By Erum Salam

With Commentary by Michael Lerner

This is a very interesting list.  [check slides with article]  Along with Joseph Mercola and Robert Kennedy, we find Kelly Brogan and Christianne Northrup.  While Mercola and Kennedy are to be expected, Brogan and Northrop are less obvious candidates.  They are broadly perceived to have some credibility in the integrative medicine field.  As is often the case when people become very afraid, the media paint with a broad brush.  Perhaps Brogan and Northrop “deserve” to be on the list given their views.  We leave that judgment to the reader.  But they are certainly in a different “class” from Mercola and Kennedy. 

The tension between freedom of Covid speech and freedom to voice different Covid views is in increasingly sharp conflict with the effort to get people vaccinated.  From a judicial point of view, restraining dissident Covid views may seem like restraining the freedom to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre.  We leave it to the reader to decide what to make of this list of spreaders of vaccine disinformation.

We are going to have to learn to live with Covid — as more and more authorities say is the case — and not close down economies to try to stop it.Those against getting vaccinated have been amply warned of the consequences.  More and more of the vaccine hesitant and spokespeople they trust are signing up for vaccination, Most of those remaining will increasingly be people who have made up their minds not to be vaccinated.  They do indeed represent 90% of the hospital cases.  As they continue to get sick and sometimes to die, we will hear more “deathbed conversions” taking place where prominent anti-vaxers are changing their minds.  So are their ministers, their media favorites, and even their politicians.
Their reluctance to get vaccinated does indeed threaten the vaccinated with exposures.  The case for them to get vaccinated remains compelling.  But that is unlikely to happen in the real world.  They will face increasing pressure from employers, from restaurants and bars, from airlines and other places to get vaccinated.  They may enter a world of vaccine passports.  But unless they are compelled to be vaccinated — which seems quite unlikely and indeed un-American — they are exercising an ancient right — the right to decide what we do with our own bodies.
Darwinian forces will slowly reduce their numbers, and as they sicken and sometimes die.  More conservative trusted guides will encourage vaccination.   The agonies of those who sicken or die will likely draw more and more vaccine hesitants to the other side.  Meanwhile, the freedom of speech vs. public safety tension will remain.  These are the messy and sometimes lethal consequences of being a democracy.

Michael Lerner

CCDH finds ‘disinformation dozen’ have combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms

The vast majority of Covid-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from just 12 people, a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) cited by the White House this week found.

CCDH, a UK/US non-profit and non-governmental organization, found in March that these 12 online personalities they dubbed the “disinformation dozen” have a combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms, with Facebook having the largest impact. CCDH analyzed 812,000 Facebook posts and tweets and found 65% came from the disinformation dozen. Vivek Murthy, US surgeon general, and Joe Biden focused on misinformation around vaccines this week as a driving force of the virus spreading.

On Facebook alone, the dozen are responsible for 73% of all anti-vaccine content, though the vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by the US government and its regulatory agencies. And 95% of the Covid misinformation reported on these platforms were not removed.

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