Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Health Danger and Fact Rearranger Mike Adams spews again

Like most career fear-mongers and conspiracy tale peddlers, Mike Adams, aka the Health Ranger, head of the NaturalNews "independent journalism" scampire, seems to care far more about sensationalism than about accuracy. This is no big secret. I'm not breaking any new ground here. The skeptical blogs have been on his case for years, and RationalWiki has an entry about him, which redirects to their entry about NaturalNews.

But I've mentioned Adams a few times on this blog too.
I first wrote about him in June 2013, in response to a Natural News post about one of this blog's favorite topics, imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie. In that post I cited Adams' disregard for accuracy, as reflected in a patently false statement about the $37.6 million FTC fine hanging over Trudeau's head. Mike Adams' big headline proclaimed:

Kevin Trudeau ordered to surrender his passports as feds try to force $37 million in GIN refunds

And to this day, nearly three years later, the headline remains intact.

GIN, as most of you probably know, is the Global Information Network, a major scam that was originally Trudeau's brainchild and personal piggy bank. It was officially launched in late 2009 and continues operation to this day, under"new" ownership (a group of Katie's longtime buddies).

But here's the thing (as the stunning, slow-motion-walking, marginally age-appropriate and vaguely predatory-looking women love to say on
the Viagra commercials that are currently airing in the US). Wait, I lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah. Here's the thing: that $37.6 million fine Adams blared in his headline has nothing to do with GIN refunds. Rather, it is in relation to a civil contempt case (which also became a criminal contempt case, and it's the criminal case that ultimately landed Katie in prison). The fine had to do with claims Trudeau made in an infomercial about his diet book. But the case itself had been ongoing since 2003, though Trudeau's history of wrongdoing dates back years before that. Even after Trudeau serves his ten-year sentence he will still owe that fine, probably with interest, unless he can negotiate to get it reduced or reversed.

But as I explained in my 2013 blog post, the fact that the fine had nothing to do with GIN refunds was of no import to Mike Adams, whose own post provided only the lamest of criticisms of Trudeau's possible wrongdoings. The main purpose of Adams' post wasn't to call out Trudeau's fraud, but rather to engage in one of Adams' favorite hobbies: wingnut political ranting against President Obama. Adams scoffed at the description by ABC News of Trudeau as a seller of dreams and false hopes, citing Obama as a much worse offender in that regard. Had he chosen to do so, Adams could have corrected the error on his post regarding the fine, and still left his political rants intact. But he didn't. And for the most part he seemed to be defending Trudeau rather than criticizing him, which is why I referred to Adams as a phony hero in the battle against Scamworld.

I recognize, though, that the misstatement about Trudeau's fine is just one small and relatively trivial goof in Adams' massive and seemingly quite profitable ouevre of misinformation, distortion and outright lies. And he's not just a deceiver; he's a deceiver who has, according to several reports, physically threatened those with whom he disagrees, as I mentioned in
this 2014 blog post (see under the subhead, "Who is oppressing whom?"). Adams' claims that he is constantly being persecuted, threatened and endangered seem hypocritical when you consider some of his attempts to intimidate and threaten others.

More recently, Mike Adams was front and center in the conspiracy speculation about actor Rober De Niro's decision not to show the anti-vaccination fraudumentary Vaxxed at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Here's my blog post, in which I linked to one of Adams' rants about the matter. And now we get to the main point of my present post: Adams uses that rant to seriously defame someone with whom he appears to be obsessed these days: a popular physician blogger. With this series of defamatory posts Mike Adams and some of his staffers appear to have reached a new low.

Mike Adams defames Dr. David Gorski
Adams and Dr. Gorski (aka Orac, author of the Respectful Insolence blog)
have been at odds for years, but Adams' recent series of vicious attacks on Dr. Gorski almost seem like he's asking for a lawsuit. Here's another one of his screeds. In this one as in others, Adams falsely links Dr. Gorski with a fraudulent doctor, Farid Fata, whom Dr. Gorski does not know but has repeatedly described as "evil."

