Pro-Trump media outlet Newsmax has been sending emails falsely claiming that there is a “natural cure for Alzheimer’s” to get readers to purchase its affiliated products.
Newsmax’s scammy marketing is another example of how the company deceives its audience for profit. Media Matters previously documented that Newsmax’s online operation has pushed grifts regarding the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Newsmax TV, the network’s cable news channel, has been trying to position itself as an even more pro-Trump alternative to Fox News by lying to viewers about the Democrats supposedly stealing the 2020 presidential election.
Media Matters received emails from Newsmax in October 2020 and April 2019 with the false subject line: “Natural Cure for Alzheimer’s.” The email contained a link to a Newsmax.com piece claiming that a “natural product … can reverse Alzheimer’s.”
Both emails also promoted Newsmax affiliated products, including the Newsmax newsletter of Russell Blaylock, a discredited doctor who is an anti-vaxxer and a conspiracy theorist. The emails claimed that readers can repair damage from Alzheimer's “but only if you know these 7 things that activate Alzheimer’s in your brain.” Clicking on the link sent readers to a signup page for a “FREE Brain Protection Kit,” which is a way of eventually getting readers to pay for Blaylock’s monthly newsletter, which costs $49.95 (digital) to $54.95 (print) per year.
The Alzheimer’s Association states: “While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a way to stop or slow its progression, there are drug and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms. Understanding available options can help individuals living with the disease and their caregivers to cope with symptoms and improve quality of life.”
In 2014, Newsmax drew scrutiny after it rented the email list of former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to push a similar grift about Alzheimer’s from Blaylock. (Brown, who is now the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, dropped Newsmax after the mailing.) The Boston Globe wrote at the time that the email carried the subject line “5 Signs You’ll Get Alzheimer’s Disease’’ and “came with links to a video from a doctor warning against flu vaccines, fluoridated water, and excessive exercising, among other questionable medical claims.” The Globe added:
The doctor promoted in the e-mail, Dr. Russell Blaylock, boasts on his website that “He doesn’t parrot what the New England Journal of Medicine — which receives heavy subsidies in advertisements — claims.’’ He crusades against “killer vaccines.’’
Blaylock could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But public health officials have long worried that physicians who say vaccines are harmful can undermine public health efforts.
“This is total conspiracy theory,’’ said Dr. Sean Palfrey, past president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University School of Medicine. “The CDC has a whole website on these kind of hoaxes. There is absolutely no evidence that the flu vaccine, nor any other vaccines, nor exercise is associated with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.’’
Newsmax states on its advertising page that it targets “the 45+ audience demographic — the group with the highest disposable income!”