Michael Allen “Mike” Adams a.k.a. The Health Ranger (born 1969 or 1967 in Lawrence, KS) is publisher of Natural News (formerly News Target) which promotes alternative health and natural lifestyle products online. Adams also owns and operates dozens of other sites, including WakingScience and TruthWiki, and ‘shadow’ sites that he creates to target enemies. It’s estimated that the various sites get 6.5 million hits per month, with 31% coming through organic search.
Adams is an ardent anti-technology, conspiracy theory promoting pro-organic advocate who claims biotechnology scientists “are the most despicable humanoids to walk the face of this planet” and that they promote corporate “junk science” and are anti-human. He has promoted such causes as AIDS denialism, 9/11 truther conspiracies, Barack Obama citizenship ‘birther’ claims and believes that chemtrails and vaccines are serious health threats. He aligns himself with President Trump, portraying the ‘mainstream press” as purveyors of fake news in an attempt to suppress truth tellers, like himself, and has emerged as a rising star in the alt-right movement.
Adams’ NaturalNews.com website has been characterized by Brian Dunning, who runs the science-based Skeptoid, as the #1 “worst anti-science website”. Physician blogger Steven Novella, a clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine, characterized Adams as “a dangerous conspiracy-mongering crank.” Oncologist David Gorski (aka Orac) called Natural News as “the wretchedest, scummiest, and quackiest” website on the Internet. Alan Levinovitz, a James Madison University professor writing for Slate, wrote: “NaturalNews is … a cesspool of pseudo-scientific insanity seasoned generously with political vitriol and outlandish conspiracy theories.” According to RationalWiki, “even other quack sites thinks [NaturalNews] is a quack site”
In 2019, Natural News was temporarily banned from numerous credible news and social media sites including Google News, Apple, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter, culminating in the removal of Adams’ platform from Facebook on June 9, 2019. Before the ban, Natural News had more followers at its peak than Infowars, another far right conspiracy site that was previously banned by Facebook. After his access to Facebook was blocked, Adams railed to fellow-far right site Gateway Pundit that the ban represents a conspiracy against him, his website and like-minded far right media. Gateway Pundit had previously defended Natural News, calling it a site “challenging the status quo and questioning the powers that be.”
The Facebook ban was announced one day after The Daily Beast posted an investigation sharply critical of Adams and his Natural News website, echoing research posted on the Genetic Literacy Project since 2014. After Facebook initiated its ban, Adams issued a vituperative response, claiming in a post that he is a victim of a “coordinated, heavily-funded smear campaign” by “techno-facists.” The self-proclaimed “Health Ranger” posted a Natural News-designed graphic that equates Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin and Mad Zedong, among other self-proclaimed dictators, with Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and other heads of major technology companies.
Adams’s opposition to GMOs propelled his popularity. In what he has called ‘murder by science’ if the precautionary principle is not observed, Adams has warned that crops grown from genetically modified seeds are a risk to all life and that they will cause ‘ecocide’ across the plant if allowed to be released. Adams’ medically-related conspiracy theories are not limited to GMOs, and include HIV/AIDS denialism, claims that fluoridation is harmful, rejection of advanced chemotherapy and gene therapy, and an embrace of ‘alternative medicine’ products and remedies (many of which are promoted and/or sold on this site).
Natural News has emerged as a major center of climate change denialism. Science Blogs writer Mark Hoofnagle has noted that Adams’ “anti-government conspiratorial tendencies with his overriding naturalistic fantasy to decide the government (and Al Gore) are conspiring to destroy our power infrastructure with carbon taxes…” Natural News has endorsed conspiracy theories surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and has endorsed Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business, a movie about Stanislaw Burzynski and his clinic that promotes unproven cancer treatments that have led to numerous FDA warnings and lawsuits for insurance fraud. He has more recently emerged as a vigorous defender of anything Trump and far right conspiracy promoters such as Alex Jone’s Infowars, a show he has appeared on and even hosted numerous times.
Adams has gone so far as to ask anti-GMO activists to kill scientists and science journalists, writing in 2014 “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.” The post, titled “Biotech genocide, Monsanto collaborators and the Nazi legacy of ‘science’ as a justification for murder,” featured this graphic:
Adams purged the article and graphic after criticism of it blew up on the Internet, but it has been preserved on wayback machine here. There were reports that federal law enforcement authorities launched an investigation of his threats. [Read GLP article, “FBI turns up heat on Mike Adams as ‘Health Ranger’ fiasco widens, plus Adams’ archive.”]
