ABC news producer Nicholas Regush doubts the HIV explanation of AIDS and considers alternative explanations in his abcnews.com health column,


But will he ever get accurate data and sensible analysis onto the stories he produces for World News Tonight, Nightline, & 20/20?

Those who insist on accuracy and rationality in HIV/AIDS journalism have gained a potent ally in ABCNEWS medical science producer Nicholas Regush, whose stories appear on Peter Jennings' World News Tonight , Ted Koppel's Nightline , and Barbara Walters's 20/20, often reported by medical correspondent Timothy Johnson, MD. Though Regush has not yet gotten the AIDS reappraisal perspective into his AIDS broadcast features, he advanced it explicitly and enthusiastically several times last year in his weekly internet column, "Second Opinion" (www.abcnews.com, then click on "Health & Living," then "Second Opinion").

Because his commentaries document important information (some of it original) and offer much promise, rather than describe his columns at length, this issue of RA reprints several of them, either in whole or in part (to ensure their easily accessed inclusion in the permanent record of this topic).

Regush's "Second Opinions" describe his frustrations in getting funded researchers and government officials to answer scientific criticisms and probing questions about the lucrative HIV-AIDS model and other heavily funded scientific claims, such as the safety, necessity, and efficacy of certain pharmaceuticals and vaccinations.

His conclusions validate two essential counts made by others in the pages of RA in our continuing series documenting "The Myth of Academic Freedom."

First, many popular scientific concepts enjoy protection from scrutiny. Professional and academic censorship, rather than being exceptional, is common: it protects not just the HIV-AIDS model, but many other politically correct ideas as well. Regush describes how reporters enforce this censorship (by ignoring or misrepresenting dissenting scientists), and how such censorship applies to them: If they publicize dissenting scientists or scrutinize the prevailing view, they risk losing access to their prominent sources, who tend to be vested in these views.

Second, the censorship of HIV-AIDS critics is the most brazen example of contemporary intellectual suppression.

The articles reprinted here compose a series in which Regush accurately describes and fairly evaluates the rethinking AIDS perspective. In the course of his research, he opened productive communications with prominent critics who doubt that HIV can explain AIDS. His internet articles promote the questions raised by these critics, and seriously consider the alternative explanations for AIDS that they propose, including non-infectious factors such as narcotics consumption, the very drugs used to treat HIV, and poverty.

This level of scrutiny from a respected journalist of course represents a significant victory for truth and accuracy. But Regush has yet to get an AIDS reappraisal perspective into any of his broadcast reports. He has declined to discuss anything having to do with HIV/AIDS on the record outside of his carefully worded internet columns.

Regush writ es passionately about this topic. Anybody reading his columns will conclude that he not only recognizes that HIV/AIDS media coverage lacks facts, skepticism, and balance but that he intends to do something about it. His abstention from further comment seems like a safeguard against undermining an unstated intention to succeed where other honest reporters have failed: to treat HIV/AIDS as a news item rather than a public service announcement. -- Paul Philpott

The following articles by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regush originally appeared on the ABCNEWS webpage, abcnews.com, which still archeives them. They appear here slightly revised and in order of their original 1999 web publication, though without dates, since ABCNEWS doesn't date its internet articles.

I Beg to Differ by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regush
Medical Profession Doesn't Always Welcome Diversity of Opinion

The HIV Party Line by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regus
Is It Time for AIDS Scientists to Open Some New Research Doors?
Dogmatism will get HIV researches nowhere. Some HIV/AIDS researchers seem to have forgotten what scientific inquiry is all about.

Never-Never Land by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regus
Question AZT for Babies and People Get Hot Under the Collar
Considering the many side effects of the AIDS drug AZT, the question of giving it to pregnant women should be weighed carefully instead of being blindly accepted.

No AZT for My Baby, Please by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regus
Why Parents With HIV Don't Treat Their Kids
Has the government stepped over the line when it uses armed guards to force mothers to give their
babies AZT? Some moms think so and are fighting to keep their kids AZT-free.

No Debate About It by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regus
HIV Causes What?

Is HIV in Our Genes? by ABCNEWS medical producer Nicholas Regus
Now there's a Question Worth Asking
A small minority of researchers think that HIV may not be a foreign body that causes AIDS after being introduced in a human. Rather, the virus may be produced by our own bodies when our genetic material is broken down by other toxins.

Back issues