Trip Gabriel at NYT:
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.
More than half a century after his father sought the White House to end a calamitous war in Vietnam and to salve the country’s racial wounds, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced a presidential campaign on Wednesday built on re-litigating Covid-19 shutdowns and shaking Americans’ faith in science.
While polls show that up to half of Democrats want someone besides Mr. Biden as their 2024 nominee, no party leader has stepped up with a challenge, and past opponents have rallied to the president’s side. Mr. Kennedy is the latest in a history of fringe presidential aspirants from both parties who run to bring attention to a cause, or to themselves.
For Mr. Kennedy, that cause is vaccine skepticism, which he cloaked in terms of truth-seeking and free speech, a crusade that in the past led him to falsely link childhood vaccines to autism. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he sought to undermine public trust in vaccines, comparing government efforts to impose mandates in some places to “Hitler’s Germany.” Both Facebook and Instagram took down accounts of a group he runs for spreading medical misinformation.