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Survey Results Reveal the Most Trusted Health News Websites and Personalities

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: health news, websites, health news

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(NaturalNews) Last week, we posted a survey asking our readers to rate the "trustworthiness" of various health news websites, as well as the personality traits of some of the more notable invididuals in the industry, including Dr. Gary Null, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Stephen Barrett (the Quackwatch doc) and several others. I also put my own name in the chart to allow readers to rate my personality, too.

I received a lot of responses after launching this survey. Rick Malter from the Malter Institute (http://www.malterinstitute.org) e-mailed me a brilliant analysis of the underlying archetypes of the various health industry personalities, Dr. Mercola sent me an e-mail applauding the survey, and numerous readers sent responses ranging from hilarious to sobering. It's worth noting here, by the way, that since this survey was initiated here on NaturalNews, it has an inherent bias towards the views and beliefs of NaturalNews readers, of course, who I happen to think are the brightest and best-informed people in the world (please add one to my "nice" score for buttering up the readers next time okay?).

This also means that the personalities in the survey who recommend precisely the opposite of the positions mentioned here on NaturalNews would not be expected to fare well in this survey. Dr. Stephen Barrett, in particular, was not rated highly (see below for details). I imagine that if Dr. Barrett released this same survey on his own website, the results would be different. I invite Dr. Barrett to run this survey on his website and see...

PROFESSIONAL NOTE: I have decided to replace the "negative" terminology in describing these results, since in compiling these results, I didn't feel it would be very professional for this website to describe someone as, for example, "97% stupid." So I'm eliminating the negative terminology and leaving only the positive terminology. But please know that this still tells you everything you need to know because someone who was rated as "3% intelligent" was therefore rated as "97% stupid." I'm just removing the word "stupid" and replacing it with the word "not" (see below).

In other words, the original questions in the survey used the following terminology (which is what people voted on):

Humble / Arrogant
Generous / Greedy
Healthy / Unhealthy
Authentic / Fake
Intelligent / Stupid
Honest / Dishonest
Informed / Uninformed

But for the analysis below, I am replacing this terminology with the following, more polite words:

Humble / Not
Generous / Not
Healthy / Not
Authentic / Not
Intelligent / Not
Honest / Not
Informed / Not

STATISTICAL NOTE: For the percentages shown here, I took the total votes cast for each news source or personality, and then calculated the percentages from there. This adjusts the percentages to remove "no votes" or "skipped votes" for each source or personality. In other words, the percentages shown below are calculated only from the votes cast for that line item of the survey. Many survey respondents skipped lines on purpose because they were not necessarily familiar with that particular news source or person. The total number of participants in the entire survey is 1,337.

Trusted sources of health news

The first part of this survey asked readers to rate which news sources they trust or distrust. Here are the results:

Trusted News Sources: (And what percent of survey participants noted the source as "trustworthy")

NaturalNews.com (99%)
OrganicConsumers.org (95%)
Mercola.com (90%)
DrWhitaker.com (76%)
EWG.org (76%)
Cornucopia.org (73%)
DrWeil.com (68%)
Citizen.org (67%)

Distrusted News Sources: (And what percent of survey participants noted the source as "untrustworthy")

FDA.gov (99% distrusted)
Associated Press (95% distrusted)
CNN (93% distrusted)
Quackwatch (92% distrusted)
Reuters (86% distrusted)
WebMD.com (66% distrusted)
CSPInet.com (66% distrusted)

Analysis of news source ratings

It is no surprise, of course, that NaturalNews and sites with close content affiliation were all very highly trusted by NaturalNews readers. I'm glad to see the high trust rating of Dr. Julian Whitaker, since I've been a fan of his work for many years. This result tells me that I need to invite Dr. Whitaker for an interview, or perhaps pursue some other cooperation that can provide better exposure for his books and newsletter on NaturalNews.com.

