A Concise Review of Misinformation, Bias, and Defamation on Gary Null’s Wikipedia Entry
Gary Null and Associates, July 21, 2020
The Problem of Skepticism on Wikipedia Health Pages
As long as Skeptic philosophy and its subjective beliefs are ruled as reliable, objective resources that can be cited on Wikipedia biographies of living persons, very little progress will ever be made to correct the errors, misinformation and slander on Dr. Null’s and hundreds of other health-related pages controlled and vandalized by Skeptic editors. In addition, unlike respectable encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, as long as derogatory terms (eg. quack, quackery, “lunatic charlatan”, pseudoscience, etc) are regarded as legitimate terms to characterize an individual or a specific health practice, bias and malicious intent will continue to plague Wikipedia.
Exhibit 1 is an article published in the peer-viewed Journal of Chinese Medicine that further outlines the problem of prejudice and accuracy for one example that is under Skeptics’ control.
Dr. Null’s biography has rapidly deteriorated since its last administrative review in November 2019. It has nearly doubled in length. The 48 referenced citations before the administrative review has increased to 97. Forty-nine, over half, of the citations are drawn from sources whose authors self-identify themselves as “Skeptics” and are directly associated with Skeptic publications or organizations (eg., Science Based Medicine blog, Center for Inquiry, Society for Science Based Medicine, James Randi Foundation, etc.). Fifteen different Skeptic authors compromise the 49 citations in question: Stephen Barrett and Kurt Butler (21 citations alone since they work in tandem), David Gorski, Steve Novella, Harriet Hall, Victor Herbert, James Harvey Young, Nicoli Nattrass (South African skeptic who has written for the Skeptic Inquirer) Edzard Ernst, Seth Kalichman, Jonathan Howard, Robyn Williams (Australian host of a Skeptic podcast), Linda Rosa, Keith Kloor and Robert Park.
Before the November administrative review of Dr. Null’s page, Barrett’s biographical essay about Null on his personal Quackwatch blog was cited 21 times. Now it is cited 5 times, whereas Kurt Butler’s book is cited 14 times. The problem is that Kurt’s information about Null simply mirror’s Barrett’s essay (Barrett edited Kurtz’s book); consequently nothing changed and the original criticisms remain those of Barrett. In effect, the Skeptic editors gamed the Foundation’s request to review the page.
During one editorial review of Null’s page one editor posted on the Talk Page:
The Gary Null article is getting hammered. It started out as a biased article, I started adding to it to make it objective, more balanced, and give more information. Apparently I have a conflict of interest because my dad did his radio show in the 70s and 80’s. Any editors wanna pick this up and develop the article? Its getting hammered by several editors who rather than look at facts just keep reverting the article. I am not interested in counterattacking or sanctioning these people, but they seem very interested in counterattacking and sanctioning me. If you want to help, add useful, accurate information to his article
The antagonism between Dr. Null and Barrett is decades old. For both it is a personal vindictive relationship. Null filed lawsuits against Barrett and one of his colleagues in 2009 for false, defamatory and malicious propaganda about his credentials and qualifications. Wikipedia continues to reproduce these Skeptic falsehoods, discussed below.
A lot has been written about Barrett’s anti-alternative medicine campaigns and activities. For over four decades, Quackwatch’s sole mission is to be adversarial towards complementary and alternative medicine and its advocates. Yet, Barrett’s motives are not scientifically founded. Exhibit 2 is an investigative report exposing Barrett’s association with private industry interests — who believe to be threatened by alternative medicine — lobbying efforts, court decisions ruled against him, and the prejudices of Quackwatch as a highly compromised website with goals that far exceed its claims as a legitimate source of consumer protection or as objective science. Therefore the Skeptic movement and its institutions, including Quackwatch, have zero credibility as dependable resources of information about alternative medicine.
Modern Skepticism is an ideology, not dissimilar to a fundamentalist or proselytizing religious cult, that abides by its own rules for evaluating what and what is not scientifically valid and permissible within its own belief system and worldview. Nor does modern Skepticism conform to standard scientific inquiry but rather has its own set of pseudoscientific criteria such as the irrational “plausibility principle” for evaluating complementary and alternative medicine. For this reason its authors and publications should be prohibited as creditable sources on Wikipedia nor any other encyclopedia for that matter.
