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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Shanahan Did Her Own "Research"

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.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

RFK Jr. picked wealthy fellow antivaxxer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate.  Like him, she has spread the falsehood that vaccines cause autism.

[Ex-husband Sergey] Brin was consumed by his own career and interests, and therefore had no qualms about Shanahan’s more dubious beliefs, another person familiar with his thinking said. In 2018, they had a daughter, Echo, who was later diagnosed with autism. Shanahan told Steele that motherhood changed her life. “Through [Echo’s] experience, I’ve seen everything differently,” she said.

To some observers close to her, the autism diagnosis accelerated Shanahan’s attraction to unproven scientific theories, and later her alignment with Kennedy.

In the speech announcing her candidacy in March—delivered in a languid tone that contrasted with Kennedy’s harsh intensity—Shanahan said she “got deep into the research” after Echo was born and came to believe that autism and chronic diseases are mainly caused by medications, electromagnetic pollution, and “toxic substances in our environment.”
“She’s always been a crystal gazer,” a person who has spent considerable time with her said. But Echo’s struggles pushed her deeper into the fringes. “People who have children [in that position], their views can sometimes be swayed, because you’re looking for an answer that doesn’t exist.”