He just may be the most influential—and many scientists and science journalists say one of the most irresponsible—voices in the crusade to demonize GMOs and undermine the advances of modern medicine. You may not know him by name but he is a titan in the booming alternative lifestyle business, running numerous websites promoting ‘natural’ products or alternative cures, many of them suspect, bogus or potentially dangerous.
His name is Mike Adams, the self-proclaimed Health Ranger, and his central hub—what amounts to his personal blog and general store—is NaturalNews.com, which offers a potpourri of offbeat theories about politics, science and health.
(See here, here, here, here and here for examples of persons, websites, products and cures promoted by Mike Adams and/or NaturalNews that mainstream scientists view as suspect, bogus or potentially dangerous.)
[Visit Mike Adams: GLP Facts for more background]
Adams, who appears to revel in headlines, even those that portray him as deranged, insinuated himself back in the news in late July with a full frontal attack on scientists and journalists who take a science-based perspective (as opposed to an ideological view) of agricultural biotechnology.
As journalist Keith Kloor wrote on July 22–Mike Adams, Monsanto, Nazis and a very disturbing article–Adams appears to have gone off the psychological deep end, calling for a mass uprising against agricultural biotechnology, including killing–yes, murder–of anyone–scientists, policy official or journalist–that wants to give the emerging technology a fair shake.
As Kloor writes in a follow up commentary on July 24: “The article was accompanied by Nazi imagery and horrible pictures of the Holocaust. Adams equated Hitler’s propagandists with today’s media outlets and journalists who “have signed on to accelerate heinous crimes being committed against humanity under the false promise of ‘feeding the world’ with toxic GMOs.”
“As if this wasn’t bad enough,” Kloor writes, “Adams then chillingly suggests (his emphasis)…”
that it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.
“This creepy, disturbing rant has taken a darker turn,” Kloor adds. “Today, I woke up to an update posted by Adams:
After this story was first published, someone has indeed launched a website that appears to be inspired by a suggestion from this story. The Monsanto Collaborators website lists the names of journalists and publications that the site says have contributed to the agricultural genocide of GMOs, comparing the 250,000+ suicides caused by GMOs to “genocide” and the Holocaust.
“Yeah, we can guess who that “someone” is,” Kloor writes. “This update by Adams singles out Jon Entine and the ‘Monsanto Collaborators’ website lists a number of publishers and journalists, including myself.”
Here is Kloor’s reactions to Adams first deranged post.
I really thought Mike Adams couldn’t write anything more possibly deranged than he already has at his Natural News website. (Readers of this blog have seen a freaky side of Adams.) Jon Entine has the scoop on his editorial output and alt-med empire. Entine’s piece, which Forbes cravenly took down (after Adams threatened to sue), asked if Adams was the “most ‘dangerous’ anti-science GMO critic?”
That was meant as a rhetorical question, since Adams spouts all manner of outrageous misinformation on GMOs. But after reading the latest piece on GMOs by Adams, I have to wonder if he is literally dangerous. Here’s the title of his piece:
Biotech genocide, Monsanto collaborators and the Nazi legacy of ‘science’ as justification for murder
Here’s how it starts:
(NaturalNews) Monsanto is widely recognized as the most hated and most evil corporation on the planet. Even so, several internet-based media websites are now marching to Monsanto’s orders, promoting GMOs and pursuing defamatory character assassination tactics against anyone who opposes GMOs, hoping to silence their important voices. … All of them are Monsanto collaborators who have signed on to accelerate heinous crimes being committed against humanity under the false promise of “feeding the world” with toxic GMOs.
He goes on to talk about Nazi collaborators and how this history has a modern-day parallel:
Today, a number of once-independent media sites are selling out to corporate interests and quickly becoming Monsanto collaborators. This is readily apparent by noticing which media sites attack Dr. Mercola, the Food Babe, Jeffrey Smith, the Health Ranger or anyone else fighting against the scourge of GMO genocide against humanity. These attacks all have one thing in common: they are orchestrated by paid biotech muckrakers — people I call “Monsanto collaborators.”
But towards the end is where this rant turns really disturbing:
Interestingly, just yesterday German President Joachim Gauck celebrated the lives of those brave Nazi officers who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. Their attempted Wolf’s Lair bombing failed, but it was an honorable attempt to rid the world of tremendous evil by killing one of the people responsible for it.
This official ceremony sends a message to the world, and that official message from the nation of Germany to the rest of the world says that it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.
Adams bolded those words for emphasis. What do you think he’s suggesting there? Maybe Dr. Oz could ask him the next time he invites Adams on to his show.
What’s the skinny on Michael Adams?
Adams NaturalNews site is the cyberspace version of the water cooler gathering spot for crackpot conspiracy theorists of the far left and right. His byline: “never trust official stories”. Brian Dunning, author of five books on science skepticism and editor of award-winning Skeptoid site, named NaturalNews.com number one on his list of “Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Websites.” Adams’ latest crusade: governments around the world are covering up the fact that the doomed Malaysian Airlines jetliner was pirated safely to a desert hideaway by Iranian hijackers, where it was refitted into a stealth nuclear bomb.
