A Spectacular Propaganda Achievement? Manufacturing a Moral Panic Around an Essential Medicine

“The country that was once predicted to be the first to vaccinate its entire population had the highest per-capita caseload of anywhere.” That country is Israel. See Bloomberg’s scary headline: “Israel’s Covid Surge Shows the World What’s Coming Next.” The situation points to something that we ignore at our peril, that any government would mandate a vaccine that doesn’t work should signal stupidity. But governments aren’t that stupid. It’s an agenda. By allowing the hosts of mutants to interact with others, a leaky vaccine that lessens symptoms short-circuits natural selection and prolongs the pandemic. (See my Are We Forgetting Darwin?)

From a humanitarian standpoint, the mass vaccine program is a disaster. In the United States, the delta mutation may be cresting. If so, this indicates that herd immunity is growing again through infection with this variant. But the vaccine can’t stop the mutants. Infection produces twenty times the antibodies produced by vaccination and antibodies produced by actual exposure to the virus have a better memory. At some point, the 99.9+% of those who will suffer at most a flu-like illness from the virus are going to have get one or more of these mutants. It’s the same process populations had to go through with adenoviruses and rhinoviruses. And humans still need lots of exposure to these cold viruses to develop the immunity that will protect them in their latter years. We should not be where we are. We are not here because of the unvaccinated. Scientists needs to bury their hubris and let evolution do its work.

CNN carried the headline: “‘Completely incorrect’: Dr. Fauci pushes back on DeSantis’ vaccine claim.” But Governor Ron DeSantis is right. If you are in a high risk category and you believe the vaccine can help prevent serious illness, then consider taking it. But the risks from the vaccine may outweigh the risks of the virus to a healthy person. Also, as trends in cases suggest, mass vaccination is prolonging the pandemic (see A Pandemic of the Vaccinated). The effort to portray the unvaccinated as the problem is one of the more despicable mass propaganda campaigns of the last several decades. Authorities have moved from humans-as-disease-vectors to a specific group of humans are-the-disease. The idea that it’s only the unvaccinated who can contract and spread the viruses is a big lie. We know that the vaccinated carry and transmit the virus to others. This fact makes the propaganda all the more obvious. Yet people keep falling for it. Scientific literacy is not in good shape.

People are also falling for the big lie about ivermectin. The Ohio judge who ordered a hospital to administer ivermectin to a COVID-19 patient has changed his mind. (Somebody got to him.) “Judges aren’t doctors,” the judge said in overturning his own ruling They don’t have to be. It’s not like doctors know everything anyway. Through medical error, over-treatment and under-treatment, doctors and medical staff kill people everyday, hundreds of thousands every year. No industry is responsible for more death and injury than the medical-industrial complex. Do they save lives? Sure. But they also kill. Besides, wasn’t it judges who said people could be compelled to be inoculated with the small pox vaccine, a ruling that other judges ran with, including judges today that are allowing mandates for mRNA gene therapy? (See The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes.) Judges can’t compel doctors to stop denying patients access to a drug the efficacy and safety for which is backed up by dozens of studies?

Have you heard about the Rolling Stone magazine story about Oklahoma hospitals being so swamped by ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims were turned away? Turns out that it wasn’t true (see National Review’s “Like a Rolling Stone for details). Rolling Stone did not issue a correction or retraction, however, but an “update.” Clever. (It this really why Matt Taibbi left the magazine?) The ivermectin panic is a straightforward case of propaganda and confirmation bias. It started as a local story with one source. Because the corporate news media wants stories that show ivermectin in a bad light (the scientific research indicates that it is effective in preventing and treating COVID-19 and that is bad for the pharmaceutical companies that advertise with corporate media—for details see my See Profits Before People: Civilians Denied Cheap and Effective Therapeutics—and because elites want to make people in the heartland look like ignoramuses who foul everything up, they picked up the disinformation and ran with it without bothering to confirm the facts. The usual suspects like Rachael Maddow and Joy Reid took the bait big time. Only one of the hospitals this doctor worked for (he has privileges at more than one) reported cases of ivermectin problems and—I will use quotes here because this is the spokesperson’s characterization of the supposed tsunami of ivermectin overdoses—these amounted to a “handful” of cases. There is zero evidence that this had anything to do with bed shortages in Oklahoma hospitals. 

This story is an example of corporate propaganda that began with the planting of disinformation that could not in the end withstand factchecking. But that doesn’t mean it won’t prove successful in the end. Many people heard it, believed it, and won’t bother to find out whether it is true. It fits the narrative and that is too often all that matters. These are the sort of people who dishonestly characterize ivermectin as “horse dewormer” or ignorantly believe that’s what it is. It’s not. Ivermectin is listed on the WHO’s 2019 Model List of Essential Medicines under the category anti-infective medication. Then there are those outlets (CNN is exemplary) that, in supposedly clarifying the story, turn it into an attack on those who debunked the story.

Such stories are hard to get rid of once they have been planted. Remember needles and razorblades in apples? Or Richard Gere and gerbiling (there’s no evidence gerbiling is even a sexual practice—although one can imagine some cosmopolitan type doing it because he thinks it is thanks to an urban legend)? I have no doubt that there were parents back then rationalizing the fact that, while there was no evidence that Halloween apples contained needles or razorblades, it was best to throw out the candy. When people are frightened, they imagine incredible things. Stories of poison-laced Halloween candy were more frequent, for example, in the context of the Tylenol scare. Richard Gere’s gerbiling was a product of jealousy over the tendency of wives and girlfriends to dwell on his good looks.

The manufacture and exploitation of fear is an important driver of mass hysteria used by elites to manipulate the emotions of the gullible and control them. (A sampling of my essays on panic: The Enduring Panic Over SARS-CoV-2; Panic and Paranoia Deaden Humanity and Sabotage Its Future; Viruses, Agendas, and Moral Panics.) The COVID-19 pandemic is a clinic in moral panic. Tens of billions of dollars have been made on it. Of course, not from ivermectin, which is why there is so much disinformation concerning it. There’s no money in ivermectin. Or hydroxychloroquine.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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