When I first found out about NaturalNews.com I would check it out occasionally but did not spend much time reading their stuff. One of my regular posters on my “The Truth in Medicine” forum had complained about the site several times so I started reading some of the articles from the site to find out why. It did not take long to get my answer.
Natural News seems like a haven for conspiracy hypothesists, the world is coming to an end fear mongers, scam artists and people just wanting to jump on to whatever bandwagon happens to be the target of the moment.
Health misinformation abounds on the site. I have responded to some of the articles in an attempt to clear up some of the misleading and misinformative claims made in some of the articles. There is just too much to address it all though.
As a great example look at this piece of highly sensationalized piece of false propaganda:
Obama agency rules Pepsi’s use of aborted fetal cells in soft drinks constitutes ‘ordinary business operations’
Not only did they manage to lie about there being aborted fetal cells in Pepsi, they also managed to make the issue political by bashing Obama, which has nothing to do with the topic. The cell line referred to in the article came out in the 70’s, long before the Obama administration.
The scary part was not this science fiction article but rather the fact that so man of the reader actually fell for it hook, line and sinker. Are we really developing a country where people are incapable of using rational thought and thinking for themselves? Just read though the comments section and read how comments refer to cannibalism and “soylent green”. How can this be cannibalism when these cells, which are cultured cells are not even in the product. People apparently just rad the headline and decided it must be true without ever investigating to find out the story was yet another fabrication of the truth so common on Natural News. Here is a copy of my comment on the article:
“This is a great example of why I don’t pay much attention to Natural News. There is too much sensationalistic journalism with political pot shots whenever possible rather than factual and relevant reporting. For instance look at how they found an angle to make this in to a political issue by blaming the Obama administration who has nothing to do with the original production of the cell line.
People who hate will find any excuse to hate. That is why people keep bashing Obama when Obama is not in charge. Big business runs this country by buying off politicians Democrat and Republican. So to keep bashing Obama either means the person has no clue how the government runs or they are simply looking for anyone to bash so they jump on the Obama bashing bandwagon.
It can be very entertaining though on occasion if you are in to science fiction. And I get a real good laugh reading some of the responses from the sheeple that fall for this crap.
For instance, look at how many people keep making this an issue about abortion and cannibalism. Not only are these cultured cells not aborted cells, but they are not even in the product. But still people fell for the bogus claims hook, line and sinker because people are learning more and more to not think for themselves and to ignore common sense. For example, how many of the people falsely claiming this is cannibalism have stopped to think that they have committed cannibalism themselves? If you are one of these people think about it. Have you ever kissed someone? If you have then some of their cells have ended up in your mouth where you have swallowed them thus making you a cannibal. So did those human cells you consumed taste better than Pepsi?”
Another poster put up this link to a more accurate article on the subject:
Did these people who are boycotting Pepsi based on this bogus propaganda article ever stop to think that Pepsi is not the only company using this cultured cell line? How many of the other products they are consuming have also used these cultured cells to test the potential effects on taste buds? Probably most commercial foods.
The article was clearly not to promote the truth, but rather to draw in the gullible and to use the article as a political platform to bash the President and so many of the articles on Natural News do. Unfortunately, all this really does is to discredit Natural News even further while giving a bad name to the whole holistic field. Other people will see all the bogus propaganda on Natural News and say “see, those holistic people are just a bunch of whack jobs that will believe anything”. It is really a shame that anyone would run their business this way just to sell products and to boost their own political agenda.
But it is also extremely irritating. I have been working hard for decades to try and get holistic medicine more accepted by correcting misinformation being blindly repeated and showing how much research there really is backing holistic medicine. All of this does not mean much though when you have propaganda sites posting such ludicrous information that people will continue to fall for. Why? Because most people are attracted to negativity. I could post 500 studies proving the benefit of a particular herb and there could be one study claiming a potential danger and that will be the one study most people and the media will focus on. Don’t believe it? Watch the stories on vitamins and herbs reported in the media. Very few are positive. For example, recall the recent news reports claiming that vitamins were linked to a higher death rate in women? Despite the fact that numerous studies prove otherwise this is the one study the media picked up on despite the study not only being highly skewed but also highly flawed. The mainstream media was simply doing the same thing Natural News does, which is to provide sensationalistic propaganda to meet the desires of the masses that thrive on the negativity.
Interestingly I tried applying as a writer for Natural News because I thought it would be easier to write the articles rather than responding to misinformation in articles in the comments section. The owner of Natural News basically makes you jump through hoops to write for him making sure that if you do write for Natural News that you only write in agreement with his opinions. Since I did not agree 100% with his opinions I was turned down. Apparently evidence based holistic medicine articles are not in line with the Natural News program.
Recently I found out that this also applies to commenting on his articles. I ran across an article written by Mike Adams, the “Health Ranger” who owns Natural News. The article was the worst piece of yellow journalism I have seen in a long time. Here is a link to the article:
I responded to the article in the comments section with the following:
There are a few things you over looked in your article.
First of all not all of the herbs coming out of China are grown in China. China actually imports many herbs that they process there then redistribute. For example, I have seen nopales (prickly pear cactus) grown in Mexico, which was processed in to powder or extracts in China and is then being sold by the Chinese vendors.
Secondly, China is really no worse than any other country. The U.S. for example also has heavily contaminated soil from various sources. For example, do you what is one the highest lead containing beverage products in the world? California wines. All the lead from the decades of using leaded gasoline did not evaporate, it deposited in the soil where it was picked up by plants. This included the grape vines that produce the grapes used to make wine. Look some time as to how many grape vineyards are located right next to major freeways. Same reason bone meal has often been found to be high in lead. The cows were not born with the high levels of lead. The lead was picked up from the soil by pants that the cows then ate.