Adams himself or the site that he edits has claimed (and here) that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells, have been shown to “annihilate cancer” (doctors warn high doses of vitamin C can be dangerous); that measles and mumps are making a comeback because vaccines are “designed to fail” (Adams calls approved vaccines “poison” although he claims he is not against vaccines, just current versions because they contain “mercury or other chemical preservatives”); and that fluoridated water causes mental disorders and other health problems. He calls the AIDS epidemic a myth (and here) and is a believer in ‘dangerous chemtrails,’ which mainstream science says are harmless to humans. For years, Adams had been a Barack Obama birther, questioning the President’s citizenship.
Although Adams has not disavowed the Obama myth or any of his past conspiracy assertions, he has cleansed his site of that particular claim.
The United States government is often at the center of his conspiratorial universe. Adams has often claimed that secret government forces have hired private military contractors to stage terrorist attacks or violent incidents to justify government surveillance and a more intense police presence–what he calls “false flag” incidents. Here’s Adams claiming the Aurora theater shooting was a false flag operation. “Who are the terrorists?” he wrote in a 2013 post hinting that the US might have been behind the Boston marathon bombings.
“It’s far too early to take an informed guess on all this. However, it is indisputable that the FBI is actively engaged in carrying out bomb plots in the United States, then halting them at the last minute to “catch the terrorists. … It is theoretically possible that one of the FBI’s many “terror plots” went too far and turned into a live bomb instead of a dud followed by an arrest for “domestic terrorism.”
Adams has been less circumspect about 9/11, which he has characterized as a full scale false flag event (although some articles on NaturalNews touting this “theory” have disappeared in recent months). Like many recently purged links, a NaturalNews.com article about the secret “truth” of the World Trade Center disasters –http://www.naturalnews.com/033684_911_truth_WTC_7.html–now takes you to a note written by Adams in the third person that reads: “In late 2013/early 2014, Mike Adams (the Health Ranger), editor of Natural News, transitioned from outspoken activist to environmental scientist. He now runs the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, conducting world-class food science research and publishing scientific papers on food contaminants and nutritional analytics.” David Gorski, the well respected “Orac” of ScienceBlogs, has written two hilarious take-downs of Adams’ born-again scientific pretensions (here and here).
Adams’ most heated attacks—ones that generate the most traffic and business on his websites and have made him a oft-cited hero of anti-GMOers—are directed at conventional agriculture, crop biotechnology in particular. In a recent screaming but typical headline, Adams claimed that research at his Natural News Forensic Food Labs has turned up unequivocal evidence that corporations are intentionally engineering “life-destroying toxins” into our food supply, with genetically modified corn as one of the chief ‘weapons against humanity.’ His recommendation: buy the natural products that he sells and rid the world of GMOs.
Considering Adams’ conspiratorial bent, in his zeal to bash genetic engineering he takes every opportunity to promote junk science studies, spread innuendo and play the corporate greed card. No one would characterize his views as nuanced. “Monsanto’s products cause death,” he writes in a typical post, calling the seed and chemical company a “pusher” for selling “poison” and blaming it for the “destruction of humanity.”
His evidence: like many dedicated anti-GMO ideologues, Adams hypes discredited fringe research, such as the 2012 maize cancer rat study by French scientist Gilles-Erich Séralini, which was widely ridiculed by mainstream scientists after its release in September 2012. Adams’ sensationalist account claimed that GMO corn caused “horrifying cancer tumors,” and NaturalNews.com featured grotesque pictures of twisted rats. The study was since retracted by the publishing journal because of its inconclusive results and shoddy data. But Adams’s “reporting” had long since done its damage. His article on the Séralini research was shared more than 81,000 times on Facebook.
Adams frequently goes personal. “From the top company executives to the bottom of the corporate ladder,” he writes, “people who work for Monsanto are engaged in promoting a sickening, unprecedented evil that’s spreading across our planet like a black slimy cancer tumor. … GMO-promoting scientists.” he continues:
[A]re 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.
Adams is also a proponent of GMO labeling, which he believes would stigmatize GM crops and foods, undoubtedly pumping sales of his alternative universe of ‘natural food’ and health goods. After the defeat of Washington state labeling Initiative 522, Adams, issued what bordered on a lawless ‘call to arms.’ “The failure of 522 … shows that democracy itself doesn’t work,” he wrote on another one of his blogs, Dark Politricks. His solution? Go rogue. Adams called on anti-GMO activists to adopt “asymmetrical warfare tactics such as guerilla warfare. … To beat them at that game, you have to take off the kid gloves and go for their throats.” Based on Adams history, the call may not have been metaphorical.
