NaturalNews’ Mike Adams threatens Forbes, GLP for ‘libeling’ what scientists call ‘quack’ health empire

| May 16, 2014 |
Via "Encyclopedia of American Loons" Via "Encyclopedia of American Loons"

Mike Adams is a science gene-ius. Just ask him. But be careful; the infamous “Health Ranger,” who has acquired a sizable fortune spreading conspiracy theories and selling often dubious and dangerous “cures” on his monumentally popular NaturalNews.com website, is in a hissy mood.

If Adams is true to his claim that he’s a new man, committed to serving science, he may have no choice but to sue himself for defamation and cyber bullying. But more on that later.

Adams is certainly threatening to sue me and Forbes magazine for an article I posted to the Forbes site on April 3 that mostly replicated an “Inside Story” and a separate detailed fact summary profile of Adams that had appeared on the Genetic Literacy Project website a few days before.

I’ve been quiet about the libel threat for six weeks, but Keith KIoor over at his Discover blog has now broken the news with quotes from various threat letters and a link to a 29-page summary brief that backs up in embarrassing detail—for Mr. Adams—his history of promoting crank cures and silly conspiracy theories. Read it if you have any question about the accuracy of any of the milquetoast criticisms that I noted in my two GLP reports or the Forbes story on Adams for which he’s threatening to sue me. He has also added a bizarre response (and sad–this guy needs friends) from Adams.

Adams may be considered a joke in the science community and among science journalists, but there is no denying his influence. According to Alexa, his website is ranked around 2000 globally and is the 800 most popular website in the United States.

Kloor highlights a lot of the background on Adams’s dicey reputation and the messy details on the suit threats, so no need to go into them here. What’s not mentioned is that the threat letters came via a well-known Washington law firm, Emord & Associates, which specializes in representing the loosey-goosey supplements, “natural products” and alternative medicine industries. Alternative products and medicine purveyors now sell upwards of $30 billion of often useless and sometimes dangerous goods every year in the US alone—products that remain largely unregulated and unlabeled despite their drug-like impact on health—in part because of lobbying by Emord and similar firms. They target the biotech industry (Emord is the law firm providing legal advice to the backers of the Vermont GMO labeling law, claiming its Constitutionality will be upheld in court) and conventional agriculture to present the alternative health movement as whiter than snow. My report, Kloor’s story and hundreds more by the country’s top journalists paint a more realistic picture.

If you’re looking for some background on these fast-growing but notorious industries, I suggest you pick up the powerful book, Do You Believe in Magic: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine by Paul Offit, the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day. Offit is also the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Needless to say Dr. Offit knows what he’s talking about; for the most part Adams and his ilk—Dr. Joseph Mercola and his equally dubious website Mercola.com comes to mind (here is his profile on QuackWatch)—are just hucksters, whatever they might believe of themselves.

This is not just my view by the way. My comments pale in comparison to what you can find about Adams on the Internet. Just put “Mike Adams” and “quack” in Google and have a field day (13,800 results). As my original Forbes and GLP stories documented and as elaborated by Kloor, there may be no public figure in this notorious field who has faced more ridicule than Adams. His website has been ‘honored’ as the most quack promoting ‘natural products’ country store on the web. That’s now earned him a place on the Dr. Oz show, which itself seems committed to promoting the most fringe views about health, medicine and food. Adams was a guest on Oz on May 13 in an attempt to promote his new “heavy metals food laboratory.”

Adams told Oz that he wants to “eliminate science illiteracy” because it “really concerns me as a scientist” (Earth to Adams: you’re not a scientist; you are a supplements salesman). He calls for more “science education in America,” which we all support but could put him out of business sooner rather than later if it comes to pass.

Earlier this week after Adams appeared on the Oz show, surgical oncologist David Gorski—MD and PhD—called NaturalNews.com “one of the quackiest, if not the quackiest site, on the Internet.”

Just when I thought that Dr. Oz couldn’t go any lower, couldn’t invite a bigger quack on his show to fawn over and publicize, couldn’t sell out more to the forces of quackery, he does. … [I]t was a fawning puff piece, painting Adams as a “whistleblower” (he’s nothing of the sort; he’s a supplement entrepreneur), as someone who “bucks conventional wisdom” and “researches the truth” in his “quest to be ahead of the curve.” We also learn that Adams is someone whose website gets 7 million unique visits per month, which makes Mike Adams the Dr. Oz of the quackosphere.