What's really interesting in these results, however, is how thoroughly distrusted the mainstream media news sources are. NaturalNews readers had very little trust for Reuters, the Associated Press, WebMD and the FDA. To this, I can only say "Good job, folks!" This means you're very well educated and highly discerning readers who are able to look past the spin of the mainstream media and learn the truth behind the headlines. (In fact, I felt really enthused to see these results, since it gives me hope for the future of our society. If more people were as well informed as NaturalNews readers, we'd be able to radically reform health care, end 90% of chronic disease and save this nation from health care bankruptcy!)

The surprise here is the 66% untrustworthy rating for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPInet.com). That was an unexpected result, and I really cannot explain it. I personally always thought CSPI was engaged in good work, and although I don't agree with their positions on everything, I certainly find their FDA lawsuits and criticisms of processed foods to be quite valuable. In any case, for some reason, NaturalNews readers do not trust the CSPI as much as I thought they would. I'm thinking that perhaps I need to do an interview with Michael Jacobson to better introduce readers to his organization.

The fact that WebMD is highly distrusted by NaturalNews readers is really no surprise. WebMD is known in the industry as a "pill-pushing" health news site, and it offers a very conventional view (drugs, surgery, etc.) with only an occassional article offering positive information about naturopathic health treatments. Just look at the sponsors over at www.WebMD.com and that tells you everything you need to know about the credibility of their health news (in my opinion, at least)! By the way, speaking of my opinion, I did NOT vote in this survey. Neither did I instruct anybody in my staff, nor my friends, to vote in this survey. These are all results from NaturalNews readers and anybody who found the article on the website.

Results for the personalities

Now let's move on to the votes for the personalities. These are especially interesting, because nobody has ever posted a survey like this before, asking readers to rate the personality traits of these people. Most folks, I suspect, are a bit afraid to put their necks on the line and ask their readers to rate them, even going so far as to provide opportunities for their readers to rate them as humble vs. arrogant, intelligent vs. stupid, and so on.

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing myself. I always work hard to establish trust with readers, but I never really know if that trust is getting through, so there was definitely a personal risk in doing this -- a risk that the results might have been unfavorable to not only myself, but also the people I trust in this industry. Here's what the results revealed...

Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Joseph Mercola runs www.Mercola.com and is a licensed, practicing M.D. His website has been one of the top online destinations for natural health information for many years (ten years or more, I believe), and it features tens of thousands of articles on numerous natural health topics.

Here's how survey participants rated Dr. Joseph Mercola:

73% Humble / 27 % Not
69% Generous / 31% Not
97% Healthy / 3% Not
95% Authentic / 5% Not
99% Intelligent / 1% Not
95% Honest / 5% Not
97% Informed / 3% Not

Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

This is me, the editor of NaturalNews.com. I'm the creator of the Honest Food Guide (www.HonestFoodGuide.org), the founder of Better Life Goods (www.BetterLifeGoods.com) and author of numerous health books sold at Truth Publishing (www.TruthPublishing.com). I included my own name in this list because I felt it was only fair to subject myself to the same scrutiny as the other people I chose to include on this list. After all, if I put other people on this survey but refused to participate myself, that would be a bit of a cop out, wouldn't it? So at the risk of public embarrassment, I put my name on the list and let it ride.

Here's how survey participants rated me:

89% Humble / 11 % Not
99% Generous / 1% Not
100% Healthy / 0% Not
100% Authentic / 0% Not
100% Intelligent / 0% Not
99% Honest / 1% Not
99% Informed / 1% Not

According to NaturalNews readers, my strongest attributes are my Health, Authenticity and Intelligence. The area I need to work on is Humility vs. Arrogance, as about one out of ten of my own readers consider one of my personality traits to be "Arrogance" -- a fact that is, no doubt, due to me saying, from time to time, that I think certain people are incredibly stupid (like some journalists, some doctors, some voters, etc.). I absolutely do not deny making those statements, and I take this 11% criticism in a constructive way. I will attempt to do better in respecting other people's positions and avoiding leaping to sweeping conclusions about the intelligence of certain groups. This will be difficult for me, but I honor this feedback and will work on this.