Google delisted the 10-year old site from its database on February 22, 2017 and restored it a week later. Google confirmed that Natural News was using sneaky mobile redirect, but that he subsequently addressed the violation. Adams responded to the delisting, calling it “a pattern of censorship we’re seeing being leveled against other pro-Trump websites.” After Natural News was restored, he said he was “troubled by the unjustified blacklisting of Natural News and what it means for free speech across the net.”
Adams and Natural News are the target of a caricature site, NaturalNewd, that underscores Adams’ bizarre promotions and claims.
Mike Adams (aka Health Ranger) is the founder and owner of Natural News. According to his own website his interest in alternative nutrition was sparked by developing type II diabetes. He is a raw foods enthusiast and “holistic nutritionist”. He claims to eat no processed foods, dairy, sugar, meat from mammals or food products containing additives such as MSG. He has contributed to and guest hosted Infowars, a syndicated talk radio show hosted by Alex Jones in which he promotes far right conspiracy theories.
Adams neither cites nor provides any specifics as to his formal education or training other than his site which claims he “has a four-year bachelor of science degree from a prominent university in the Midwest. He has minors in mathematics and economics.” The site claims he “began to attend college before graduating from high school” His early college coursework, his site claims, included “microbiology and genetics”. He claims to have a “strong academic background in the sciences.”
According claims he got into top physical shape using natural products and exercise after curing himself of diabetes at the age of 30. He believes “the vast majority of all diseases can be easily prevented and even cured without drugs or surgery.” His self-promoted mission is to educate people about their health and uncover the “truth” about “harmful” prescriptions drugs and medical practices.
Adams advocates consumer privacy laws, supported the now-defunct California anti-spam law, and is an avid writer and researcher on a variety of topics ranging from alternative health to political conspiracies. In 2014 he launched a “food lab” at which he claims to conduct tests to find heavy metal and other toxins in foods and products. He compared the products he tests with the ‘health’ and ‘toxin free’ lines of products offered for sale on his website. There is no sign this “lab” is still in existence.
Adams U.S. operations are based in Cody, Wyoming and Tucson, Arizona. He reportedly resides in various reported locations, including Austin, Texas and Ecuador (see “personal” tab below). He has claimed that his websites employ 10 people and that he receives income from Google AdWords displayed on each page to supplement his income from selling nostrums on his website.
In 2007, Adams promised to launch a new US-based 501C3 non-profit charitable organization called “Nutrition For Expectant Mothers” (NFEM) that he said would provide free educational materials about nutrition and health to birth centers across North America. He appears to have registered www.nefm.org; however, there has been no formal 501c3 tax filings made with the IRS. The site never went live and the registration was done through a third-party, off-shore privacy service.
Mike Adams is also executive director of the “Consumer Wellness Research Center” (aka Terra Christa Communications, Inc.), which was created as a 501c3 non-profit organization in 1995 but has failed to filed IRS tax returns for the group since 2003. The organization continues to promote “grant making” activities, listing recipients as recently as 2011 while soliciting donations and listing sponsors on its website. The site proclaims: “The CWC needs your support right now to launch its Prenatal Wellness Program.” Adams corporate sponsor on this site is Integrated Health Products, whose supplements carry the Mike Adams/Natural News Seal of Approval.
Adams got his ‘start’ in 1998, launching the Y2K Newswire promoting apocalyptic claims of impending disaster offering sales of scam emergency preparedness products and foods. Similarly, following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, Adams promoted claims of cancer-causing contamination reaching American cities and offering sales of “FDA approved” potassium iodide treatments and storable uncontaminated super foods for purchase from the Natural News online store.
Adams describes himself in his promotional materials as “a pioneer in the application of technology to online commerce.” He claims to have invented the PC’s first permission email marketing software application in 1993 and founded Cody, Wyoming & Tucson, Arizona-based Arial Software—now considered one of the most successful permission email software firms in the world. Adams business interests reportedly include e-mail marketing services used by nutraceutical, alternative health and natural products companies. Publicly, Adams is an outspoken opponent of spam (although he is accused of being a spammer himself; see below) and a strong advocate of permission marketing, believing that customer trust is a prerequisite for constructive company/customer relations. Adams claims to be a firm believer in the power of the Internet to add value and meaning to the lives of people everywhere. “The Internet is the medium through which we can collectively improve the quality of life for people everywhere,” he has written. “The Internet allows us to share information, ideas and knowledge at the speed of thought, at virtually no cost.” Truth in Publishing NewsTarget (Natural News) is Adams’ flagship online marketing venture.
