Just like Conservatives love their fossil fuels, Liberals love their vaccines.

By Paul D. Thacker

Very smart people from all across the world are gathering in Egypt for the UN’s COP meeting on climate change—one of the greatest challenges confronting our species and planet. I began reporting on climate change almost 20 years ago and gave an invited talk on disinformation at the COP meeting in Madrid a few years back.

Since nothing much in the history of climate disinformation has changed since then, I’m publishing that talk here today, with a few updating tweaks.

A few weeks ago, I broke an investigation for The BMJ on fossil fuel companies’ influence at prestigious American universities. Oil and gas industry’s tactics mirror that of tobacco, which began paying academics for research in the 1950s, right as the science on smoking’s dangers were becoming alarming. I spent dozens and dozens of hours researching this investigation, but I had actually started reporting on the piece in early 2020. Unfortunately, COVID derailed my oil and gas investigation, as reporting on the epidemic and vaccines drowned out pretty much everything and anything not pandemic-related.

Instead, I wrote a multi-part investigation for The BMJ that found undisclosed financial interests among medical experts advising US and UK vaccine advisory boards, and I followed up with another investigation into serious problems with Pfizer’s critical COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

The series on vaccines later won a British Journalism Award, while the Pfizer investigation was a finalist for another prize and is now one of the most-widely cited articles published in science.

As I was reporting over the last couple of years on the pandemic and the COVID vaccines, I noticed a very interesting trend. While conservatives give hugs and kisses to the fossil fuel companies and ignore their documented history of deceit on climate change, they have a healthy skepticism of the biopharmaceutical industry. Meanwhile, American liberals have fallen in love with vaccines and close their eyes to Big Pharma’s decades of dishonesty and corruption, while expressing distaste with oil and gas.

“As soon as the vaccines were authorized, all these climate scientists started tweeting that critics were anti-science,” one of America’s top epidemiologists and vaccine experts told me, in a recent phone call.

Having reported on corruption in both the fossil fuel and biopharmaceutical companies for quite some time, I’m going to come back in a later piece to noodle out what is happening. Where I live now in Europe, emotions run much cooler toward both industries.

Until then, here’s my talk. Enjoy. And please give your own views in the comments below.

Link to Paul Thacker’s Disinformation Chronicle article

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