Huckabee Defends Himself on Email Scams

I’ve written many times about the many scams pushed by right wing figures and websites to their mailing lists, including Mike Huckabee. Questioned about the fact that he has sold his mailing list to a long list of quacks and frauds, Huckabee offered a lame comparison:

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee argued on Wednesday that he had not been wrong to allow his mailing list to be used to peddle cancer cures based on Bible verses because it was similar to selling legitimate medical equipment…

On Wednesday, CNN host Jake Tapper asked the candidate if he had lost credibility by attaching his name those types of marketing efforts.

“I never signed that letter,” Huckabee said of the email selling cancer cures. “It’s a huge email list that I developed over many years. And we did, in fact, rent it out to entities.”

“But my gosh, that’s like saying, you run some ads on CNN, do you personally agree with all the ads that run on CNN? I doubt you do,” he continued. “I’m sure there’s some for maybe, I don’t know, catheters or adult diapers, they’re not products you use or you necessarily believe in. I don’t hold you responsible for that.”…

But Huckabee insisted that it was not fair to hold him responsible when “people buy the advertising space.”

First of all, the equivalence between ads for medical devices that are tested and work well and ridiculous scams for cancer cures is simply absurd. Secondly, there is a significant difference in how such advertising works. The email scams are not like, say, web advertising, where the site has no control over the ads that show up (most, in fact, are triggered by the particular person’s web browsing, not by the site’s focus or keywords). The process for selling one’s email list are quite different.

First, those lists are filled with people who signed up because they see Huckabee as a figure who can be trusted. Second, they have every right and the full ability to say no when someone seeks to buy an ad. When they allow a company to sell get rich quick schemes, fake medical scams and similar things, they are using the credibility they’ve built up with their audience to sell them things that will objectively harm them. And Huckabee doesn’t just sell the list, he personally endorses some of this bullshit. From the New York Times:

In a wood-paneled study lined with books and framed family photos, the prospective presidential candidate looks into the camera. “I’m Mike Huckabee,” he says with all the folksy charm that propelled a career as a preacher, politician and broadcaster.

But this is no campaign ad. It is an Internet infomercial for a dubious diabetes treatment, in which Mr. Huckabee, who is contemplating a run for the Republican nomination in 2016, tells viewers to ignore “Big Pharma” and instead points them to a “weird spice, kitchen-cabinet cure,” consisting of dietary supplements.

“Let me tell you, diabetes can be reversed,” Mr. Huckabee says. “I should know because I did it. Today you can, too.”…

In his diabetes video, Mr. Huckabee promotes the “Diabetes Solution Kit,” a $19.95 booklet with advice on eating, exercise and dietary supplements. “Just sit tight,” he says in the two-minute, 40-second pitch, “because in a moment, a free presentation is coming up.” He promises it will reveal “all the natural secrets that are backed by real science that really work.”

But rather than science, the second, lengthier video peddles a diabetes “cure” consisting of cinnamon and chromium picolinate. Both the American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association warn that dietary and herbal supplements are ineffective for treating diabetes, which is an epidemic in the United States and is tied to obesity.

“Most big pharma companies don’t know squat about how to reverse your diabetes,” the video says.

Mr. Huckabee, who lost more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2003, says in the video, “Techniques just like you’re going to find in this kit worked for me.”

Asked this month at an appearance in Iowa if he had used cinnamon and chromium picolinate to reverse his diabetes, he said he had not. “No, I reversed it by taking better care of my health,” he said. Pressed about the dietary supplements promoted by the company he endorses, for which he was paid an undisclosed fee, he said: “I’ll do anything that promotes good health. Yes, sir.”

Huckabee is simply lying to people in order to promote a fake health scam that might actually harm them, especially if they follow his advice and ignore actual medical science because they think that this will work. And he’s going it solely to make money. Hell yes he’s personally responsible for that damage.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    I watched the interview. Bonus points to Jake Tapper for working in the word “Hucksterism.”

  • Ibis3, These verbal jackboots were made for walking

    How can that possibly be legal?

  • Artor

    Your headline is wrong, Ed. I read through that bullshit, and I don’t see anywhere Hucksterbee defended anything. He tried, and he doubled-down, but an actual defense of his sleaze is nowhere to be found.

  • John Pieret

    I’ll do anything that promotes good health. Yes, sir.

    Including supporting the Affordable Care Act?

  • John Hinkle

    My gosh, don’t you know that money grubbing is fine as long as you’re pious? And you use down homey phrases like “my gosh”?

  • StevoR

    people who signed up because they see Huckabee as a figure who can be trusted.

    More fool them. But I still pity the fools.

    Also Huckabee exploiting folks gullibility – yeah that’s a guy that should be POTUS – not.

    Huckabee character test – FAIL.

  • StevoR

    John Pieret : “Including supporting the Affordable Care Act?”

    Ohh he would do anything for good health – but he Won’t. Do. That.

    (Even though its completely right and he should.)

  • Larry

    Apparent, the Huckster and Dr. Oz subscribe to the same medical journals promoting miraculous cures.


  • Scientismist

    But my gosh, that’s like saying, you run some ads on CNN, do you personally agree with all the ads that run on CNN? I doubt you do..?

    And gee whilickers, you’d still be happy if Mike the Huckster appointed CNN as the contractor to run the privatized CDC, the NIH, and the Ministry of Truth, even if they did advise people to ignore their doctors and throw away their medication, wouldn’t you?

  • Raging Bee

    But my gosh, that’s like saying, you run some ads on CNN, do you personally agree with all the ads that run on CNN?

    Well, yeah, if CNN runs an ad, they could well end up having to answer questions about the product or service advertised. Not sure why Hucksterbee suddenly has a problem with a concept the rest of us have had to deal with all our adult lives.

  • moarscienceplz

    One snake oil salesman giving a leg up to other snake oil salesmen. Come on, it’s free enterprise, Ed!

    Huckabee has worked diligently prospecting for his rich vein of mouth-breathers. You can’t deny him his God-given right to squeeze every possible penny out of them.

  • coffeehound

    Ohh he would do anything for good health – but he Won’t. Do. That.

    Great. Meatloaf in my ears for the rest of the day.

  • GuineaPigDan .

    If during the 2016 election Huckabee starts to play up how pro-life he is, this is an issue he should be slammed on hard. He cares about protecting the lives of the unborn, but not protecting the lives of people that are already born from sham cures.