Adams has relocated to Ecuador, apparently to escape US file advertising laws.
Adams runs News Target (Natural News) health Web publishing organization, which is ‘based’ overseas in Taiwan under the name Truth Publishing. It lists its address as 2055 N. Kolb Road in Tuscon, AZ (a vacant building listed available for lease). Truth in Publishing appears to be a foreign business name which operated in the U.S. under “Webseed” — an Arizona “retail sales” corporation registered in Mike Adams’ wife’s name listing him as president and director at a private mail boxes location. Via Natural News publishing, Adams makes a wide range of conspiracy claims ranging from government controlled “weather weapons” to government-corporate conspiracies involving chemtrails and GMOs to commit genocide.
According to reports published by Adams, he became involved with Truth Publishing and became its “primary writer;” however, earlier postings by Adams refer to him as the organization’s founder and CEO. In addition to producing the NewsTarget.com alternative news site, Truth Publishing also publishes an array of cookbooks, natural health guides and other reports and books focusing on alternative health, natural and organic products. Adams claims half a million people read his articles each month. According to Adams, Google Adsense administers all the ads on NewsTarget, and he earns a modest income from the site and his book royalties. There are several other Web sites with similar natural and alternative health information in the Truth Publishing family of sites, on which Adams is highly visible. However, Adams’ site(s) include a wide range of non-Google promotional advertising banners linked to alternative health sales sponsors whose products are then touted and endorsed by Adams in his various natural and alternative health “news” publications.
Adams cross-posts content and he frequently promotes the work of other alternative health influencers and organic cites, including frequent pharmaceutical industry critics Dr. Joe Mercola and Sepp Hassleberg, and anti-GMO conspiracy activists such as Jeffrey Smith, who runs the Insitute for Responsible Technology, and Ronnie Cummins, head of the Organic Consumers Association. He similarly supports and joins in lobbying and marketing efforts of such groups as the OCA and Cornucopia Institute, extending his reach beyond health to food and nutrition groups. He was a major supporter and noted funder of the California Prop 37 campaign to require labeling of GMO foods.
Adams has been called a “spammer” and fraud artist by watch-dog groups, who note that Adams is not a Medical Doctor but he has registered or operates a string of fake health advice websites which include 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 to name a few.
Adams main site says: “The NewsTarget Network is owned and operated by Truth Publishing International, Ltd., a Taiwan corporation. It is not recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit in the United States, but it operates without a profit incentive, and its key writer, Mike Adams, receives absolutely no payment for his time, articles or books other than reimbursement for items purchased in order to conduct product reviews.” Adams solicits various advertising fees and sponsorships via Truth Publishing Fulfillment based in Tuscon, Arizona via his website.
The NewsTarget and Truth Publishing domains are registered in Taiwan to:
- Lin, M.
2F, 164 Gong-Yi Rd., Taichung, 404 , Taiwan
+1.886423194924 Fax — +1.886423194924
- Arial Software:
Mike Adams, CEO
Sheh Lio Adams, CFO (his wife)
1501 Stampede Ave, Stuite 9005, Cody, WY 82414
Ph: (520) 615-1954
Adams is the (former) CEO of Arial Software (he says he sold his ownership stake in 2007), which boasted such clients as Microsoft, Ebay, Gas Stations USA, DHL and XM Satellite Radio. The company claimed to have more than 10,000 customers who purchased e-mail marketing software packages ranging in price from $985 to $5,000. One analysis pegged company sales at between $10 and $50 million. Arial’s email marketing software has been characterized as “spamware” which the company promotes as features that help marketers avoid sending email that look like and is blocked by spam filters.
Arial Software was the original registrant for Adams “Webseed” venture and webseed.com domain under which he now operates Truth Publishing and Natural News in Tuscon, AZ. Arial Software was acquired by San Clemente Technologies, Inc.
Adam’s claims more than 360,000 “confirmed, double-opt-in” subscribers to his daily newsletter and more than 4 million unique monthly visitors to his website(s). Third-party rating service Compete.com estimates NaturalNews.com traffic alone at about 1.4 million visitors per month and ranks the site 1,814 (in the same category range as the Mayo Clinic ranked 1,476). By comparison, the U.S. government’s official cancer website Cancer.gov gets about 1/2 the estimated monthly traffic (700,000) compared with Adams and the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website receives only an estimated 73,000 visitors and is not even ranked.
