You Funded the COVID19 Disinformation Dealers

Your Tax Dollars Were Delivered to Anti-Vaccination Groups that Promote False Information about the Pandemic

In the ultimate flourish of irony, the US government delivered Payroll Protection Program checks totaling over $850,000 to prominent entities that fueled spread of the virus. Notorious silos of disinformation received your tax dollars to buoy up business and web presence that worked in opposition to public health guidelines, and ultimately probably deepened the severity of the pandemic. The information was obtained by U.K. advocacy group Center for Countering Digital Hate, my new favorite U.K. advocacy group.

The website run by Joe Mercola is a well established hellscape of false health information. Mercola.com received $335,000 from the program. The website he runs is an empire of falsehoods, and I’m not sure how any pandemic can wreak havoc on the business endeavors of a website. Analysis of content shows that Mercola.com is alive and well, belching out bad information about COVID19. I punched “COVID vaccine” into the search engine on the page, and here’s what $335,000 bought you.

I clicked on that first link. How does the vaccine “destroy your immune system”? The article is the usual mish-mash of cheery picking and half-truths, based on the question of “immune enhancement”, a phenomenon that occurred with some vaccines in their early trials. In these cases, the vaccine made the infection worse, as was the case with lentiviruses and Respiratory Scintial Virus, where specific attributes of the proteins in the vaccines lead to enhance the condition they are attempting to resolve.

But the design of the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccines, the testing, and now delivery in millions of people shows zero evidence of vaccine-mediated enhancement.

Mercola also hosts anti-COVID19 disinformation videos by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

In this video the non-dead Kennedy seeds doubt, just askin’ questions…

Such efforts undermine the important public health efforts of scientists, physicians and others who try to communicate the true risks and benefits.

Worse, by sowing doubt about vaccination Mercola and Kennedy discourage vaccination and increase the likelihood that the pandemic will be more severe and cause more death. First do no harm “doctors”?

A meager $72,000 went to anti-vaccination crank Sherri Tenpenny’s organization, The Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center, a group so rich in disinformation that it was banned from Facebook. She has widely promoted the false link between autism and vaccination, and promotes bogus medical information and sells “detox” nostrums on her website.

The sinister bottom line is that the pandemic has thrived on disinformation promoted by online sources. Quacks wrapped in a patina of medical legitimacy have fostered an online environment of doubt, causing many to think twice about pursuing vaccination, or even questioning the pandemic in its entirety.

COVID19 ravages on, fueled by disinformation.

And your tax dollars are funding it.

The information above is the personal view of Dr. Kevin Folta as a private citizen and does not represent the University of Florida, its faculty, staff, or students. Please direct complaints to him directly and not to the university.

Land-grant scientist exploring ways to make better food with less input, and how to communicate science. All funding at kevinfolta.com/transparency