Between 2000 and 2011 a consortium of Skeptic groups, including Quackwatch, the Center for Inquiry, and the pro-corporate industry advocacy organization the American Council on Health and Science (Stephen Barrett, Wallace Sampson and Steven Novella serve as Council scientific advisors), published a journal: the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. It’s chief editor was Quackwatch’s Dr. Wallace Sampson. All of the content in the Review‘s final issue before folding were doctors who belong to the Skeptic organization Society of Science Based Medicine, which runs the Science Based Medicine opinion blog that is frequently cited by Skeptic Wikipedia editors. Based on information acquired through a Freedom of Information Act filing with the National Institutes of Health, we learned that the Review on four separate occasions, between the late 1990s and early 2000s, applied to the National Library of Medicine for evaluation in order to be cataloged as an authentic and reliable peer-reviewed medical publication in its Medline and Pubmed databases. It was rejected on each filing for unscientific bias. Moreover, all of the Review‘s peers to assess submitted papers for print espouse the Skeptic ideology.
SCImago is a public research organization that analyzes and ranks the quality and influence of over 30,000 science journals and professional publications based upon Google’s Page Rank algorithms. It is used as a means to measure a journal’s trustworthiness within the larger scientific community. For example, Nature has an H Index rating of 1159, Science is 1124, and the New England Journal of Medicine is 987. The Skeptics’ Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine had a dismal H rating of 9; in other words, it was determined to have almost no creditability nor influence whatsoever. Most of the journals for the alternative medical disciplines that Skeptics abhor and assault, including their nemeses such as homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic and natural medicine, rank much higher and several nutrition journals are indexed in the 100s.
The Review was distributed through the Skeptics’ flagship organization the Center for Inquiry. If Skeptics are unable to produce a legitimate peer reviewed medical journal acceptable to the NIH’s Library of Medicine, this information, from one of our most respected federal agencies, should be sufficient evidence for disallowing Skeptic sources as trustworthy resources.
Evidence reveals that Skeptics started a campaign to hijack Wikipedia pages through its social media network as far back as 2006. This was well before the arrival of Susan Gerbec’s and Tim Farley’s Guerilla Skeptics on Wikipedia, a growing network of anonymous Skeptics who now boast about controlling and protecting over a hundred Wikipedia pages. Exhibit 3 captures a post by senior Wikipedia editor Paul Lee (aka Fyslee, Bullrangifer, Valjean) on the International Skeptic Forum that year. Shortly after this posting, we find the presence of Skeptics editing Wikipedia pages increasing dramatically, including Dr. Null’s entry. Lee is an associate of Stephen Barrett and earlier served as Quackwatch’s listmaster. A comment in Lee’s solicitation on the Skeptic forum is worth noting for the Foundation’s legal department:
Any coordination of efforts should be done by private email, since Wikipedia keeps a very public history of *every* little edit, and you can’t get them removed. We don’t need any accusations of a conspiracy!
This was in the early days of Wikipedia when rules for conflicts of interest were more strict. Lee along with Guy Chapman and other senior Skeptic editors with administrative privileges do not hide their hatred towards Dr. Null and other advocates for complementary and alternative medicine. We have collected and catalogued a large collection of prejudiced and malicious statements, as well as examples of online harassment, that Skeptics have posted on Null’s and many other pages of living persons and accepted non-drug based medical therapies. Exhibit 4 documents just a small collection of such statements on Gary Null Talk Pages by Paul Lee, Guy Chapman and several others.
For example, one post by Guy Chapman provides evidence for the impossibility of our following the recommendations received earlier from the Wikimedia Foundation for working within the system to make corrections,,
BullRangifer [ie., Paul Lee), I am annoyed by the fact that this entire debate has been prompted by a quack sending his followers here often enough that eventually a few good editors who err on the side of fairness towards cranks and charlatans (IMO sometimes to excess) have been sucked in. Guy (help!) 17:47, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Exhibit 5 is an algorithmic analysis performed by a researcher at the Chopra Library to compare the percentage of citation bias/negativity, objectivity and positive coverage found on the Wikipedia pages of Drs. Deepak Chopra and Gary Null with that found on the internet in general. For comparison, the author also looks at Dr. Harold Shipman, a British medical doctor who has been described as the “most prolific serial killer in modern history.” The analysis shows that Shipman is treated with greater objectivity and positive coverage on Wikipedia than Drs Chopra and Null. This is just one example of the scandalous content on Wikipedia and should send a red alert about Skeptics’ adversarial and condemnatory activity.
