Gary M. Null
Gary Null in 2009
|Born||1945 (age 73–74)|
|Residence||Manhattan, New York City|
|Alma mater||Mountain State College, Parkersburg, West Virginia (Associate's degree, Business administration) |
Thomas Edison State College (Bachelor's degree, Individualized)
Union Institute & University (PhD)
Gary Michael Null (born 1945) is an American talk radio host and author who advocates for alternative medicine and naturopathy and who produces a line of dietary supplements. On his radio show, and in books and self-produced movies, Null attacks the medical community, promotes a range of alternative cancer treatments, denies that HIV causes AIDS, opposes genetically modified foods, and promotes dietary supplements which he produces. The website Quackwatch described Null as "one of the nation's leading promoters of dubious treatment for serious disease".
In 2010, Null and six other consumers were hospitalized for vitamin D poisoning caused by ingesting his own nutritional supplements. Null sued a contractor involved in producing the product, alleging that each contained more than 1,000 times the dose of vitamin D reported on the label.
Early life and education
Null was raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, with his two brothers. He holds an associate's degree in business administration from the 2-year, for-profit Mountain State College in Parkersburg, West Virginia and a Bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey.
Null holds a Ph.D. in human nutrition and public health sciences from Union Institute & University, a private distance-learning college headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Null's doctoral thesis was entitled "A Study of Psychological and Physiological Effects of Caffeine on Human Health." His credentials, including the degree-granting practices at Edison State and the rigor of the Ph.D. program at Union Institute, have been questioned by Stephen Barrett on his Quackwatch website, who labeled Null "one of the nation's leading promoters of dubious treatment for serious disease". The Union Institute's Ph.D. program came under scrutiny by the Ohio Board of Regents in the late 1990s and early 2000s, culminating in a report noting that "expectations for student scholarship at the doctoral level were not as rigorous as is common for doctoral work". As a result, The Union was put on probation, the Union Graduate School was dissolved and the Ph.D. program was restructured.
Null has been critical of many facets of mainstream medicine, arguing that physicians and pharmaceutical companies have an economic interest in promoting rather than preventing sickness. In 1979-80, he co-authored a series of articles on cancer research for Penthouse, entitled "The Politics of Cancer" beginning with "The Great Cancer Fraud." In place of standard medical therapy, Null advocated alternative cancer treatments such as hydrazine sulfate, accusing the medical community of "suppressing alternative cancer treatments to protect the medical establishment's solid-gold cancer train." A series of three articles co-authored by Null in Penthouse is credited by David Gorski with bringing the Burzynski clinic to prominence. In 1985, Null began writing a lengthy series of reports for Penthouse entitled "Medical Genocide". In 1999 TIME magazine wrote of Null: "From a young reporter this is to be expected. But two decades later, Null, 54, is still warning of a variety of medical bogeymen out to gull a trusting public."
Influenza and AIDS
Null was the keynote speaker at a rally opposing mandatory H1N1 influenza vaccination during the 2009 flu pandemic, leading the New York State Department of Health to dismiss Null's claims about the vaccine as "not scientifically credible." The New York State Health Commissioner held a conference at the time of the rally to discuss the clinical trials which were used to demonstrate its safety.
Null has argued that HIV is harmless and does not cause AIDS. In his book AIDS: A Second Opinion, Null advocated a range of dietary supplements for HIV-positive individuals instead of antiretroviral medication. In 2002, the Salon website described the book as "massive, irresponsible and nearly unreadable." Seth Kalichman, professor of social psychology at the University of Connecticut, has decried Null's role as a prominent proponent of AIDS denialism and has accused him of cashing in on HIV/AIDS; in Kalichman's 2009 book, Denying AIDS, he compared Null's activities to Holocaust denial and described Null as an example of a dangerous entrepreneur who "obviously breached" the balance between free speech and protecting public health.
Vitamin D supplement
In 2010, Null reported that he and six other consumers had been hospitalized for vitamin D poisoning after ingesting a nutritional supplement manufactured by his own contractor. In a lawsuit against the company, he alleged that the supplement erroneously contained more than 1,000 times the dose of vitamin D reported on the label. Null received numerous telephone calls from customers while himself in severe pain.