Obviously, Adams’ next money-making scheme is to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about supplements, the better to sell his “clean” superfoods, supplements, and other products. His appearance on Dr. Oz’s show is clearly designed to promote his brand, and promote it he did, with Oz’s enthusiastic help. The segment had a scary title about “poison in America’s food.” There was plenty of conspiracy-mongering about companies trying to shut him down and the FDA being clueless….

In any case, a lot of nonsense and kissing of Adams’ posterior are packed into Dr. Oz’s brief segment with him. I never knew Oz could do a colonoscopy with his face, but he’s certainly made sure that Adams doesn’t have a single suspicious polyp all the way up to his terminal ileum.

Read the rest of the Gorski piece. It’s a classic. But you can bypass news filters like me, Kloor, Gorski or Oz and go directly to Adams’s website for a laugh rush. His latest campaign: warning America about falling for science hucksters.Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.46.11 AM

Which brings me to the title of the piece and the question I posed: Will Adams sue himself for libeling himself? After all, if his goal is to put anti-science purveyors out of business–and those who he claims present “blatantly fictional, distorted or wildly exaggerated” anti-science information—why not go after the person who many scientists and journalists contend is the most egregious perpetrator of “cyber bullying” and “harassment.” If Adam is prepared to mount a campaign, perhaps he should target whatever deranged sounding person wrote the following:

GMO-promoting scientists are the most despicable humanoid creatures to have ever walked the surface of this planet. To call them “human” is an insult to humanity. They are ANTI-human. They are demonic. They are forces of evil that walk among the rest of us, parading as authorities when in their hearts and souls they are actually corporate cowards and traitors to humankind. To pad their own pockets, they would put at risk the very future of sustainable life on our planet…and they do it consciously, insidiously. They feed on death, destruction, suffering and pain. They align with the biotech industry precisely because they know that no other industry is as steeped in pure evil as the biotech industry. GMO pushers will lie, cheat, steal, falsify and even mass-murder as many people as it takes to further their agenda of total global domination over the entire food supply… at ANY cost.

I predict a future where—and for the record I DO NOT encourage this—shipments of GM seeds to farmers are raided and destroyed by activists. I predict Monsanto employees being publicly named and shamed  on websites. I predict—but DO NOT CONDONE — scientists who conduct research for Monsanto being threatened, intimidated and even physically attacked. Again, for the record, I DO NOT IN ANY WAY condone such behavior, but I predict it will emerge as an inevitable reaction to the unfathomable evil being committed by the GMO industry and all its co-conspirators. The “Army of the 12 monkeys” may become reality.

Who wrote that classic example of cyber bullying? Oops. The above screed was written by none other than Adams himself. Yes, science needs you, Mike. Please, send yourself a libel threat letter. Let’s shut that ‘quack’ and cyber bully down.

NOTE: Adam has (sort of) just responded by calling anyone who does not believe in conspiracy theories “mentally retarded” and simultaneously touting as groundbreaking the notorious quackery of anti-vaccine promoter Andrew Wakefield and Gilles-Erich Seralini, the French scientist whose study “documenting” the alleged cancer causing dangers of GMOs was retracted. Read Adams’ latest screed–Why NOT believing in conspiracies is a sure sign of mental retardation]

Follow @JonEntine on Twitter

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.

  • First Officer

    Glad to be of help. :)

  • BBoUH

    Yikes! Sounds like someone has been over-indulging in “natural products”.

  • Michael Fest

    In my opinion, it should be interesting to see how Adams promotes scientific literacy and how he would reconcile that with such a blatant attempt to stifle information that points out his pseudoscientific quackery.
    Surely he knows that the lawsuit will fail and his intentions seem to be nothing more than to protect his ability to continue to dupe the gullible and discourage those that call him out by abusing the legal system to put financial burdens on tHose who comment against him.
    This really has the potential to backfire on him and I would hope that it does to serve as an example to anyone else who would stoop to such dishonest methods.

    • PositronicGirl

      When he says “scientific literacy” what he means is “I want people to be taught and 100% agree with whatever I think”. It’s a common theme for conspiracy theorists. They say vague statements anyone could agree with but if people don’t take it as seeing things their way they explode because everyone’s against them and it’s some kind of war against the truth.