Mischaracterization of Dr. Null as an Enemy of Conventional Medicine.
The biography’s introductory paragraphs falsely accuse Dr. Null as being “hostile to evidence-based medicine” and “believes nutritional deficiencies are the causative agents of all illness”. The entry is also in violation of Wikipedia’s editorial standards since it repeats the same words and content elsewhere in the entry
Again, the citations for these statements are solely from Skeptic sources — Dr. Stephen Novella’s The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and Kurt Butler’s Consumer’s Guide to Alternative Medicine. Noted above, Kurt’s book is sourced 14 times in the entry. Butler self describes himself as “a rationalist, anti-health fraud activist and defender of free speech” — but clearly not freedom of choice when it comes to a person’s decision on a medical treatment for an illness.
Indeed, Dr. Null, along with an ever increasing number of physicians and medical professionals in the orthodox medical community, is very critical of conventional medicine and the integrity of our federal health agencies. Null has co-written articles that can be found on the internet that compare the fundamental differences between “evidence based medicine” (which he supports despite noting some of its shortcomings) and “science based medicine” that Skeptics espouse, although it is not a recognized in the modern medical community as a an actual legitimate medical theory.
“Hostile” is a subjective opinion. Even minor efforts to change the word “hostile” to “critical” are immediately reverted (usually by Guy Chapman). In Null’s book The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, which reached the New York Times best-seller list, he clearly outlines his position about conventional vis-a-vis alternative medical modalities. In the book’s beginning section “How to Use Alternative Therapies Safely”, he states 1) Get diagnosed by a conventional physician to be sure you ‘re not missing anything, 2) Always weigh the risks and benefits of any approach, 3) Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. For Skeptics, because Null advocates alternative medical disciplines he therefore must be accused of opposing all conventional medicine; this is the common bipolar thinking that characterizes modern Skeptic group think. On the other hand, throughout his career providing free health counseling to a countless number of individuals, he frequently refers them to board certified physicians. If counseling cancer patients who happen to be on chemotherapy or radiation, he never instructs them to discontinue their treatment. Null’s approach is completely in line with the view of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) that espouses a complementary approach to disease treatment with both conventional and alternative therapies. On the other hand, if a person wishes to pursue a drug-free course of treatment, he supports that decision.
Dr. Null’s Academic Credentials
In the fourth paragraph under Biography, Dr. Null’s academic background is stated correctly. Yet this is followed by the next paragraph that makes an effort to discredit his doctorate.
“Null’s academic credentials were investigated by Stephen Barrett, who expressed sharp skepticism about their quality and the quality of his PhD thesis. At the time of Null’s education, Edison State College was a non-traditional institute that had no campus and conferred degrees via an external degree program, and towards which administrators evaluated “college-level learning achieved through work or life experiences, self-study, college courses taken previously, industry-sponsored education programs, military instruction” and other prior learning. Similarly, the rules for obtaining a PhD at Union Institute & University were a lot less rigid and allowed students to design their own course curriculum, form their doctoral committee, and were required to attend only a few seminars; 13 years later, it would be subject to sanctions for failing to meet academic standards. Barrett notes that the core member of the committee had no relevant subject expertise, having been chosen from the field of geology, and the other members (barring the peers) had contributed to Null’s books or promoted alternative health supplements. Kurt Butler’s 1992 book Consumer’s Guide to Alternative Medicine raised similar questions and also noted that Null had long dodged queries about providing any relevant information (including precise time-spans) for his degrees.“
The information stated about Union Institute is a fishing expedition to undermine Dr. Null’s background in nutrition and health that was conducted many years ago by Stephen Barrett and later reproduced in Kurt Butler’s book.
Their criticisms against the Institution are contrary to Wikipedia’s entry for this same institution. The school was founded by the presidents of ten colleges, including Antioch, Bard, Goddard, Hofstra University, Sarah Lawrence, Stephens, etc. By 1975 the number of affiliated colleges and universities in is consortium reached 34. The school graduated some notable alumni such as social critic Stanley Aronowitz, Jamaica’s first woman Prime Minister Portia Miller, Newsweek publisher Sidney Harman, Congressman Danny Davis, Gary Dorrien the Reinhold Niebhur Professor of Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, etc. Margaret Mead was one of the school’s early professors. Dr. Null also received Union Institute’s first annual Award for Excellence and Exceptional Public Service in 1995 (see Exhibit 6)
Furthermore, when Dr. Null enrolled in the Institute he was already a nationally syndicated health celebrity hosting a daily radio broadcast WBAI and weekly programs on WABC and the ABC Radio Network in Manhattan; Arbitron (the radio industry standard for program evaluation) had already rated his program as the nation’s most popular broadcast about health. He was also a Senior Research Fellow and Director of Anti-Aging at the Institute of Applied Biology in New York City. The Institute was chartered in 1947 as a non-profit research corporation conducting scientific and clinical research primarily into cancer and associated diseases.