On the positive side, the NaturalNews readers, without question, voted me as the most Generous, Honest, and Authentic person in the survey. It's nice to see this for the simple fact that these votes really do reflect the kind of individual people see in me in person, and although I don't have the opportunity to meet each of you in person, I am delighted that some of these personality traits are communicated effectively across the medium of the internet (through podcasts, articles, etc.) Thank you for your confidence in me and my work, and I resolve to continue bringing you honest, independent health information from an authentic, mission-driven viewpoint (and I'll work on the arrogance thing, too).

Stephen Barrett, the Quackwatch guy

Dr. Stephen Barrett is the operator of Quackwatch (www.Quackwatch.com), a website with an interesting history that's described in part on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Barrett

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch:

3% Humble / 97% Not
4% Generous / 96% Not
2% Healthy / 98% Not
6% Authentic / 94% Not
11% Intelligent / 89% Not
4% Honest / 96% Not
5% Informed / 95% Not

Please note that these results are the sole opinions of the participants in the online survey, which was publicly posted by NaturalNews and open to all participants (it was in no way limited to only NaturalNews readers). All survey results were hosted and recorded by a third party (FormSite.com), where the original voting data remains archived. No effort whatsoever was made by myself or NaturalNews to influence these votes, and the voting data was not manipulated in any way other than disallowing duplicate votes from the same IP. For each vote, the following information was recorded: Time and date, IP address, referring URL, browser version and vote details.

I did not cast any votes in this survey, so my own opinions about Dr. Stephen Barrett are not reflected in these survey results. Results would no doubt be different if the survey was taken by Quackwatch advocates, and I openly give permission to Dr. Barrett to post this same survey on his own website and publicly share the results, if he wishes.

I have never met Stephen Barrett in person, so I have nothing to add to these survey results on Dr. Barrett.

Ronnie Cummins

Ronnie Cummins is the executive director of the Organic Consumers Association (www.OrganicConsumers.org), a non-profit organization that works to protect the integrity of organic products while educating consumers about the benefits of buying organic. NaturalNews has published many articles about the Organic Consumers Association, and I've personally interviewed Ronnie several times.

Here is how the survey participants rated Ronnie Cummins:

88% Humble / 12% Not
95% Generous / 5% Not
95% Healthy / 5% Not
95% Authentic / 5% Not
98% Intelligent / 2% Not
97% Honest / 3% Not
95% Informed / 5% Not

I happen to consider Ronnie Cummins a good friend, and I've spent quite a bit of time with him. I don't find him arrogant at all. Is he stubborn? Absolutely. But shouldn't he be? It's his job to be a watchdog over the organic products industry. He needs to be outspoken, firm and strident. Sometimes, these characteristics can be perceived as arrogance, but in my own opinion, Ronnie is actually an extremely humble individual. I think that if you met him in person, you might agree.

Gary Null

Gary Null is a prolific writer and a well-noted authority on nutrition, longevity and disease prevention. He's also a very successful radio show host, a newsletter author and a noted public speaker. He's been around the natural health industry for many, many years. His website is www.DrGaryNull.com

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Gary Null:

66% Humble / 34% Not
82% Generous / 18% Not
98% Healthy / 2% Not
93% Authentic / 7% Not
99% Intelligent / 1% Not
95% Honest / 5% Not
98% Informed / 2% Not

I have not met Gary Null in person, but I did interview him once, and I found him to be extremely well informed. But I can't say much about whether he's humble or arrogant in my own opinion, as I just haven't spent sufficient time around him to make such a judgment. However, I do know that he's a very direct speaker who does not censor his own opinions about other people (much the same as myself, actually), and thus I'm not surprised to see Dr. Null being perceived as being slightly arrogant.

Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Weil needs no introduction, but in case you want his website, it's www.DrWeil.com

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Weil:

62% Humble / 38% Not
63% Generous / 37% Not
79% Healthy / 21% Not
84% Authentic / 16% Not
98% Intelligent / 2% Not
86% Honest / 14% Not
81% Informed / 19% Not

Dr. Julian Whitaker

Dr. Julian Whitaker is a true pioneer in the natural health industry, and he's been fighting for health freedom for well over ten years. He writes a newsletter and numerous books, and his website is www.DrWhitaker.com

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Whitaker:

72% Humble / 28% Not
71% Generous / 29% Not
91% Healthy / 9% Not
96% Authentic / 4% Not
100% Intelligent / 0% Not
94% Honest / 6% Not
96% Informed / 4% Not

I have not personally met Dr. Whitaker yet, but I'm making a point to do so soon. So I can't comment on his humility or generosity from a personal experience viewpoint, but based on his newsletter (which I have read for many years), I do not consider Dr. Whitaker to be arrogant in any way. Rather, I see him as being a strong voice, confident in his message, and determined to educate people about the dangers of conventional medicine and the promise of natural medicine. As I've mentioned earlier in this analysis, strong personalities appear to attract high "arrogance" ratings. Although keep in mind, he was still rated as "humble" by 72% of the study participants, which is roughly 7 out of 10 individuals.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Known best as the health corresponded for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also an advocate of Gardasil (the HPV vaccine being used on teenager girls), and was the host of a television program called "Accent Health," which was primarily sponsored by Merck, the maker of the Gardasil vaccine. Dr. Gupta is also well known for his argument with Michael Moore of the incorrect statement of facts in Moore's movie, Sicko. A YouTube video of that argument is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR2U_SAWHdQ

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Sajay Gupta:

29% Humble / 71% Not
31% Generous / 69% Not
67% Healthy / 33% Not
37% Authentic / 63% Not
77% Intelligent / 23% Not
32% Honest / 68% Not
23% Informed / 77% Not

As these results show, Dr. Gupta was not rated highly by the survey participants. The only person receiving more negative scores was Dr. Stephen Barrett. I believe that the negative ratings on Dr. Gupta may stem, in part, from the perception that Dr. Gupta is a friend of the pharmaceutical industry and Merck in particular, especially due to his vocal support of the Gardasil vaccine used on teenage girls.

I have never met Dr. Gupta in person so I cannot comment on any personal impressions about his humility or authenticity, but the majority of survey participants here clearly see Dr. Gupta as being "fake" and unauthentic, perhaps seeing him as more of a spokesperson for Big Pharma than an individual who speaks from his heart.

Rima Laibow

Rima Laibow is the founder and chief troublemaker at the Natural Solutions Foundation (www.HealthFreedomUSA.com), a site dedicated to fighting Codex, protecting health freedoms and rallying consumers to fight the corporations attempting to dominate medicine, agriculture, chemicals and other industries.

Here's how the survey participants rated Rima Laibow:

83% Humble / 17% Not
93% Generous / 7% Not
93% Healthy / 7% Not
91% Authentic / 9% Not
100% Intelligent / 0% Not
89% Honest / 11% Not
96% Informed / 4% Not

Gabe Mirkin

Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a radio show personality who teaches various health concepts on his show and his website (www.DrMirkin.com). Dr. Mirkin is a conventionally-trained doctor, and his show leans more towards conventional medical information rather than naturopathic-oriented information.

Here's how the survey participants rated Dr. Gabe Mirkin:

33% Humble / 67% Not
43% Generous / 57% Not
65% Healthy / 35% Not
66% Authentic / 34% Not
72% Intelligent / 28% Not
56% Honest / 44% Not
52% Informed / 48% Not

Most Humble

Here are the results for Humility, sorted from most humble to least humble (arrogant), according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (89%)
Ronnie Cummins (88%)
Rima Laibow (83%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (73%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (72%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (62%)
Dr. Gary Null (66%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (33%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (29%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (3%)

Most Generous

Here are the results for Generosity, sorted from most generous to least generous (greedy), according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (99%)
Ronnie Cummins (95%)
Rima Laibow (93%)
Dr. Gary Null (82%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (72%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (69%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (63%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (43%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (31%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (4%)

