Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Trump and the Anti-Vaxxers

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate has a report titled "The Anti-Vaxx Industry; How Big Tech powers and profits from vaccine Misinformation."
While most anti-vaxxers are ambivalent about Donald Trump, an influential minority feel he shares their views on vaccines, Covid and online misinformation. As a result, they are voicing support for Trump and in one case are preparing to offer anti-vaxxers financial support in the upcoming US elections, risking increased polarisation of the debate over a future Coronavirus vaccine.
President Trump has previously expressed his sympathy for the antivaxx conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism, and reporte ly met with anti-vaxxers including Andrew Wakefield ahead of his election in 2016. But this changed one Trump reached office. Last year Trump publicly backed vaccines when it became clear that measles outbreaks in the US were the result of poor vaccination coverage. Now he has backed the rapid development of a Coronavirus vaccine as a way out of the dilemma posed by the pandemic and its effect on the economy.
Despite this ambiguity over Trump’s position on vaccines and Covid, the antivaxx entrepreneur David Wolfe has used his Telegram channel to express support for Donald Trump’s attacks on social media platforms that have labelled his posts as false or dangerous. Wolfe, who has the largest total following of any actor in our sample, has also shared posts featuring the QAnon conspiracy theory that pits Donald Trump against an imagined “deep state”.Wolfe has also shared QAnon conspiracy material with his 12 million Facebook followers, including a meme about“The Great Awakening”, a QAnon term referring to a final confrontation with the Satanist cabal that adherents claim runs the world.