I hadn't realized until recently that the United States is in the grip of a mania. But then I caught an infomercial that led me to books, a Web site, CDs, news coverage, and finally, to the writing of this editorial. I've discovered an irresistible and infuriating phenomenon: Kevin Trudeau.

Trudeau is the doyen of snake-oil salesmen. His current triple play, in which the television infomercial sells a book that in turn sells a Web site, reveals a virtuoso scam at work. What I watched is currently the most-shown infomercial on television, according to a report in the online magazine Salon.1 While he drops big hints about problems with the safety of the food supply, talks up natural cures for a multiplicity of diseases, and suggests that the pharmaceutical industry is suppressing said miracle cures, Trudeau's main purpose in the infomercial is to promote his book, Natural Cures...

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