Best Health

Here are the results for Health, sorted from healthy to unhealthy, according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (100%)
Dr. Gary Null (98%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (97%)
Ronnie Cummins (95%)
Rima Laibow (93%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (91%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (79%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (67%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (65%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (2%)


Here are the results for Authenticity, sorted from most authentic to least authentic (fake), according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (100%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (96%)
Ronnie Cummins (95%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (95%)
Dr. Gary Null (93%)
Rima Laibow (91%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (84%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (66%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (37%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (6%)


Here are the results for Intelligence, sorted from most intelligent to least intelligent, according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (100%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (100%)
Rima Laibow (100%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (99%)
Dr. Gary Null (99%)
Ronnie Cummins (98%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (98%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (77%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (72%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (11%)


Here are the results for Honesty, sorted from most honest to least honest, according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (99%)
Ronnie Cummins (97%)
Dr. Gary Null (95%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (95%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (94%)
Rima Laibow (89%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (86%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (56%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (32%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (4%)


Here are the results for being Informed, sorted from most informed to least informed, according to the survey results:

Mike Adams (99%)
Ronnie Cummins (95%)
Dr. Gary Null (98%)
Dr. Joseph Mercola (97%)
Dr. Julian Whitaker (96%)
Rima Laibow (96%)
Dr. Andrew Weil (81%)
Dr. Gabe Mirkin (52%)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (23%)
Dr. Stephen Barrett (5%)

Final Comments

Naturally, these results reflect the views of NaturalNews.com readers and not necessarily the readers of the other websites represented here. However, I openly invite all the other personalities here to post this same survey on their own websites, and to publicly publish the results as I have here. It would be very interesting to see how the survey results differ depending on where it runs. And I wonder which people on the list would try to "game" the survey to try to boost their own numbers, too.

I can tell you from personal experience that some of the results in this survey are wildly off base. Some people who were rated as healthy are, in my opinion, extremely unhealthy. Some rated as "stupid" are, in reality, extremely intelligent. Some rated as honest are remarkably dishonest. Of course, I'm not interested in naming names, but I do want to urge readers to understand that often the public perception of a "celebrity" personality can be very different from who they are in person. And the only way to know is to find a way to connect with these people in person and form your own opinion from there. You'll find some of these folks at trade shows and expos, but others are very difficult to ever meet in person, so you may not get that chance. If you ever catch me at a trade show, however, please introduce yourself. I'm never too busy to meet another wonderful NaturalNews reader!

In everything you do, remain skeptical at all times. Watch what people do more than what they say. Are they living a healthful lifestyle? Do they look healthy? Sound healthy? Do they give other people credit or do they tend to take all the credit for themselves? Are they more driven by helping you or by helping themselves?

Keep asking these questions of everyone in the health field (including your doctor). Don't believe everything you see, or read, or hear. Think for yourself, and don't fall into the trap of agreeing with 100% of what somebody says, even if that somebody is me.

The No. 1 comment I get from people who approach me in person at events, health food stores or airports is: "Hey Mike, I agree with most of what you say, but..." and then they describe one point on which they disagree with me. I love this! It means my readers are thinking people who stay informed and skeptical at all times. These are the people I love to meet: The people who get the big picture and yet have some differing opinions on the fine details. I hope you're one of those people, too, because this entire mission -- NaturalNews.com, the Health Ranger Show and everything else -- is not about you agreeing with me, it's about participation in the dialog! It's about making sure we can openly and honestly discuss ideas, criticisms and solutions. It's about practicing Free Speech and abandoning outdated ideas or beliefs that no longer serve us.

Keep up the great work, folks. I commend you for your intelligence, skepticism and honesty, and I commit to bringing you independent, authentic and empowering health information for many years to come. Thanks for taking the time to participate in this survey and letting me know that I'm on the right track (but that I still have room for improvement). And thanks for naming NaturalNews.com your most trusted source for natural health news. I will work hard to continue earning your trust and delivering the most impactful health solutions I can find for you.

- Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of NaturalNews.com

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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