The Los Angeles Times wrote that Null's experience "should give pause to anyone lured by the extravagant claims of many supplements makers," and said that it was common for dietary supplements to contain doses "wildly different than those indicated on their label" as a result of weak regulation.
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.
Null has made several self-funded and self-produced documentary films on public policy, personal health, and development. These have been aired by PBS during pledge drives, leading to a surge in sales of his books. The use of Null's films in PBS pledge drives raised ethical concerns for those involved with the network, who felt that Null's claims were "very close to pseudo-science" and that PBS should not promote them. While Null's films were effective in generating financial contributions, the president of PBS, Ervin Duggan, expressed concern that broadcasting Null's videos "open[ed] the door to quacks and charlatans."
... 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 information.
Null has self-produced a number of films including:
- Poverty Inc (2014)
- Autism: Made in the U.S.A.(2009)
- Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own (2007)
- Barrett, Stephen (January 29, 2012). "A Critical Look at Gary Null's Activities and Credentials". Quackwatch. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Butler, Kurt; Barrett, Stephen (June 1, 1992). A consumer's guide to "alternative medicine": a close look at homeopathy, acupuncture, faith-healing, and other unconventional treatments. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9780879757335. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
- Park, Alice; Jeffrey Kluger (May 17, 1999). "The New Mister Natural". TIME. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- Andreadis, Cleopatra (April 29, 2010). "Alternative Health Guru Sues Company Over His Own Product". ABC News. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- Healy, Melissa (April 29, 2010). "Supplements guru sues over his own product". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Goetz, Kristina (March 27, 2004). "Union Institute rules get stricter". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- OBR 2002 Reauthorization Report, p. 13
- Null's Penthouse articles on alternative cancer therapies include:
- Null, Gary; Robert Houston (1979). "The Great Cancer Fraud". Penthouse: 76–78, 82, 268, 270, 272, 274, 276–278.
- Null, Gary; A. Pitrone (1980). "Suppression of new cancer therapies: Dr. Joseph Gold and hydrazine sulfate". Penthouse: 97–98, 160, 162–163.
- Null, Gary; L. Steinman (1980). "The politics of cancer. Part five. Suppression of new cancer therapies: Dr. Lawrence Burton". Penthouse: 75–76, 188–194, 196–197.
- Gorski, David (July 2, 2013). "Stanislaw Burzynski: The Early Years". Science Based Medicine. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Scribona, Charles (November 2, 2009). "Health workers angry over mandatory swine flu shots". Legislative Gazette. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- Kurth, Peter (May 21, 2002). "Quack record". Salon.com. Archived from the original on October 2, 2002. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- Kalichman, S (2009). Denying AIDS. Springer. pp. 12, 89. ISBN 978-0-387-79475-4.
- "Letter to Indra Hardat, interim general manager, WBAI/Pacifica". ACT-UP. January 17, 2006. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- "WBAI: Do not put Gary Null's dangerous show on the air". aidstruth.org. November 17, 2010. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- Katz, Richard, Null zeroes in on PBS, fills void in coffers, Variety, 23 December 1998. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Quinn, Judy Gary Null's Book Sales Get Healthier, Publishers Weekly 12 April 1999. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Farhi, Paul (December 26, 1998). "PBS'S New-Age Answer to Age-Old Problem". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- Bedford, Karen Everhart (January 25, 1999). "Gary Null special sparks debate on pledge program standards". Current. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- Kloor Keith (May 31, 2013). "Gary Null, Cultivator of Dangerous Woo, Plants Seeds of Death". Collide-a-Scape. Discover. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "'Poverty Inc.' gives long lecture on the banking world". LA Times. December 4, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- Gates, Anita (December 4, 2014). "The Corporate Creation of a New Class Structure". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- Variety Review: 'Autism: Made in the U.S.A.'; Andrew Barker
- Miami New Times Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own (NR)