  • Boris Ogon

    Time to drop a line to ken@popehat.com.

  • First Officer

    Isn’t Emord & Associates the same law firm used by supporters of Vermont’s GMO labeling law to claim constitutional muster for it? Sounds like they got what they only wanted to hear.

  • DavidAppell

    Jon: Hang in there. Stand up to the bully as long as you can.

  • Davis Goodman

    I really don’t think there is anything you can do or write to make Mike Adams change his mind about how much of an amazing awesome super-scientist mega magic non-bullying scientific doctor he is. Regardless of his insane theories, banana conspiracies and total disrespect for evidence, research, testing and health controls … he most certainly is the woo-doctor of the decade.

  • mem_somerville

    I’m glad you’ve gone public with this Jon. But I don’t understand why folks who were with Simon Singh, or with other bloggers who have had stories pulled, seem absent on this.

  • Martin Wagner

    Hopefully you’ve got anti-SLAPP laws in your state, as Adams’ legal intimidation amounts to exactly that.

    • Jon Entine

      He needs to file for me to take that route. Best for anyone and everyone to WRITE about this in blogs and articles. Adams is trying to mainstream his “quack” views (that’s how scientists and other science journalists describe his website), and his appearance on Dr. Oz is a major step in that direction. My fate is one thing; I’m at least as concerned about how fringe activist/salesmen are undermining science, and that’s what those who care and are in a position to do so need to write about.

  • Desiree Stephanie Kramer

    Jon I liked your initial piece – but I love this one …I went to a Hay House publishing event with Doreen Virtue and John Holland during which aledged angel expert ( according to Hay House ) told the mother of suicidal child that those who talk of suicide do not do it. They just want attention, they need counseling but they don’t ever do it>” Doreen virtue went on to after the mother of the 20 yr old suicidal black male told her the kid had smoked pot – to tell us all that low vibration pot was factor in this but she offered the Mom help for free via her latest book. A book on Mother Mary that she told the mom if placed unread would help heal the energy of the home and the situation. Medium John Holland sat right on the stage and did absolutely nothing to correct the false info on suicide going out.. not did any Hay House staff member. When I wrote Hay House and John Holland over and over to get them to do something to correct falso info on suicide given in front of 700 people Virtue threatened to sue me and I have witnesses to her statement so I told her bring it on.. she never did. When I did research I found Virtue had posted anti-vaccine posts on flu to the point one mom wrote her on FB and asked her what she felt on vaccines for children. Virtue wrote her back if she had small children now she would not vaccinate them for anything and she would home school them or send to the Waldorf’s. That post was up for I think 8-9 months until the Measles started to sweep. Virtue claims to hear and see people’s guardian angels and Hay House tells people she is real angel communicator and an international angel expert so when she imparts medical info it can be something that people could take as from angels ..Virtue has posts up discouraging people from flu shots and I found how she used Natural News as support on why angels told her to take elderberries..This post could cause people not to get flu shots who might have .. https://www.facebook.com/DoreenVirtue444/posts/557442077630441. https://www.facebook.com/DoreenVirtue444/posts/473263562714960 Virtue gave out an “important angel message” in Australia not to get flu shots according to this blogger.. http://www.leahrreynolds.com/blog/2013/01/16/Angel-Visions-Meeting-Doreen-Virtue.aspx

    Jon no mediums is calling Virtue out even when she is selling ” mediumship” for only $400 via dvd via her “Angel University” where you can the via her classes buy the gifts of angels or mediumship ..http://angeluniversity.com/…. Medium James Van Praagh has a book & deck out w. Doreen Virtue & actively plugs Doreen Virtue as a teacher for them all and his soul sister. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XrjKPvL0zg

    Jon that I know of JVP did nothing to post that he did not agree with Doreen Virtue’s anti-vaccine quackery even as people across our nation came down with the flu and died and when some got Measles. When he heard of her suicide comment in Seattle he seemingly blew it off carrying not if anyone died due to false suicide info. Money seems his true god .. all while he claims to talks to Heaven..