And indeed "evil" seems an understatement. Though ultimately prosecuted and put away for money laundering and fraud,
Dr. Fata's true evil lay in the fact that he administered chemo to patients for years, telling them they had cancer when they didn't, and then he billed Medicare. He also over-treated terminal cancer patients rather than let them die peacefully, and when he could profit from it he under-treated cancer patients who very likely could have otherwise benefited. Last year he was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison.

Equally as repulsive, Adams is also spreading unsubstantiated rumors -- lies, most likely -- about Dr. Gorski being very unpopular with his patients. The basis of this claim seems to be a collection of what appear to be fake reviews planted by some Gorski/Orac detractors who more than likely have never been his patients.

Clearly Adams is on the offensive to destroy Dr. Gorski's reputation. As has been the case with other scammers I've written about, Scientology Fair Game policies and practices come to my mind. And indeed, for several years rumors have been floating around that Mike Adams has been somehow involved with Scientology. He certainly seems sympathetic to them and some of their viewpoints. This doesn't mean that he is involved with Scientology now (he has said he is not a Scientologist) or that his own Fair-Game-ish strategies are dictated by that evil "Church." But he seems to be using some of the same strategies of lies and intimidation that CoS has been using for decades. And those are disgusting tactics, regardless of one's "religious" affiliation or lack thereof.

Here is one of David Gorski's posts outlining and deconstructing the series of lies that Mike Adams is perpetrating about him.

But Dr. Gorski's attempts to defend himself don't seem to be making a dent in the NaturalNews universe of deception. Turning the skeptics' own terms around on them, Adams labels evidence-based medicine and science "pseudoscience." (And in a particularly loathsome rhetorical strategy, he has co-opted the very real problem of Holocaust denial, nattering on about "vaccine Holocaust denial.")

Adams also labels Gorski as a charlatan and cancer quack, which, given
the sins of some of Adams' own alt-health colleagues and scammers, is a classic pot-and-kettle case. As I noted above, these days on Natural News he seems completely obsessed with Dr. Gorski. Immediately below is a screen shot of the home page of Natural News on April 24, 2016. Notice the list of links on the right hand side. The far right column ("Health News") semi-pretends to be a list of links from outside news sources, but they are all from NewsTarget.com, which is very much Mike Adams' site as well.

Trying to conquer the Internet, one comical alt-site at a time
But I guess all of this is to be expected from the guy who is so afraid of people finding out the truth about him and his colleagues that he started his own lame version of Wikipedia:
the very ill-named TruthWiki. (Here's the TruthWiki entry about David Gorski. And while we're at it, here's Gorski, as Orac, writing about TruthWiki in 2014.)

Adams is also the guy who decided to give Google a run for their money by launching the also ill-named
GoodGopher. GoodGopher very carefully filters out what they consider "disinformation" and government/Big Pharma propaganda, instead stacking their search results with alt-nutty and rightwing sites (which are euphemistically called "independent news media") such as NaturalNews (of course!) as well as Breitbart, The Blaze, Washington Times (owned and run by Moonies), Drudge Report, Western Journalism and more.

It's a pretty lousy search engine, but it's tailor-made for the no-evil monkeys who want to avoid any fact or opinion that might shake their carefully constructed world of alt-health advocacy, Scamworld delusions, conspiracy theories and right-wing spin.

And despite Google's well documented evils such as tracking and privacy invasion -- not to mention the whole thing about sponsored links -- Google does seem to be trying to preserve and improve the integrity of search. Moreover it's not as if Google censors Mike Adams or any of his other lunatic fraud buddies. If you Google "Mike Adams," the first couple of entries are his own sites. There are some inconvenient results mentioning his quackery, though, which of course you'll not find on GoodGopher.