An earlier mention of Null’s work at the Institute was removed. Exhibit 7 is a letter from Dr. Elena Avram, the Institute’s senior science director that acknowledges his laboratory research and successes.
Charges of Being an AIDS Denialist
Nowhere in Dr. Null’s book AIDS, A Second Opinion does he categorically state that HIV does not cause the many serious conditions and illnesses that are classified as AIDS. Rather Null is part of a larger community of scientists, including Dr. Luc Montagnier, the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine for first identifying HIV, who view the virus as a co-factor in the development of AIDS. It is a debate that continues within the medical community now that AIDS-related deaths have decreased dramatically. Moreover it is now accepted that HIV-positive individuals can remain asymptomatic for many years. For this reason there are many questions that remain unanswered by the orthodox theory that dominates the conversation and the course of medical treatment.
The book was reviewed by Peter Kurth in Salon and cited three times in his Wikipedia bio. Kurth is a free-lance writer and author of books about the history of visual arts. He has no medical background, although he admits to being HIV-positive and taking antiretroviral drugs for over a decade. Based upon his review, there is no indication that he read AIDS, A Second Opinion thoroughly and certainly not carefully. To his credit, Kurth admits that his essay was written with bias. He writes,
Before I get down to discussing Gary Null, Ph.D., and his massive, irresponsible and nearly unreadable book, “AIDS: A Second Opinion,” I need to confess my bias.
Consequently, Kurth’s review cannot be regarded as objective. His criticisms are largely anecdotal and based on misinformation and malice found in Skeptic comments about Null. For example, he wrongfully accuses Null of writing the book solely for profiting from his other business ventures. Yet there is no self promotion of any kind in Null’s 700-plus page book and its 75 pages of referenced footnotes. And can a source that acknowledges personal bias be acceptable for an encyclopedia entry? Absolutely not.
Null’s Wiki page states,
He is also a prominent HIV/AIDS denialist who believes nutritional deficiencies are the causative agents of all illneses, and has accordingly promoted fringe, diet-based treatment regimes for curing AIDS and other illnesses.
Nowhere in anything Dr. Null has written or stated will one find this outrageous accusation. Again, the source of this statement is Barrett and Butler.
Another falsehood is in the statement,
Null also produced a variety of audio-visual media featuring other denialists, who spread misinformation about HIV tests and even alleged of anti-retroviral therapy to be the causative agent of AIDS; the OPV AIDS hypothesis was propounded for the first time over one of his radio-shows, by a fellow foot-soldier.
The statement cites two sources: Mark Largent’s Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America and an article by Sarosh Katrak in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology focusing on the origins of HIV. The former source specifically investigates vaccines and references Null only in the context of the flu and anthrax vaccines. Nothing with respect to HIV or AIDS. The latter article makes no reference either in the text nor the footnotes to Dr. Null. Both are bogus sources for supporting the statement quoted above. The casual Wikipedia user would never realize this editorial trickery commonly used by Skeptics to falsely portray an individual or injure their character by citing what appears on the surface as a reliable resource.
Exhibit 8 is an investigative article written by New York City journalist Steve Brown, who made an extensive effort to interview persons associated with the Tri-State Healing Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where Dr. Null and his physician colleagues were treating thousands of HIV-positive patients with natural protocols between 1988 and 2000.
Null was also a frequent guest between 1987 and 2001 on PBS’ nationally televised Tony Brown’s Journal, arguably the nation’s most viewed television talk show dealing with Black affairs and other national topics including health. Some of Tony Brown’s interviews with Null and patients who sero-deconverted from HIV positive to negative and regained full health in the early 1990s can be found on the website Black History Vault, which archives many of Brown’s programs. For almost four decades, Null has been very popular in the Black community in Manhattan’s Harlem, providing free nutritional advice to Black churches and community centers and was received an award from the Harlem Health Foundation. Other awards he has received include Margaret Meade Earth Society Foundation’s Earth Trustee Environmental Award bestowed at United Nations general assembly (later awarded to Al Gore, Helen Caldicott, Bianca Jagger, etc., see Exhibit 19), the American Chiropractic Association’s Truth in Journalism and International Human Rights awards, and the Health Resource Council’s Consumer Education Award. It has been impossible to have any of this information recorded on Null’s page.