    He teaches everyone is psychic but not everyone is a medium but has no problem endorsing her in seemingly fraud against the field itself by his own definition of who is a medium …

    Jon … keep calling out the crap @ Natural News before new agers die due to lack of vaccinations or proper medical care please..The ripple from Natural news is now rippling further in Van Praagh tossing his fans base to Doreen Virtue… with her posts up directing people to see Natural News as where angels would want you to get your health news from. its dangerous as heck and nothing Heaven would approve of in my opinion. Hay House CEO Reid Tracy seemingly cares only for the money to be made whoring angels or he would have come out and publically have corrected Doreen Virtue suicide comment in Seattle Sept 22.2012 – instead he made excuses for money. He knows about her anti-vaccine posts that are up and her wrong suicide info and he still has Hay House plugging her as angel expert and clearly hearing/seeing people’s guardian angels at Hay House events.. Reid Tracy knows Doreen Virtue leads people to Natural News and it seems Hay House does nothing to protect life … even though Ried wrote me and told me Hay House has a policy the readers are not supposed to treat or diagnosis.. but he doesn’t really mean that.. watch..Notice the Hay House logo in a video where Virtue encourages people to see medication from medical doctor as medicating kids into submission . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4ggAP_PZFU Watch a woman who Hay House claims she is real angel communicator and angel expert who claims she is a ” Christian” plug a reader class where she encourages people to see themselves as not even fully human to the core of their soul ..maybe you are an incarnated angel, or leprachan or wise one or star person ( most likely if you fall for this shit – you are just in need of mental health counseling but if you want angel therapy – you can arrange that through her website or become a certified angel therapist for on sale now only $950 http://angeluniversity.com/shop/ ) – http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=realm+reader+&FORM=HDRSC3#view=detail&mid=07991CE2B04CE55E82E807991CE2B04CE55E82E8 This hard to describe bull makes millions of dollars a year for Hay House so no one calls it out ..Now Internationally known medium James Van Praagh is endorsing it as real…so why wouldn’t his fans take Virtue’s lead seeing her connects to Natural News to take their medical advice from natural News instead of real medical doctors?

    • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

      Keep up the good fight!

  • Michael J LaMastra

    Countersuit

  • Pixie

    Entine is a whore: a propagandist paid by Big Chem to present a sterilized, one-sided view of the story who bullies and insults those who disagree with him and censors comments on his articles. This comment will be removed just like he deletes comments that bring up things he doesn’t wish others to see.

    • Shang Tsung

      Please read this piece on Mike Adams’ site promoting applying a highly caustic, flesh-eating substance to your skin as a “magical cure for cancer”: http://www.naturalnews.com/039803_Indian_black_salve_cancer_cure_herb.html

      Then weep bitterly about how fucking wrong you are.

    • rick

      I agree Entine can be direct and abrasive in his approach, but Health Ranger is a snake oil salesman.

    • Cairenn Day

      What evidence do you have that he is paid by ‘Big Chem”?

      Removing folks that post lies is not censorship. Get out of your echo chambers and listen to everyone.

    • First Officer

      Are you paid by Big Org?

    • wiwille

      And yet your comment is still here. Mike’s site is the one who deletes comments and bans people for simply disagreeing with his lunacy.

  • Mark-John Clifford

    Mike Adams and his site needs to be shuttered. Although without him and it who could we really write about? Then again there are so many nuts out there. I read his stuff and just laugh about everything he states and posts.

    Thanks for this post and it really hits home. I spend a great deal of time having to re-educate people who have read and believed in this nuts claims.

  • Loren Eaton

    Hey Adams…
    ‘Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU
    CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN……SCIENCE!’

  • Darryl Sinclair

    This writer has let the GMO’s get to it’s head… Sadly, I think such writers would do well to listen more than they write… cuz, it’s painfully obvious where this came from…

  • Cairenn Day

    Many in the anti GMO and ‘natural’ food movement are bullies. I sort of hope this suit can go to court or at least a counter suit can. Someone needs to stop him and the other fear mongers. Talk about GREEDY, they are more so than any company is, even the hated banks.

  • Ben L

    I’ve co-presented at vaccine conferences with Paul Offit, and the painful irony of the internet is that people everywhere get vehement about wanting ‘all the information,’ but then there’s no way to screen the legitimate science created and discussed by people who can understand it, from the rest of the content.

  • Aaron Jacob Willman

    holy shit! “the army of the 12 monkeys…” taking inspiration from a Terry Gilliam film where the namesakes were affected and petty environmentalists, that weren’t the main cause for upheaval? …this guy is out to lunch at an organic, vegan, and macrobiotic buffet! …why couldn’t he have picked Time Bandits, instead?