Another example: If you Google "Leonard Coldwell," there's currently a big sponsored entry that pops up first, describing Coldwell as an "Author" -- and it's all fluff and no criticism. It even refers to him as a doctor. But again... darn those critical links, which seem to pop up in the top results no matter what Coldwell's SEO team does.
RationalWiki's piece always seems to be up there.

Speaking of which,
here's the RationalWiki entry on GoodGopher.

The conspiracy that isn't
Like so many in the "alternative media" sector, Mike Adams never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like, particularly if it involves Big Pharma and other aspects of modern medicine. Especially vaccinations. The vax-conspiracy fans have all sorts of stories about how vaccinations are a nefarious plot by the New World Order to control the population by making undesirables sterile or outright killing them... or that vaccinations are being used to implant RFID chips to track us... or they're being used to make us all gay... you get the drift.

Where Dr. Gorski is concerned Adams has gleefully fabricated several conspiracy tales, not just falsely linking Dr. G. with the loathsome Dr. Fata but also bringing Wikipedia and The Huffington Post into his twisted, tangled narrative.

In his latest series of screeds Adams has accused Gorski of creating, editing or somehow being involved in manipulating the edits of
a Wikipedia post about the documentary Vaxxed, which includes many critical comments about the film. Never mind that Gorski insists -- and the Wikipedia edit history indicates -- that Gorski had nothing to do with it. Adams continues to spread his lies, and his fans enthusiastically embrace his version of "reality."

Another tale that has the reality-impaired fringe of the Interwebz buzzing is the claim that Huffington Post pulled an article about Vaxxed that was written by a guy named Lance Simmens, who had been a contributor to HuffPo for eight years. Although that supposed "censorship" is actually a standalone story and has been treated as such by most of the sites that mentioned it, leave it to Mike Adams to conflate the story with his false accusations about Gorski, both in his headline and post on April 19.

Now, there are several reasons to be critical of Huffington Post, and I've criticized them in the past for posting fluff by scammers such as convicted killer James Arthur Ray and Scientologist Grant Cardone. Another reason to not be a fan is
their utter disregard for independent contributors. Dr. Gorski has also criticized HuffPo. And according to Wikipedia...
The Huffington Post has been criticized by several science bloggers and online news sources for including articles by supporters of alternative medicine and anti-vaccine activists and for allegedly censoring rebuttals written by science bloggers before publishing them.[64][65]
So I seriously doubt there was some conspiracy to quash favorable reviews of or comments about Vaxxed on The Huffington Post. I doubt even more seriously that Dr. Gorski was involved in "censoring" the article.

But Mike Adams knows his audience well. The comments on his various posts about this so-called "conspiracy" -- and indeed all of his posts about Dr. Gorski -- are truly comical, and none of his followers seems willing to believe that things could be other than the way Adams laid them out. A few defenders of Gorski (not me, but others), and even Gorski himself, have been allowed to comment but were dismissed by the minions. 

In truth there is no conspiracy here. But, to quote one of this blog's favorite mantras: The facts don't matter if the story is good. And Adams knows that his readers love them some good conspiracy whoppers, and he gives them what they want.

Loony wants in on the drama
Not surprisingly, the aforementioned fake doctor, cancer quack and fellow conspiracy nutcake
Leonard Coldwell is faithfully copying and pasting the defamatory blog posts about Dr. Gorski on his own "blog" on his main web site. There are no comments there so far, though I tried to post a comment yesterday on the April 18 offering, with a link to this blog post of Dr Gorski's

One of the posts that Coldwell copied and pasted from Natural News wasn't written by Mike Adams but rather by one of Adams' staffers, Julie Wilson. It was published on April 20. This part, where Ms. Wilson quotes Adams, seems particularly defamatory:

"If we genuinely care about the health and safety of cancer patients, we must reasonably ask how many patients have died under the care of Drs. Farid Fata or David Gorski? How many of those patients were African-American?" asked Mike Adams, author of Food Forensics,science lab director of CWLabs dot com and creator of Medicine dot news.

