloré met en évidence une centaine de pages copiées-collées par les agences européennes.

    Or ces pages sont précisément celles qui innocentent le produit : ni toxique pour la reproduction, ni cancérogène, ni génotoxique – une capacité à endommager l’ADN qui peut entraîner des cancers. C’est sur la base de cette évaluation que l’Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments (EFSA) avait acquitté le glyphosate à l’automne 2015. Et l’opinion de cette agence, déterminante, constitue le socle du verdict attendu lundi 27 novembre. A moins qu’il s’agisse, mot pour mot, de l’opinion d’un employé de Monsanto. C’est ce que notre enquête, en remontant la piste de ces copiés-collés, permet de démontrer.

    Devant plus de trois cents personnes, José Tarazona, le chef de l’unité des pesticides de l’agence, prend la parole dans une atmosphère pesante. Les « allégations de copié-collé et de plagiat », plaide celui qui a surpervisé le travail de l’agence sur le glyphosate, sont le fait de « gens qui ne comprennent pas le processus ». A l’assistance médusée, il explique que cette pratique relève de la routine : « Les parties qui devaient être copiées ont été copiées et celles qui devaient être modifiées ont été modifiées. » Toutes les agences, apprend-on ce jour-là, se serviraient du fichier des industriels comme point de départ puis, après vérifications, l’amenderaient. Ou pas.

    Les experts de l’Etat rapporteur doivent ainsi passer au crible les données qu’il contient ; essentiellement deux types de données de nature très différente. D’une part les résultats de tests de toxicité commandités et financés par les firmes. Protégés par le secret commercial, ils ne sont accessibles, sous le sceau de la confidentialité, qu’aux experts des agences. Autrement dit : eux seuls ont à la fois l’autorisation et la responsabilité de les vérifier.

    D’autre part, le règlement européen demande aux firmes de sélectionner les études scientifiques indépendantes les plus pertinentes, publiées dans les revues savantes, et d’en fournir des « résumés critiques ». Le pays rapporteur analyse l’ensemble, rédige un rapport préliminaire, le transmet à l’EFSA. L’agence européenne supervise ensuite la relecture par les experts des Etats membres. Enfin, après corrections et validation, elle endosse et publie le rapport définitif.

    L’article est publié un an plus tard, en 2013. Le texte est identique à celui qui figure dans le dossier fourni par la Glyphosate Task Force aux autorités européennes en 2012. Il correspond à cette fameuse sélection d’études indépendantes restituées sous la forme de « résumés critiques ». Seulement voilà : presque toutes ces études y sont si sévèrement « critiquées » qu’elles ont été jugées « non fiables », et donc écartées.

    « Les trois quarts des soixante études de génotoxicité publiées dans la littérature scientifique ont rapporté que le glyphosate ou des herbicides à base de glyphosate causaient des dégâts sur l’ADN, explique Helmut Burtscher, toxicologue de l’ONG Global 2000, et le premier à avoir relevé les similitudes entre les deux rapports. Mais elles ont été considérées comme “non pertinentes” ou “non fiables”. »

    #Glyphosate #Monsanto #Conflit_intérêt #Régulation #Manipulations_scientifiques

  • Whaddya Know, the Bezos-Owned Washington Post Is Publishing Amazon Press Releases and Pretending It’s Journalism | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/media/whaddya-know-bezos-owned-washington-post-publishing-amazon-press-releases-

    When a major paper of record such as the Washington Post reports on this massive story, one would want it to seek out disinterested, outside voices to provide perspective on the rush to woo the Seattle-based company. This is especially true since the Post is directly owned by Amazon CEO and chief stockholder Jeff Bezos, giving the paper a clear reason to encourage generous bids to their boss.

    The entire crux of the online retail giant’s case to city governments—and, more importantly, their citizens—is how much positive contribution its second headquarters will make to the local economy. As such, establishing the magnitude of that impact is a crucial job for news outlets.

    So where did the Post turn for this hugely consequential number? An Amazon press release.

    Twice in two articles, DC-based Post reporter Jonathan O’Connell referenced massive, sexy dollar amounts on how much Amazon might bring to local economies:

    “Amazon has contributed $30 billion to the local economy [of Seattle] and as much as $55 billion more in spinoff benefits.” (10/19/17)
    “To accommodate the company’s growth in Seattle, taxpayers funded hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements, although Amazon directly contributed $30 billion to the local economy.” (10/23/17)

    The fact that neither reference had a link or a citation was a red flag. The figures could be derived by adding up numbers in an Amazon press release O’Connell had linked to as a source for a separate claim about which cities were submitting bids. When asked via Twitter where he got the figures, O’Connell linked to a different Amazon press release with the same totals, but added something about talking to “econ folks.” (When asked which “econ folks,” O’Connell didn’t respond.)

