“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?”
(Who is watching the watchers?)
My Amway story is a good one so it probably won’t make much news. And my experience with some of the MLM critics quite bad, which will surely stir up a fuss. But hey, adding some truth in the middle of a complicated discussion is only healthy.
First, I was on the Amway speakers’ circuit for several years, invited in by Dexter Yager. They wanted positive speeches, which didn’t raise any alarm bells for me. Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford spoke for them too, as well as all the other corporate speakers from Dennis Waitley to Zig Ziglar.
I got in the Amway business out of courtesy to Mr. Yager and found to my surprise that it could be fun. I was active for four years, going to the diamond level. I am not exactly sure but I think I sponsored my last person in 1985. Afterwards I “managed” my network until political activities took me away.
Since 1986 I have been researching and writing about American history and that is my love and my primary work now. But I still travel the world speaking and occasionally I am featured at these networking conventions, where I share what I have learned from the successful networkers like Jim Dornan, Tim Foley, Mitch Sala, James Vagy and others. In a way, I have been an amateur historian of networking too, watching and enjoying the rise, and sometimes fall, of the colorful people who build these networks. They all have amazing stories. One of them was once homeless and now a millionaire.
Now, let me say this about a couple of the “journalists” who attack MLM’s. Glenn Hauman runs a site with the subtitle, “elevating the discourse.” And Bill Berkowitz writes articles like “BornAliveTurth.org plays lose with the facts in targeting Obama” for Media Transparency. I can’t vouch for what they say about others but years ago they posted articles attacking me with false information. And for years they have maintained these sites and Hauman, at least, was told of the errors and refused to correct the information or take down his site.
Until yesterday I thought their source was Evelyn Pringle, an online neo journalist, famous for her attacks on Barack Obama, who in turn took her information from the book Merchants of Deception written by Eric Scheibeler. She cleverly prefaces her remarks by talking about Scheibeler’s “new book” and then follows her article with a solemn source note saying that “with prior permission, this article contains a large amount of information taken directly from Eric Scheibeler’s website ….. and his book, Merchants of Deception.”
But, as you will see, it is not what it seems.
Here are some of the things the Pringle, Hauman and Berkowitz websites say about me.
That I am a Baptist pastor. (Nope.)
That I co-founded Amway in France. (Nope.)
That I started another business in France with a friend. (Nope. Actually, I did have a friend who started a new company but I argued against it. But his motives were good, he was trying to correct things that he didn’t think were fair in his last MLM and after it was done, I did give motivational speeches at his conventions. He was a friend and he still is.)
That I supplied this new company with Amway products. (Nope.)
That in 1991, arrest warrants were issued for me in France. (Ha. Nope. I have never been arrested anywhere.)
And that after the arrest warrants, I have not been back to France since. (Nope. Actually, I have been going to France uninterrupted all my adult life, my wife’s family live there. Sometimes we spend our holidays there.)
All of these facts could have been easily verified. Criminal background checks are available to anyone, passport stamps show when you go in and out of a country. There are eyewitnesses, credit card receipts. This isn’t rocket science.
Now, in an earlier version of her article, Pringle insisted that this all took place in 1986 and in spite of this criminal behavior I was appointed to the senior staff of the George H. W. Bush White House. Then other writers apparently decided it was too farfetched that I would pass the FBI and CIA background checks so the dates were changed, saying that it happened in 1991. By the way, I was a Republican Party nominee for congress in 1992. I assure you that such information would not have been suppressed in a political campaign.
When most writers make mistakes in writings or blogs, they correct them as soon as possible. In fact, I am even today, correcting this blog from yesterday. But in this case, writers such as Evelyn Pringle and Glenn Hauman, keep their stories going, even after both have been contacted and told of the mistake. Both refuse to add corrections or take down their sites with this false information.
Let me say this, not all MLM’s are good and not all MLM critics are bad. And not all of them are good and bad all the time. In fact, in 2005, when I pointed out this false story to the MLM Watchdog they posted a correction, exposing the false story of Pringle.
But now, it seems, even MLM Watchdog got their facts wrong. Like me, they read Pringle’s story and assumed her information came from Scheibeler. One can’t blame them. And – this is too much – she didn’t correct it. It’s been sitting there since 2005. After all, the suggestion that it came from Scheibeler gives her a little journalistic cover.
So now for another dose of truth. Mr. Scheibeler and I finally talked on the telephone last night. He seems to be a man of integrity and scholarship who likes to get his facts right. No, he assured me. He was not the source for Pringle’s article. In fact, Scheibeler said, the name, Doug Wead, does not appear anywhere in his book at all. What? My apologies to Mr. Scheibeler.
So now, it turns out, that not only is this story bogus, but its apparent sourcing is a clever bait and switch. So why? Why would someone persist with a false story for 23 years and not correct it? Could it be the very things that dominate their arguments against Amway and other MLM’s. Could it be money and politics? Well, it kinda makes ya wonder. Who are the real “Merchants of Deception?”
Next post on the subject? Are MLM”s evil?