The embrace of antimask and antivaccine views by the right wing is due to more than just clever reaching out by antivaxxers. There’s a big money astroturf machine encompassing various “think tanks” behind it.
A week and a half ago, a “study” published on “HCQ Trial” by an anonymous source claiming to be a group of PhD scientists went viral. It claimed that countries that used hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had a 79% lower fatality rate than those who didn’t. It was horrible science and quickly debunked on Twitter by several epidemiologists. That didn’t stop it from going viral. Disinformation like this during a pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges we face.
Many are the PR firms and astroturf groups out there trying to influence the public. One favored technique is to publish an op-ed by an expert or “thought leader” in a major media outlet. Not infrequently, these op-eds are ghostwritten. Unfortunately, to its sorrow, STATNews found that out this week.
Ever since the Disneyland measles outbreak hit high gear last month and permeated the national consciousness, the antivaccine movement has, justifiably, been on the defensive. We’ve been treated to the spectacle of a truly despicable cardiologist spewing antivaccine nonsense with an added dollop of contempt for parents of children with cancer who are worried about […]