    #Médias #Propriété #Conflit_intérêt #Amazon

  • Distorted Science: Does CBD Change to THC in the Stomach, and Who Benefits By Claiming It Does? | Alternet
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/gut-check-does-cbd-change-thc-stomach

    In 2016, a new journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research published a paper suggesting that non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) converts to psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the stomach. The controversial paper was coauthored by several scientists employed by Zynerba Pharmaceuticals in Devin, Pennsylvania. It was not the first time that researchers addressed this issue.

    But the authors may have succeeded in advancing the agenda of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, the company that funded their research. Zynerba disclosed in a press release (April 12, 2016) that it was developing a transdermal delivery system that “avoids the gastrointestinal tract and potential stomach acid degradation of CBD into THC (associated with psychoactive effects).” In other words, Zynerba has a financial interest in depicting oral CBD, which is well tolerated in clinical research, as potentially harmful.

    #recherche_médicale #pharmacie #conflit_interêt

  • #Vaccin #anti-HPV : l’Agence européenne du médicament remise en question - A la une - Destination Santé
    https://destinationsante.com/vaccin-anti-hpv-lagence-europeenne-medicament-remise-question.html

    Selon la parole d’experts médicaux danois* relayée ce 9 décembre dans les colonnes du Monde, les complications rapportées suite à l’administration du vaccin protégeant du cancer du col de l’utérus n’ont pas été traitées avec la rigueur scientifique nécessaire par l’Agence européenne du médicament (EMA). L’autorité aurait en effet modifié une expertise sur ce même vaccin. Motif pour lequel des médecins, chercheurs et institutions danois ainsi que le Nordic Cochran Center ont porté plainte contre l’EMA ce 5 décembre.

    Des effets indésirables « rares mais sérieux »

    Cette affaire remonte à l’été 2015. Date à laquelle un médecin de Copenhague fait remonter aux autorités nationales des effets indésirables rapportés par des jeunes femmes vaccinées contre le #HPV. Précisément, « plusieurs dizaines de cas de jeunes filles ayant présenté, dans les mois suivants [l’injection], des troubles spécifiques ». Soient des cas « de syndrome de fatigue chronique, de syndrome douloureux régional complexe ou de syndrome de tachycardie orthostatique posturale ». Ces atteintes entrainent d’importantes répercussions dans le quotidien comme une fatigue accrue, des douleurs musculaires et articulaires chroniques. Mais aussi d’inhabituels épisodes de vertiges, de nausées, de migraines et de troubles de la mémoire.

    Les médecins et chercheurs danois ont ensuite compilé tous les effets indésirables rapportés par les femmes ayant bénéficié d’un vaccin anti-HPV (#Gardasil® et #Cervarix®). Ils ont ensuite saisi la Commission européenne, chargée de missionner l’EMA dans l’éclaircissement de l’origine de ce trouble. Suite à cette démarche, le verdict de l’agence européenne tombe : aucun lien de cause à effet n’existe entre le vaccin et les complications répertoriées.

    #conflit_intérêt #santé

  • Revealed: Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-fracking-industry-bosses-at-heart-of-coalition-8707589.html

    The coalition may be promoting the controversial practice of fracking for gas because senior figures from that industry sit in the heart of Government, campaigners have warned.

    The former BP boss Lord Browne, Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw and BG Group director Baroness Hogg have all been accused of the potential for conflicts of interest, as they hold senior advisory roles at a time when the Government is heavily promoting fracking. This involves fracturing tightly packed shale rock with a high-pressure water and chemical mixture to release oil and gas.

    #gaz_de_schiste #conflit_intérêt #lobby

  • Le fondateur de TechCrunch n’a pas peur des conflits d’intérêt :

    Michael Arrington’s Audacious Venture
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/media/michael-arringtons-audacious-venture.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

    When Michael Arrington, the editor of the popular Web site TechCrunch, told his bosses at AOL that he was forming a venture capital company to finance some of the technology start-ups that his site wrote about, they did not fire him or ask for his resignation. Instead, last week, they invested about $10 million in his fund.

    #presse #journalisme #blog #blogging #michael_arrington #capital_risque #aol #technologie #conflit_intérêt

    • Tu te rends compte, un conflit d’intérêt, chez nous les super-gentils de TechCrunch, mais c’est laughable ! (L’argument « laughable » semble se suffit à lui-même.)
      http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/06/the-end

      Earlier this evening, I wrote a post on my personal blog attempting to explain to those outside our company how TechCrunch actually works from an editorial perspective. The notion that Mike, or anyone else, investing in a company would dictate some sort of giant conflicted agenda is laughable. Literally. If Mike tried to get me to write some unreasonable post about a company he had invested in, I would laugh at him. But he would never do that. Ask Loic Le Meur. Ask Kevin Rose. Ask Shervin Pishevar. Ask Airbnb. Ask countless others. He didn’t get to where he is by being an idiot. He has gotten to where he is by being honest with his readers. Even if everyone doesn’t always agree with him, he has been honest. And he’s brought forth information that no one else has, even when it’s probably not in his best interest to do so.