By California’s own laws banning products with a certain level of lead I seriously doubt that most if not all of California’s wines would be legal. Of course they are not going to mention that fact since the wine industry is so big in California.
There are also organic farms up in Washington state. So what about all the radioactive material the government was deliberately releasing from the Hanford Nuclear power Plant for decades to test the effects of the radiation on the surrounding public? All those radioactive isotopes did not evaporate either. Like the lead in California those isotopes have deposited in the soil.
To achieve an “organic” certification only requires that no herbicides or pesticides have been used for a certain number of years. Does this mean that organic cleaner and safer than non-organic crops? Not really. Again people tend to overlook several important points.
First of all herbicides and pesticides can survive in the soil much longer than the time required for non-use to achieve organic certification. DDT for example despite being banned is still in our soils as it takes about 100 years to break down. Systemic takes about 30 years to break down.
Secondly, those plants need to be watered. Most “organic” farms are irrigated by surface water that has traveled down from the mountains past all sorts of cities and non-organic farms picking up all sorts of pollutants before irrigating those “organic” crops. Even if watered from underground water sources this does not make it clean. Underground water sources can be naturally or artificially contaminated from various sources such as naturally occurring heavy metals or fluoride to contaminates from leaking septic systems, agricultural runoff or fracking.
Finally, nearly every company producing supplements these days are using GMP certified products. In order to get and maintain GMP certification all herbs coming in must be tested over and over and over and over for contaminates such as heavy metals and pathogens. If these herbs do not meet certain extremely strict standards they cannot be used in the manufacturing process. It does not matter if the herbs are coming from Taiwan, China, Europe, the U.S. or any other country, they are all subjected to the same exact stringent regulations.
Both raw material suppliers who import these herbs as well as manufacturers that directly import are well aware of these standards and therefore test every batch that comes through their doors multiple times since any batches contaminated beyond regulations cannot be used. Imagine importing several tons of an herb that fails testing. This would be a costly mistake for either a raw material supplier or a manufacturer. Therefore, importers will request samples of the batches first for testing, then test the actual batch coming in multiple times to make sure that they match up. When packaged batches of the final product are finished samples of all the final products must again be tested to meet GMP guidelines. If raw material suppliers or manufacturers import and sell herbs that do not meet regulatory standards these companies are not going to stay in business very long. If the herb exporters sell herbs not conforming to regulatory standards then they are going to develop a bad reputation for selling unusable herbs and companies are going to stop buying from them. Therefore, the herb export companies have also cleaned up their act and have much more stringent controls on the herbs they export these days. Therefore, the problem is not as bad as it is being hyped up to be.
Several other of my comments were deleted including one addressing another comment made by Mike Adams. The comment was regarding his claims that Chinese chlorella was more contaminated than the Taiwan chlorella he was bringing in to sell. I was curious about his dubious claims so I did a little research comparing the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for several chlorella sources from both China and Taiwan. What I found was that not only was there only an insignificant difference in the amount of heavy metals between the two products, but also that in some cases the content of certain heavy metals was higher in the Taiwanese chlorella. Therefore, this evidence clearly contradicted his sales hype. Being that Mike Adams clearly stated that the Taiwanese chlorella “is the most expensive in the world, at wholesale”. How is he going to justify the significantly higher cost of the Taiwanese chlorella he plans to sell unless he bashes all the competing chlorellas with false information, especially the biggest source, which happens to be China. Keep in mind that as I pointed out that just because the herbs are sold from China this does not mean that they were grown there.
Writing multiple articles though bashing China for its pollution problem in order to make it appear his source of herbs is cleaner despite the COAs showing differently is an interesting, although very deceptive sales tactic.
Mika Adams made a few other comments in his article that also made me skeptical of his whole sales spiel. According to his sales pitch Adams claims that none of the 17 samples he supposedly had tested from 4 different countries showed any detectable levels of Mercury. Yet looking at the COAs for chlorella from Taiwan Chlorella Manufacturing Company shows detectable levels of mercury in several of their samples. The levels were in extreme trace amounts, but still within the detection limit.
Adams also makes sure to bring up the amount of aluminum in Chinese chlorella even though he admits that the level is far below the content of many common foods. The ironic part was his comment “Bottom line: Aluminum should be AVOIDED in your diet as much as possible. This metal has no beneficial role in human biology beyond trace amounts” being that he sells a zeolite product in his store. Zeolites are ALUMINUM silicates, the same form of aluminum found in virtually all plants we consume including chlorella.
Once again sales hype meets reality.
Overall, if I had to rate this site on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give the site maybe a 3 only because there are some occasional tidbits of accurate information. The site is so chock full of misinformation and misleading information to make it a credible health site.
In addition, a large percentage of the posts have nothing to do with health or healing. Many of the posts are simply anti-government and political rantings among other non-health topics. Curezone uses the same tactic in an attempt to boost their search engine rankings by increasing key words on the site. This also increases the likelihood that people will find the site since people not searching for health information will find their site as the search engines pulls up non-health keywords such as voter fraud or gun control. The stories are greatly sensationalized to further draw in certain groups, especially those who believe in any conspiracy tale they hear.
Call me old fashioned, but if I go to a health site for health information I want to see substantiated, solid health information. I don’t go to health sites to read about conspiracy hypotheses about how the government wants to put us all in concentration camps or other bogus claims like the government is trying to reduce the population by feeding everyone soy.