Beyond Adams’ various publication and online news syndicates, his articles frequently appear as news service slugged content in alternative and natural health publications, indy news sources and mainstream overseas news publications. Forbes Magazine green technology and environment contributor Jeff McMahon sometimes links to Adam’s stories and states he is “a reader and a fan of Natural News” while critical of how the site handles corrections.
Adams has been active in various conspiracy campaigns. He is a frequent and ardent opponent of vaccinations  promoting claims that flu and other vaccines are dangerous risks to human health and linked to autism and other disorders.. He believes in the danger of chemtrails. Most recently has focused on anti-GMO lobbying. Adams was a frequently noted as an influential player drumming up support for and funding the Prop 37 anti-GMO labeling campaign in California.
Phil Plait, and American astronomer, skeptic and blogger, has accused Adams of using Sockpuppet (Internet) accounts to inflate vote counts in the Shorty Awards (Joe Mercola was also accused of doing this), specifically in response to a skeptical campaign to upvote Dr. Rachel Dunlop. After he lost as a result of having his fraudulent votes revoked, he posted a number of articles criticizing the Shorty Awards. Dan Berger draws alt-med cartoons for them, though Adams comes up with the concepts.
Among Adams most outspoken critics are David Gorski (Orac) of ScienceBlogs, who says Natural News is “one of the most wretched hives of scum and quackery on the Internet,” calling him the most “blatant purveyor of the worst kind of quackery and paranoid anti-physician and anti-medicine conspiracy theories anywhere on the Internet”, as well as Peter Bowditch of the website Ratbags, and Jeff McMahon writing for Forbes. Steven Novella has called Natural News “a crank alt med site that promotes every sort of medical nonsense imaginable. If it is unscientific, antiscientific, conspiracy-mongering, or downright silly, Mike Adams appears to be all for it – whatever sells the “natural” products he hawks on his site.”.
Other critics of Adams’ website include astronomer and blogger Phil Plait, PZ Myers, and Brian Dunning, who listed it as #1 on his “Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Websites” list. Adams is listed as a “promoter of questionable methods” by Quackwatch and Robert T. Carroll at The Skeptic’s Dictionary has said, “Natural News is not a very good source for information. If you don’t trust me on this, go to Respectful Insolence or any of the other bloggers on ScienceBlogs and do a search for “Natural News” or “Mike Adams” (who is Natural News). Hundreds of entries will be found and not one of them will have a good word to say about Mike Adams as a source.”
Mentions by scientists
- Brian Dunning, as noted above, pointed out that Natural News is very influential, saying “For its frighteningly large influence, and abysmal quality of information, it earns the #1 spot on this list [of anti-science websites.” This influence has led peer-reviewed papers to actually mention it, for example, Wayne Parrott of the University of Georgia in the journal New Biotechnology wrote an article defending genetically modified food and, as an example of the allegations he was addressing, included a Natural News article.
- Maureen Watson et al. wrote an article in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health regarding the HPV vaccine Gardasil in South Australia, and used this article as an example of fear-mongering on this topic.
- Neil Seeman et al. in the Canadian journal Healthcare Quarterly published a study called “Assessing and Responding in Real Time to Online Anti-vaccine Sentiment during a Flu Pandemic.” Natural News has a long history of criticizing the flu vaccine as ineffective and dangerous. In appendix 1, they outline 20 search results about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine; an article on Natural News appeared as #16 on the list.
- David Gorski wrote on his Science Based Medicine site: “I still don’t know whether Adams really and truly believes in the nonsense he promotes. I really don’t and still can’t tell. For example, did Adams relocate to Ecuador because he really believes in the “natural” lifestyle or did he do it to escape those pesky laws in the U.S. that frown on selling unproven remedies.[sic] I do know, however, that Adams appears to have an utter contempt for his own readers, as evidenced by his repeating outrageous straw men such as the claim that SBM says that susceptibility to disease is totally random and that there’s nothing anyone can do about it and bizarre falsehoods like his claim in the Vaccine Zombie video above that vaccines can make your testicles fall off.
Some counter conspiracy, conspiracy believers claim Adams is in fact a plant to undermine the natural products industry.
