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Who Are The QuackWatchers?

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Who Are The QuackWatchers?

The Chiro.Org Blog

For those who have forgotten, or for those who never knew, organized medicine spent decades and millions of dollars trying to discredit and destroy chiropractic. Today the vestiges of this suppression are still found on fringe web sites that ignore the body of peer-reviewed research supporting chiropractic care.

You may also explore the depths of medical arrogance in this in-depth review of the Wilk case.

About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


  1. Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS August 10, 2009 at 7:44 am


    I think when it comes to the “quack watchers” the problem isn’t always what they write about us because often what they have written is true. The problem is that they may imply that the lunacy some of our colleagues do or write is representative of the whole profession.

    Clearly there are chiropractors who espouse treatments lacking any reasonable scientific evidence or physiological rationale, who make outlandish claims or in other ways are unethical. However, do these people represent what chiropractic has to offer? I don’t think so. But reading one of these web sites one might get the impression that what is the worse amongst us is actually the common denominator.

    I recently read one item from chirobase where Dr. Barrett actually suggests that what he sees in chiropractors’ web sites is not representative of our whole profession.

    If we were better at policing ourselves we wouldn’t give them canon fodder that the web is full of.


  2. Frank August 10, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Hi Stephen

    It does you credit that you believe those people’s only concern is to protect consumers. It speaks to the purity of your own mission. And I support your commitment to science-based decisions (when those are available).

    My contention is that they are preying on our profession, encouraged (and funded) by their masters, using every half-truth at their disposal, to tarnish all of us.

    Rather than jumping up and shouting “not me”, we all need to focus on two things: Cleaning our own house, and taking aim at these bottom feeders who besmirch our profession.

  3. Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS August 10, 2009 at 10:33 am


    Thank you. I think it is better to ascribe honorable (although possibly misguided) intentions to our critics. Espcially because there is no profit motive in being a critic. On the other hand there is profit to be made by being a cheerleader.

    Having spent quite a while on the healthfraud mailing list, I’ve come to believe that most really are interested in protecting consumers. Clearly for some the bar they have set for chiropractic is higher than for other professions and their biases are hidden to them.

    One time in an exchange on the healthfraud list, I said I know I have a pro-chiropractic bias and a problem is that the people I was having a dialect with didn’t acknowledge that they had any biases at all. One person replied that he was grateful I admitted my bias but never acknowledged what was obviously his. One can’t mitigate the effects that bias has on ones thinking if one doesn’t acknowledge that one has biases. And we all have biases.

    I’m not sure if you think the bottom feeders are the quack watchers or the chiropractors who give them stuff to “watch”.


  4. stevev August 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm


    As another who spent considerable time on the healthfraud list also, I must say that I believe you have hit the nail on the head! I also found the same bias in their perspective, evaluation of the literature, and their, dare I say, egotistical posturing they rather proudly prance around with. It has been quite a few years since I was on that list, so I am most certainly willing to admit that the attitude of the list, and most notably in my opinion one of the profession’s most notorious detractors members of the group at the time, has very well changed. I had seen some comments he wrote after I left the list where he admitted that there may be evidence to support manipulation for the thoracic and lumbar regions but the cervical is proven to be too dangerous for clinic use.


  5. Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS August 10, 2009 at 12:26 pm


    I don’t know that their attitudes have changed. In someways they remind me of the Hatfield and McCoy’s. “If you ain’t a hundred percent for me you must be against me.”

    Thus, one can decry poor practices and behaviors in chiropractic but because one won’t attack the whole profession you aren’t really against the bad actors.


  6. Frank August 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    In my pre-DC days I was deeply interested in psychology. My experience with these types of mail-lists is that most participants love to play the game called “Ain’t It Awful”.

    This game has as it’s hallmark the joy of complaining, coupled with little to no interest whatsoever in being the *cause* for constructive change. That’s why it’s called a game!

    I have occasionally fallen into messianic mode, where I attempted to write constructively to Mr. Barrett, and it rapidly became very clear to me that this man has no interest in admitting to anything positive about chiropractic, or any other form of alternative or complementary care. It just doesn’t suit his role as the self-appointed St. George, the dragon slayer.

  7. Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS August 10, 2009 at 1:50 pm


    Respectfully, I would suggest that one refers to Dr. Barrett as doctor. Otherwise, we fall into the trap of playing the game of some of those aligned against us and stooping to their level of ad hom.

    Dr. Barrett and always referred to me as Dr. Perle unlike Dr. Murray Katz. Please see this exchange between Dr. Katz and myself reposted to my blog


  8. Frank August 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I stand corrected. My experience is that the man does not deserve the respect implied in ther term *doctor*, but you are right…he earned his degree “fair and square”.

  9. Frank September 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm


    A few posts ago you made a mistaken contention:

    I think it is better to ascribe honorable (although possibly misguided) intentions to our critics. Especially because there is no profit motive in being a critic.

    Are you telling me that you actually believe that the formidable group of anti-quack websites that Dr. B maintains are all *non-profit, or that he hasn’t financially benefited by his vocation as the burr under our saddle? Seriously? This man has turned our profession into his own personal cottage industry for decades.

    Ask yourself…if you didn’t practice your profession for 20 years, how would you pay YOUR bills? It doesn’t matter that some of his points are valid. It’s all misdirection, a way to slip us the shive, while hiding behind his mask of altruism.

    As I said earlier, you are crediting them with your own lofty intentions, and that speaks highly of your purity of spirit, but sadly, I believe you have cast your pearls before swine.

  10. Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS September 30, 2009 at 6:46 am


    I think if I had retired 20 years ago, I’d mostly pay my bills with my 403B, which is actually gaining in value now after the free fall. 😉

    I don’t see anything on Dr. Barrett’s web sites that say that they are non-profit. The web sites are monetized but none of the vendors are “anti chiropractic” vendors. Then again I don’t know a vendor that makes money off of being antic-chiropractic. But I doubt that the vendors and donations do much more than pay the web hosting costs. I’m sure if there is a profit it isn’t allowing him to live high on the hog.

    Also if one looks at the range of issues that he maintains web sites on it looks as if he is an equal opportunity critic. And if the distribution of ones content is an indication of the distribution of ones income I think we are just a small piece of the pie.

    What I’ve observed when I was a member of his healthfraud mailing list was that he and the other healthfraud people are not focused upon chiropractic. We just pop up on their radar periodically. For example when someone in the profession makes stupid statements about chiropractic preventing H1N1. I am sure the recent “press releases” by chiropractors on this topic have engendered much discussion.

    I don’t know his intentions but I don’t ascribe nefarious intent just because he is constantly pointing out our faults. You are right he may make money on the advertising associated with the site but we provide the content. If we didn’t have all the problems our profession has he wouldn’t have us to kick around would he? I don’t regularly read his web sites but when I have read parts I haven’t found him to present contents that is less than factual. Of course one could get the impression that the problems he exposes within chiropractic are the totality of the profession mush has one might believe after watching local news that murder and mayhem are the norm in American cities.

    Here’s a list of his vendors
    Vonage,,, Netflix, HealthGrades

    None of them seem to be anti chiropractic, do they?


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