"Is there a disparity in patient outcomes between blacks and whites? We already know that Dr. Farid Fata committed systematic medical murder involving Karmanos in Detroit. That is now established fact. What we don't know is how many other people have died from dangerous medical interventions carried out by other colleagues such as Dr. David Gorski."

Bringing the race card into it in this way seems to be a new record even for Adams. And Adams' continued insistence on linking Dr. Gorski with Farid Fata does seem almost criminal.

And this April 23 post by Adams himself, describing Dr. Gorski as "a deranged, mentally ill cancer surgeon who is widely known as a pathological liar" is over-the-top wacko, sounding very much like the kind of stuff that Coldwell writes about his critics (e.g., me, Salty Droid, et al.). Except the spelling is better than Lenny's. In this post Adams even brings other alt-health scammers into play, quoting Ty Bollinger of "Truth About Cancer"infamy. But again, I have to wonder if Adams is just baiting Dr. G for a lawsuit.

By the way, to give you another view of just how objective and reliable Adams' TruthWiki is,
here's the entry on Leonard Coldwell. As you can easily see, it is taken straight from Coldwell's web propaganda.

At any rate my attempts to comment on Natural News, as well as my attempts to comment on Coldwell's blog, have been a failure so far. It is probably a losing battle. But as long as the skeptical blogs remain up on the Internet, and searchable via real search engines, there's at least a chance for people to see Adams and his ilk for what they are.
Here is the Skeptical Raptor with a concise summary of Mike Adams' lies about David Gorski.

Happy searching. I'll try to keep you posted about developments in this ongoing drama, but you can also keep apprised via Respectful Insolence and Dr. Gorski's posts on the Science Based Medicine blog. For his part Dr. Gorski seems to be taking it all in stride. As he wrote, "being lied about by Adams is a badge of honor."
PS added on April 25: On the Science-Based Medicine blog, Dr. Gorski wrote:
NOTE: Anyone who has seen several derogatory articles about me on the web and is curious about what the real story is, please read this, this, and this.
I'd already linked to the second item a couple of times on this blog, but I thought it worth repeating, especially since the conversation there is ongoing.

PPS added on May 5: When Googling this topic this morning I came across a blog post on Forbes.com from another physician, Dr. Peter Lipson, a practicing physician specializing in internal medicine. Clearly Dr. Lipson is a friend of Dr. Gorski's and no fan of Mike Adams, and for me it's easy to see why on both counts. From Dr. Lipson's post:
Just this week, Adams published a piece titled, ”Karmanos cancer surgeon Dr. David Gorski linked to ‘skeptics’ kingpin James Randi caught on tape soliciting bl*w job from young man – source.” The really scary thing here is that the headline is the least inflammatory part of the article.
Let’s put aside the fact that the headline seems to imply that Gorski was the one doing the soliciting. Further reading shows that he simply knows the man who Adams is accusing of sexual improprieties. That sort of cowardly, defamatory garbage is just the lede. The real attacks come in the body of the blog. Here’s the point-by-point breakdown of Adams’s lies, dishonest allegations and defamatory (at least in my lay opinion) accusations:
  • Non-existent FBI investigation:
Dr. David Gorski–already the subject of a Natural News investigation that has submitted numerous allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation…
If you read carefully and follow the links, you see that Dr. Gorski is not the subject of any investigation but the one in Mike Adams’s own head. Adams’s writes that he himself has pestered the FBI to look into Gorski for…”reasons”? Making it seem as if a well-respected surgeon is the subject of a federal investigation is a dangerous road to go down.
  • Alleged “racketeering”:
    Dr. David Gorski…is the mentally deranged leader of an online hate group calling themselves “skeptics.” An ongoing Natural News investigation has revealed that Gorski is just one of several co-conspirators who engage in online racketeering, identity deceptions and alleged cyber crimes to commit scientific fraud while destroying their targeted enemies in the holistic health realm.
    Much of this is simply deranged opinion, but to state as fact that someone is “mentally deranged” and “leader of an online hate group” is dangerously close to making harmful, knowingly false statements about someone. And to state as fact that someone is engaged in a racketeering scheme seems to go well beyond “opinion.”
  • Guilt by association:
    David Gorski’s colleague was just convicted of massive medical fraud and sentenced to 45 years in federal prison
    This is as far as I can read without actually vomiting. Here in the Detroit area, a cancer doctor named Farid Fata was sentenced to prison for crimes that, for doctors like David Gorski and me, are so horrific as to be nearly indescribable...
I quoted Dr. Lipson at length -- and I hope he doesn't mind -- because the NaturalNews article linked to in his post (and here is that link again) appears to be gone now. Instead the link directs to a classically and characteristically arrogant but relatively innocuous August 2014 piece called, Top ten scientific achievements of Natural News and the Health Ranger (so far).