Additional criticism links
- Science Based Medicine, David Gorski: Behold my power, quacks, and despair! Mike Adams publishes several defamatory articles about yours truly…
- Rational Wiki – Mike Adams, “…even the quacks think he’s a quack”
- Science Blogs Respectful Insolence – Mike Adams articles
- Science Based Medicine, David Gorski – When we should call a quack a quack
- Healthy Wize report “the legend of Mike Adams and the reality”
- Confessions of an #sshole Skeptic, “Mike Adams wants to kill your kids”
- Forbes: A bad week for supplements industry – “… even Internet quack Mike Adams…”
- Skepacabra: Debunking Mike Adams’ 10 Biggest Lies About Healthcare in America
- Encyclopedia of American Loons: #1 Mike Adams
- Free Thoughts: Five worst quacks in the world
- One Bad Apple: “Mike Adams, the self proclaimed Health Ranger, is as insane as he is insensitive”
- Quack Watch – Mike Adams
- Cafe Mom – Mike Adams is a douche
- Skeptoid – Top Ten Worst Science Sites, Mike Adams Natural News #1
- Skeptico – Mike Adams Fails Again
- Rat Bags – “Mike and his site reached the top of the competition by his total disregard for the truth and the imagination he shows in inventing the lies he tells about medicine”
- Before it’s news: “Among cranks, Mike Adams is a living, breathing example of crank magnetism. There’s no form of quackery he doesn’t endorse and/or sell.”
- Natural News’ Mike Adams Adds Global Warming Denialism to HIV/AIDS denial, Anti-vax, Altie-med, Anti-GMO, Birther Crankery by Mark Hoofnagle
- The Legend of Mike Adams and the Reality, by C. Thomas Corriher and Sarah C. Corriher The Health Wyze Report.
Bibliography and Resources
- Mike Adams on Facebook
- Health Ranger on Facebook
- Mike Adams on Twitter
- Health Ranger Website & Biography
- Mike Adams “Counter Think” cartoon publishing site
- Mike Adams Amethios Music Video site
- “Adams Philanthropy” Consumer Wellness website
Mike Adams marketing claim: “Mike Adams is no stranger to traditional Western medicine. The son of a Pfizer contractor and a clinical trial tester for some of America’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, Adams grew up using prescribed pharmaceuticals, trusting doctors and believing what the FDA reported was safe and in the best interests of the country. All that would change when he was faced with his own personal health emergency, and the pillars of medicine he once trusted came crumbling down before him. Mike began his mission as the Health Ranger as a response to his own failing health. At the age of 30, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease brought on by poor diet and severe lack of exercise. As a high-powered software executive, extreme levels of stress and cholesterol, depression and chronic back pain were common features of Mike’s past. Searching for answers to his health woes, Mike dove into research; he devoured thousands of books on nutrition, pharmaceutical drugs, wellness programs, the politics of food — anything he could find. Mike has now made it his life mission to share the most remarkable discovery he made on his quest: the vast majority of all diseases can be easily prevented and even cured without drugs or surgery. And that’s exactly what Mike did. He cured himself of diabetes in a matter of months and transformed himself into the picture of perfect health in mind, body and spirit.”
- What I learned from this is that I’d rather be an “average” white guy living in an average neighborhood, driving an average car than sticking out like some sort of person who appears to be relatively well off. That’s why today I still live in a modular trailer unit in Austin, I still drive a Toyota pickup truck, I dress like a rancher in blue jeans and flannel shirt, and nobody gives it a second thought when I’m out in public. I blend in, and that’s far wiser than sticking out…
- March Against Monsanto (Austin, TX) – Footage from the … – YouTube, May 26, 2013 – Uploaded by TheHealthRanger, From the front lines of the war against Monsanto and GMOs, here’s footage from the March Against Monsanto …
- Health Ranger speaks at the Anti-GMO rally in Austin, Texas – 2011 … Oct 3, 2011 – A video compilation from the GMO rally in Austin, Texas, where crowds gathered to hear several speakers talk about the dangers of GMOs and …
- The Health Ranger… | Facebook, The Health Ranger is hosting the Alex Jones Show today, May 27th, from 11 am – 1 pm central time (Austin time)
- “Those of us who are in the emergency foods manufacturing industry have a unique duty to help our fellow Americans who are in need,” explained Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of NaturalNews.com. “Our organic food manufacturing facility is in Austin, Texas, so it’s close enough to Oklahoma to be able to rapidly get these foods into the hands of those who can benefit from them.”