Adams is open about his business model: play on fear to make as much money as possible. To dispel any doubts about his real motivations, in 2008, he bragged publicly in his self-published book, The 7 Principles of Mindful Wealth, that his operating philosophy was “Getting past self-imposed limits on wealth… Karma doesn’t pay the rent. Good karma isn’t the recognized currency in modern society: Dollars are!”
To peddle the alternative nostrums that have helped build his fortune, Adams owns, runs or has operated hundreds of domains, including prenatalnutrition.org, expectant-mothers.com, NewsTarget.com, HoodiaFactor.com, EmergingFuture.com, SpamAnatomy.com, VitaminFactor.org, CounterThink.com, HealthFactor.info, JunkScience.info, BrainHealthNews.com, LowCholesterolDiets.DietsLink.com, PublicHealthNews.org, PharmaWatch.info, HomeToxins.com, PoisonPantry.org, DepressionFactor.org, webseed.com and ConsumerWellness.org. He or his company uses dozens of privacy and open web registrations, some of which are currently active websites and some of which (e.g., hoodia.com) are being used to redirect visitors to other Adams’ run websites. Adams “webseed” and “truth in publishing” company aliases have over 200 domains and 45 live hosted (as of May 12, 2014) websites. Others are “parked” but have been used in the past Adams has owned or operated a string of fringe health scare sites (many of which are now dormant),
Promoting terrorist scares is Adams stock and trade. In 1998 he launched the Y2K Newswire promoting apocalyptic claims of impending software disaster while offering sales of emergency preparedness products and foods. The attention he received helped jumpstart his online store. Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, he wrote that “deadly radiation” … “spans oceans and continents,” implying that people thousands of miles distant from the damaged reactors could suffer serious health consequences, an apparent attempt to panic his readers into buying useless “FDA approved” potassium iodide treatments and storable uncontaminated super foods that he sold on his site. But that did get him a mention on the sin qua non of conspiracy programs, the wacky Alex Jones Show, which Adams had previously guest hosted—further stoking his notoriety among the fringe set.
Although he fashions himself as a lone ranger fighting against corporate giants, Adams was the founder and C.E.O. of Arial Software, whose clients reportedly include include Microsoft, Ebay and DHL. He has boasted that he has 10,000 customers and an estimated $50 million in annual sales. Arial has offices in the US and Taiwan, which is where Natural News has its corporate base, known as Truth Publishing International. Natural News’ business address is an abandoned building in Tucson, Arizona.
The media and science community have a uniformly unforgiving view of Adams and his pseudo-science. After responding to one of Adams’s attacks on vaccines, David Gorski, the well respected “Orac” of ScienceBlogs, wrote: “If only there were a vaccine against the quackery, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and utter nonsense that is concentrated into the density of a black hole in the form of Mike Adams.” (See here, here, here, here, here, here and here for tiny selection of dozens of critiques on Adams and NaturalNews.com by scientists and prominent journalists.)
But that hasn’t stopped Adams and NaturalNews from becoming one of the most cited—indeed respected—sites by mainstream anti-GMO advocacy groups. There is symbiotic relationship between organic activists and Adams. The Health Ranger regularly pushes organic slams of GMO foods and publishes extended “aren’t we both great” interviews with Organic Consumers Association founder Ronnie Cummins, only to be richly rewarded in return. He also works hand in glove with the anti-GMO Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit group with historical ties to Organic Valley Cooperative (for years Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s founder and long time director, was simultaneously an executive at OVC and Cornucopia). Cornucopia has featured an anti-government rant by Adams and NaturalNews while Adams has plugged Cornucopia on NaturalNews and interviewed Kastel when he guest hosted the Alex Jones conspiracy show InfoWars. Adams also cross promotes books and websites with well known anti-GMO huckster, Jeffrey Smith, the former yogic instructor and founder of his one man NGO, the Institute of Responsible Technology.
It would be a combination of laughable and sad if Adams wasn’t so prolific in his scare mongering and influential with the credulous public that takes as gospel his top ranked health and medical entries on Google. Adams has become a master of Internet visibility. He claims more than 360,000 “confirmed, double-opt-in” subscribers to his daily newsletter. NaturalNews has more than 139,000 indexed pages alone referencing unsubstantiated cancer causes and off label treatments on his website. That helps him generate huge traffic volume. He garners more than 4 million unique monthly visitors to his combined empire of websites.
Third party rating service Compete.com estimates traffic to his most influential site, NaturalNews.com, at 1.1—1.7 million unique visitors per month and ranks the site at 1,549. By comparison, that’s better than the Cleveland Clinic and 4-to-5 times the traffic of the Mayo Clinic. The US government’s official cancer website Cancer.gov gets about one-half of Adam’s estimated monthly traffic (700,000 monthly visitors). NaturalNews.com receives 20 times more visitors than the official government site on alternative medicines—the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website—which receives only 73,000 visitors, and is not even ranked.
This makes Mike Adams a very powerful—and according to many scientists and science journalists a very dangerous—man.
See also: Mike Adams: GLP Facts
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. Follow @JonEntine on Twitter