Erick Erickson's email list subscribers have received a bizarre array of pitches from conspiracy theorists and dubious practitioners warning of the impending death of millions of Americans and promising “cures” to cancer, Alzheimer's, and aging.
Politico's Ken Vogel recently reported how the conservative movement has been infected by “scam PACs,” which “critics say exist mostly to pad the pockets of the consultants who run them.” One of the favorite avenues for these sketchy schemes is the email list of Fox News contributor Erick Erickson's RedState.com.
Vogel wrote that Erickson is a frequent critic of dubious PACs, yet RedState's list has promoted many of their efforts. Erickson told Vogel he does not control who rents his list, “and it horrifies me that the list sometimes get rented to some of these guys.”
In addition to dubious PAC emails, RedState has sent sponsored missives about “Reagan's Secret Victory Over Cancer,” “Obama's Deadly FDA Secret,” “1 Weird Trick to KILL old age,” items to “hoard” to protect your family from starving, and the “Obama scandal” that “WILL KILL MILIONS [sic].”
RedState is owned by Salem Media company Townhall Media, which manages RedState's email list. According to them, the dedicated RedState emails reach 265,000 subscribers. Other Salem properties include Townhall.com, Human Events, and HotAir.com. Many emails sent to RedState's list also went to the lists of those sites.
Below are six shady products and pitches RedState has sent to Erickson's email list in recent months.
“President Ronald Reagan's Secret Victory Over Cancer”
In an October 25, 2014, email with the subject line “President Ronald Reagan's Secret Victory Over Cancer,” subscribers to RedState's email list were informed that President Reagan had secretly overcome “three deadly forms of cancer” thanks to a “secret meeting in Germany.”
The email links to a rambling explanation from “Dr. Al Sears,” who claims that a “secret cancer cure” called the “8th Element Protocol” (or oxygen therapy) can help you “effectively rid your body of cancer or ANY disease, without side effects.”
Sears argues that though this information has been suppressed by the FDA and the “cancer industry,” it has been supported by “6,100 independent studies” and used by “wealthy elite” like Jack Nicholson, Cher, and Siegfried and Roy. The bottom of Sears' pitch offers, “Even if you don't have cancer yourself, or know someone who does, these proven techniques can easily ensure you and your family NEVER get cancer to begin with.”
Contrary to Sears' claims, The American Cancer Society writes, “Available scientific evidence does not support claims that putting oxygen-releasing chemicals into a person's body is effective in treating cancer. Some types of oxygen treatment may even be dangerous; there have been reports of serious illness and death from hydrogen peroxide.”
Emails touting Reagan's secret cancer victory have also been sent by other conservative outlets and media figures, including WND, Dick Morris, Newsmax, and Glenn Beck.
"[WARNING] Obama's Deadly FDA Secret Could Kill You"
An ominous October 2014 email from RedState warned readers of the “urgent news” that there exists “a shocking cover-up involving Obama, Congress and the FDA” which “is threatening the lives of over 45 million Americans... including you.” The email continued, claiming people “need to know the truth before this cover-up kills you or someone you love.”
The email links to a video from “The Health Sciences Institute” sounding the alarm about a conspiracy cover-up of miracle, “natural” cures for a wide range of deadly diseases and ailments, including:
- Cancer (“vaporizes cancer in six weeks... without side effects”)
- Alzheimer's (“protect you and your loved ones against Alzheimer's and even reverse its effects. The best part is, this treatment is 100% natural, has no side effects”)
- Heart disease (a “cure so powerful it could allow patients to cancel bypass surgery”)
The email pitch about “Obama's Deadly FDA Secret” was also sent to subscribers to Townhall's list.
“1 Weird Trick to KILL old age? (20 years)”
A May 2014 email featured a pitch from “Dr. Derrick DeSilva” promising an “odd little ingredient” that is helping him and his patients “turn back the clock on aging, up to 20 years,” while also lowering their cholesterol. As is often the case with these miracle email cures, Dr. DeSilva wanted to let readers in on the secret “before it becomes mainstream and the FDA or Big Pharma try and shut it down for good.”
The pitch -- which all builds to a sales offer for a $69.95 bottle of “Oceans Bounty” pills featuring “therapeutic brown seaweeds and sea minerals” -- promises that the “secrets from the sea” found in the pills can help you “never feel sick again.” Oceans Bounty can also lead to a situation where “men and women in their 80s and 90s” are “racing by on bicycles or motorcycles” and “youthful great grandparents” are “working in fields.”
The weird trick to kill old age was also revealed to subscribers to Newsmax Health's email list.
"#1 Item You Should Be Hoarding in 2015"
RedState sent a January 17 email from Food4Patriots warning there's “bad news on the horizon” and readers should “hoard” their particular food survival kits or “you could be setting your family up to be hungry in a time of crisis.” The pitch linked to a page asking, “Why Has This Video Been Banned?” (even though the video is available) and claiming FEMA is attempting to stockpile food, possibly because “FEMA knows something we don't and is worried that they see a full-scale disaster about to hit.”
It continues, “If I'm wrong life will go on as normal, and I'll happily admit that I was off my rocker. But if I'm right this could force our friends and neighbors into FEMA camps.”
Then-Think Progress reporter Zack Beauchamp, now with Vox, examined Food4Patriots in January 2014 and found that its revenue “came on the back of some (arguably) really shady practices.” He noted that the group's fearmongering about FEMA food hoarding is particularly dubious.
The email was also sent to lists of The Blaze and WND. Last year, RedState sent an email telling its readers to hoard “77 items.”
The “Obama Scandal” That “WILL KILL MILIONS [sic]”
RedState sent a September 19, 2014, email from Survivopedia.com claiming “Benghazi is Nothing Compared to This Obama Scandal.” The email is a pitch for how to survive an EMP attack. Blackoutusa.com, a page linked to from the email, claims “Obama and the hotshot crooks are ignoring this threat and do nothing to help us... even though they know it WILL KILL MILIONS [sic].”
According to the site, the attack -- which “is coming in the next 12 to 13 months” -- will “wipe out 281 million Americans in the first year.” Fortunately, they offer a way to prep for the coming apocalypse: “For $49 you'll get a hard copy of the 'Darkest Days' Program...And you'll know not only how to survive an EMP... but also a food shortage, a mass pandemic, an economic meltdown and violent riots all at the same time” (ellipses in original).
The email was also sent to lists of The Blaze and Townhall.com.
Is The Government Shutting Down ATMs? (No)
RedState sent a November 13, 2014, email from Common Sense Publishing warning, “Gov't to shut down ATMs? (video).” It continued, claiming that there's “a real and unusual retirement option that no bank will tell you about.”
There is no actual evidence that the government is planning to “shut down ATMs” in the video. The email is a pitch for readers to subscribe to Common Sense Publishing's newsletter.
Other emails sent to the RedState list feature subject lines including, “250 Million Americans Already Infected (Video)”; “1 Weird Spice That Destroys Diabetes”; “The Illuminati [Secret Society] Puts a Deathgrip on America”; and “7 Reasons This Company is Poised to Double or even Triple your Money.”