Criticism of Null’s Book Death by Medicine
A search for reviews of Dr. Null’s et al. book Death by Medicine turns up more positive reviews than negative ones. In fact, the book’s only negative review is that being quoted on his Wikipedia page. The book has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, with only 8% rating it under 3 stars (no 1 stars).
The Wikipedia entry states,
Jonathan Howard, erstwhile director of the Neurology department at Bellevue Hospital, notes that one of Null’s books – Death by Medicine (wherein he had calculated conventional medicine to be the single-largest cause of death in America), was statistically flawed and ill-intended, with an aim to gain on a potential rift between patients and mainstream physicians.
Jonathan Howard happens to be another member of the Skeptic movement and has been a speaker at Skeptic-sponsored events. Despite its impressive title, his book Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes is a rampant and confused clearing house of heavily prejudiced diatribes against all alternative medicine and its practitioners and advocates. In fact, only two sentences in the nearly 600 page book have any direct reference to Dr. Null. Therefore, it should not be regarded as a reliable or accurate review of Death by Medicine. Exhibit 9 is an article published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine on iatrogenic injury and death Null published with several certified medical physicians. The article references credible statistics in the peer-reviewed literature also found in Death by Medicine and that no critic of the book has been able to refute with any sound evidence.
On the other hand, other reviews of Death by Medicine are favorable, including Publisher’s Weekly. Semantic Scholar of peer reviewed research notes that it has been cited in 37 peer-reviewed journals. In fact, now that iatrogenic medical injuries and deaths are finally being acknowledged by the mainstream media and the medical establishment as the nation’s third leading cause of death and a serious health crisis, references to Death by Medicinehave continued to increase in recent years since its publication in 2010. Exhibit 10is one example of such a favorable review.
In addition, the entry frames Dr. Null as the sole author of the book. It fails to mention he is a co-author along with the late Dr. Martin Feldman MD (retired Chief Neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center) and Debora Rasio MD and Dorothy Smith PhD.
A documentary film by the same title and investigating iatrogenic medicine received Best Documentary awards at 8 international festivals including World Fest Houston and the Canada Film Festival. Inclusion of the film on Null’s entry was deleted.
WBAI and the Pacifica Foundation
The entry’s information about Dr. Null’s radio broadcasting career is full of false information and poorly sourced. The entry reads:
“Null began broadcasting a syndicated radio talk show, Natural Living with Gary Null in 1980. His show was broadcast first on WBAI, then on the VoiceAmerica Network and over the Internet. Null’s show subsequently returned to WBAI, leading to protests from ACT-UP New York and other AIDS activist groups concerned by Null’s promotion of AIDS denialism. He continues to host The Gary Null Show through the Progressive Radio Network, which he established in 2005. His shows attracted about a fifth of the total audience-subscriptions to WBAI, circa 1994 and he was speculated to have incurred the maximum revenues, in the history of the WBAI station, as it shut down in October 2019. Butler notes Null to have provided potentially dangerous and outright dubious medical advice to a variety of patient-callers via these fora.”