But clearly the offensive article existed for a while, since enough still shows up on Google search results from today (May 5, 2016) to indicate that Dr. Lipson wasn't just pulling words out of thin air.

And equally clearly, Adams isn't finished with Dr. Gorski, for here is yet another
defamatory screed from today.

How long will Adams continue to get away with this before someone takes legal action? As I said above, he seems to be baiting Dr. Gorski. Maybe he thinks he can nab Gorski et al. through discovery if they take the bait and sue him, or maybe he's just looking forward to being Gollum and crying that he meant no harm, but the fat Hobbit is out to get him.

But meanwhile Adams is possibly causing real harm to Dr. Gorski by pulling every dirty SEO trick in the book, littering the Internet with defamatory content via dozens of dummy sites in order to vilify the good doctor. (Why doesn't Google penalize Adams for that? Or do they? I don't know enough about how this stuff works to be able to tell.)

Amusingly, the dummy-site strategy is much the same thing that the profoundly stupid and evil Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell accused me of doing to "defame" him, though in that case he was falsely accusing me, as I can barely keep up with my one little blog and my Facebook profile, both of which have my real name and online contact information.

And so it goes. The question is: when will it stop?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connie, please investigate a bit more. Mike Adams is a good guy. He is doing a nice job of investigating the Pharma-con colossus and you could help him.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for weighing in, Anon, but I don't have to investigate any further to see Mike Adams for what he is -- a sensationalist who cares more about attention (and revenue) than accuracy. His defamatory lies about Dr. David Gorski are not congruent with my definition of a "good guy." There are plenty of other investigators with far more integrity that have been documenting the atrocities of Big Pharma for years. Moreover it's not an either-or situation: one can be a critic of the alt-health hucksters like Mike Adams (and Leonard Coldwell and others) WITHOUT being blind to the "Pharma-con."

As I wrote in my first blog post about Adams back in 2013 (http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-health-ranger-another-phony-hero-in.html):

"I suppose now is as good a time as any for me to insert another one of my customary qualifiers. I don't disagree with Mike Adams' broad points that government, Big Pharma, the medical profession, the food industry, big agribusiness, and big corporations of all types have done a great deal of harm in the name of profits. I don't disagree with the notion that people should be able to have a wide variety of choices in health care regimens and protocols. And, contrary to certain Loony [Coldwell] claims, I am not a paid shill of Big Pharma and/or the medical establishment.

"I will also say again, as I've said before, that I too am concerned about how our quality of life has been compromised as much as enhanced by so many 'modern' developments in medicine and the food industry. I am not blind to that stuff. I would simply rather get my information from better-researched, less agenda-driven, and less shrill sources, such as Mother Jones, for starters. I'll take Mother Jones over Alex Jones any day.

"My big point is that Mike Adams is no selfless soldier for truth. Far from it. He clearly has no problem aligning himself with all sorts of hucksters and loud-mouthed fame whores, and he clearly has no particular allegiance to truth, either..."

Also see this post, if you haven't already; it covers Adams among others:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 4:12:00 PM  

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