In the United States we don’t get a lot of news from foreign sources. I’ve never seen a copy of a newspaper published in Sri Lanka. Perhaps the same is true of foreigners who may not be as informed about life in America – although the internet has helped democratize the process of news dissemination.
Making the assumption that matters of interest in the United States might not hold the same importance to my foreign readers, you’ve probably never heard of an American by the name of Kevin Trudeau. In fact, I suspect there are a fair number of my countrymen who are similarly ignorant of this individual.
If you are an insomniac or just a television junkie, at some point over the last decade you’ve probably seen one of Trudeau’s infomercials. For those of you abroad who may not know about infomercials, they are the advertising version of reality TV, normally lasting for one half hour.
A typical setting for an infomercial is a studio, the “pitchman” pushing the product is most often male and is usually accompanied by an attractive, younger female who asks insipid questions of the host or oohs as the host describes and normally demonstrates the product he is promoting. These might be vacuum cleaners, a kitchen appliance – or in Trudeau’s case – books. Kevin has written a number of these whose subject matter includes “unique ways to get out of debt,” “’natural cures’” that the health care industry doesn’t want you to know about” and, of course America’s favorite health issue, “no effort ways to lose weight.”
You can certainly understand the reason that Mr. Trudeau appeals to a wide audience. After all, being debt free, healthier and better looking are things that most of us would embrace as goals to which we would aspire. In fact, at his sentencing hearing yesterday in Chicago, the courtroom was packed with his supporters as the judge remanded him to ten years in prison.
Mr. Trudeau had previously been convicted of bilking the public out of $37 million. You see, what Mr. Trudeau promised to deliver the prospective buyer in his infomercials was substantially greater than the value of the advice which appeared in the printed word – or so the court found.
Mr. Trudeau has been imprisoned since his conviction late last year. In an impassioned twenty minute speech he said that, “Prison has changed me. If I ever write another book I promise that there will be no puffery, no embellishments, no lies and no mis-leading statements.” Sadly for Mr. Trudeau, that plea fell on the ears of a deaf judge who agreed with the prosecution’s recommendation that he receive the full ten year term.
I’ve seen a number of Mr. Trudeau’s infomercials though I’ve never purchased any of his writings. I can see how a person would be inclined, were they interested in the subject matter, to understand why he sold a lot of books. Mr. Trudeau is an outstanding pitchman. He’s the kind of person who is believable and could convince a farmer dealing with drought that he was the long awaited rainmaker.
But I couldn’t help thinking …
If we held the Congress and the president to the same standards regarding Obamacare as we held Mr. Trudeau, our correction facilities would be breaking out a lot of orange prison suits and we’d have a great number of political vacancies to fill.