The debut of Null’s Health and Nutrition program was in 1967; in 1974 he began broadcasting over one of New York City’s most popular and progressive commercial stations WMCA; in 1976 he debuted on WBAI which continued until the end of 2004; in 1978 he started his live broadcasts on Pacifica’s WPFW in Washington DC, and on KPFK Los Angeles in 1979. Dr. Null reached a 50-year milestone in 2017 marking his program as America’s longest rerunning broadcast on health and nutrition. By 1988, while also hosting on WABC commercial radio, Arbitron rated Null’s program as the nation’s leading radio broadcast on health topics (see Exhibit 11)
Prior to joining WBAI, Dr. Null had already become nationally recognized. Over the years he appeared as a guest on television programs hosted by Johnny Carson, Merv Griffen, Mike Douglas, Phil Donahue, Steve Allen, Good Morning America, PBS’ Tony Brown’s Journal, Whoopi Goldberg, BBC and many others. His investigative research was a basis for a program on 60 Minutes and a double-Emmy Award program on ABC’s 20-20
Throughout Null’s 37 years of live broadcasting on WBAI and other Pacifica stations, the salary offered was donated in its entirety to the station. Essentially he hosted as a volunteer because of years of commitment to support the mission of non-commercial free-speech broadcasting. As of 2016, WBAI’s figures acknowledge that Null’s program comprised approximately half of the station’s total audience. When Null was replaced in 2004 listenership in that time slot dropped 80 percent; similarly, WBAI’s other programs experienced declines of between 35-75 percent, which indicate Null’s enormous popularly throughout WBAI audience in the Tri-State Metropolitan area. Statistics for Null’s audience is based upon Arbitron ratings, the industry gold standard for listener data collection in radio broadcasting that merged with the Nielsen ratings. (see Exhibit 12 “Report to WBAI Local Board Financial Committee,” WBAI Arbitron ratings and WNYE Aribtron podcast rating as top NPR program).
The entry’s statement that “he was speculated to have incurred the maximum revenues” is not speculation as the station’s financial reports proves. The financial report in Exhibit 12 states that Null had raised over $42 million over the course of his years with WBAI and other Pacifica stations, more than doubling that of Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, which also got its start on Pacifica. (Exhibit 13 area sampling of letters from different Pacifica and NPR stations commending Dr. Null’s breaking stations’ historical fundraising records)
The statement that WBAI was “shut down in October 2019” is patently false. It is still fully operative although it was forced to close temporarily in order to relocate after Hurricane Sandy’s severe damages to Lower Manhattan.
Progressive Radio Network (PRN) was launched in 2004 following the departure of Null and several other veteran WBAI radio hosts who continued to broadcast on PRN. The following year Gary also joined PBS affiliate WNYE’s lineup and in 2008 the Republic Broadcasting Network with daily programs. He was invited back to WBAI in 2010 and continues to host a daily weekday program.
In August 2019, Dr. Null received WBAI’s first Lifetime Achievement Award and the first such award given in the Pacifica Foundation’s history (See Exhibit 14). Why cannot that be added to Wikipedia?
The entry’s reference to ACT-Up serves absolutely no purpose for a neutral biography other than to add another damning jab to damage Null’s reputation. Obviously, the Skeptic editors know nothing about the history behind this organization, which does not have the full support of the Gay community. ACT-Up and its militancy has been a nemesis to Null’s broadcasting career in the same manner that fanatical Skeptic organizations and groups are for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Over the years, ACT-Up’s members have personally threatened violence against Dr. Null and other voices who do not adhere entirely to their version of the dominant HIV-AIDS paradigm. Among these other voices is Dr. Luc Montagnier, noted above, who is now being ridiculed by Skeptics for his current research that they charge with “quackery.”
PBS and Public Television
The Wikipedia entry intentionally discredits the relevancy and importance of Null’s association with the Public Broadcasting Service by misinterpreting even their source. The referenced Variety article actually states,
“Fifteen PBS TV stations got an early delivery from Santa this year as radio host Gary Null broke PBS’ fundraising record by single-handedly soliciting $3.5 million during his on-air pleas for viewer contributions in early December.”
Skeptics jump to the false assumption that Dr. Null’s successful appearances on select PBS stations during pledge drives are solely for his personal benefit and to sell his books; therefore, their effort to suggest Null’s PBS activities are unethical is based upon an intentional misreading of their cited source. In point of fact, Null donated his time free for his PBS appearances.
His Wikipedia page states:
While Null’s films were highly effective in generating financial contributions, the president of PBS, Ervin Duggan, expressed concern that such programming “open[ed] the door to quacks and charlatans”.
But the actual source, a 1999 article in Current, referencing Duggan reads:
He recalled hearing from a woman whose friend had stopped chemotherapy after watching a Deepak Chopra special on spiritual healing. “Such travesties,” Duggan wrote, “… intensified my already-intense concern that we lack clear standards about what we put on our air when our desire is to raise money.”
“What does it mean–to our audience, not us–if we adhere to such standards in one part of our schedule and abandon them in another?” Duggan asked. “What does it profit us to honor science in Nova, only to open the door to quacks and charlatans” on pledge specials?
This is a misinterpretation of the article and does not confirm that Duggan was specifically referring to Dr. Null. It should therefore be deleted.
Exhibit 15 is correspondence from various PBS and other public television stations confirming Dr. Null’s record-breaking statistics during PBS pledge drives, including KOCE in Huntington Beach, the nation’s second largest public television market.
Documentary Film History
All efforts to add documentary films directed and written by Null and awards are quickly deleted (again by Guy Chapman). This is despite the hundreds of awards and official selections in international film festivals that he has received. His Wikipedia entry only gives attention to his films Poverty Inc and Seeds of Death in a derogatory manner by referencing criticism. However, Poverty Inc received the Orson Wells Award at the California Film Awards, the Jury Award for Best of Festival at the prestigious World Fest Houston and Best Documentary at the Indie Film Awards, Oktober Film Festival, the Hollywood Independent Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Review, the Miami Film Festival and the Humanitarian Award at the Global Film Awards.
The page notes that Poverty Inc received “poor reviews.” However, the New York Times reference is not a “poor” review but accurately describes the film. Therefore this is a biased misreading of the article made by the editor.
Elsewhere in his bio, Skeptics assure that Null’s 2012 documentary film Seeds of Death about genetically modified crops and pesticides is ridiculed by quoting an industry-sponsored journalist Keith Kloor. Recently Bayer agreed to pay over $10 billion dollars due to the carcinogenic consequences of Monsanto’s glyphosate; consequently the film’s content and warnings were prescient and correct. Although we are unable to include it in his Wikipedia bio, Seeds of Death received the Special Jury Award at the Worldfest Houston and Null also received the award for Best Director. In 2019, the Chairman of the Houston fest awarded Null with a special Proclamation of Creative Excellence, the festival’s first such award, for having won more Remi Awards selected for screenings than “any other production company in the world.” Others mentioned for having received first honors at the festival include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, the Coen Brothers, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee and others. (see Exhibit 16).
Through email searches obtained through state record requests, it has been shown that Kloor worked on behalf of the agrochemical industry and was in direct communication with agro-industry insiders when covering issues on GMOs for Nature and Discover magazines, the latter is referenced in Null’s page. Kloor attended the Monsanto funded Biotech Literary Project boot camp, a training for scientists and journalists to learn how to frame the debate over GMOs and pesticides in order to counter their critics. During his time writing to defend the safety and value of GMOs, he regularly communicated with the Skeptic from the Center for Inquiry and disgraced University of Florida professor of Agriculture and Monsanto shill Kevin Folta.
Therefore the Kloor quote in the bio stating: .”. is a classic collection of all the untruths, myths, and tropes commonly used by the anti-GMO movement. The scope of its dishonesty is brazen… This is crazy train stuff said with a straight face. The worldview that allows someone to believe such things cannot be penetrated with legitimate scientific inform” should be removed for lack of objectivity, gross bias and conflict of interests with the agro-chemical industry.
A thorough investigation conducted about Kloor’s background with the private agricultural industry and work on their behalf was conducted by the consumer rights organization US Right to Know’s attorney Gary Ruskin is found in Exhibit 17.
Since 1994, Dr. Null has received over 600 film awards and official selections for screening. Exhibit 18 lists those awards and selections received between 2001 and 2019.
Additional Information for Dr. Null
We welcome the Legal Department to review several biographical videos about Dr. Null. The history and background contained therein should convince you that an enormous amount of Null’s accomplishments are being intentionally ignored by the pages administrators. It should also convince you to why Dr. Null is such a threat to individuals like Barrett, Quackwatch’scorporate and pharmaceutical supporters, and the Skeptic movement’s mission to promulgate a doctrine of extremist scientific reductionism and efforts to eradicate complementary and alternative medicine as acknowledged therapeutic modalities.
Gary Null Broadcasting Biography:
Gary Null Investigative Journalism Bio:
Gary Null Bio Activism Human Rights Update:
This summary of grievances about falsehoods and malicious and libelous behavior, in addition to the Exhibits attached, are more than sufficient evidence to warrant an order from the Foundation to have Dr. Null’s page removed. To not act upon all of the confirmatory evidence supporting our conviction that Skeptic Wikipedia editors and administrators are determined to violate the Foundation’s rules for neutrality and reliable, non-discriminatory resources for citation for pages of living persons, will only further confirm and strengthen our convictions that the Foundation has given preferential status for Skeptic editors and is complicit in being a social media resource for the Skeptic movement.
In good faith, we hope the Foundation acts rightly and ethically to act on behalf of our request for immediate removal.