Getting anti-vaxx info from Russian propagandists? + Anti-vaxx rally during outbreaks

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Are You Getting Anti-Vaccine Information From Russian Propagandists?
https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/13/get...agandists/

EXCERPT: . . . Anyone who is active on social media is aware that there is a great deal of passionate but ill-founded opposition to vaccination in general, including to the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Such criticism of and resistance to MMR and other vaccines persists, and may even be increasing, in spite of overwhelming evidence of their safety and efficacy. How could that be? Physicians and the public health establishment are virtually unanimous in aggressively promoting vaccination.

Well, the source of much of the misinformation about vaccines comes from an unobvious source: Russia’s propaganda apparatus, which is causing palpable harm to Americans and citizens of other Western countries. Some background is necessary. A U.S. Senate-commissioned analysis by a cybersecurity firm released on Dec. 17 found that Russia’s infamous troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, is conducting “modern information warfare.” Renee DiResta, the research director of the firm, described the IRA’s battle plan as a “cross-platform attack that made use of numerous features on each social network and that spanned the entire social ecosystem.”

Russia’s health-related disinformation and propaganda campaigns are nothing new. In the 1980s the Soviet Union concocted an elaborate disinformation scheme to blame the appearance of the HIV virus and AIDS on U.S. military research. They first planted the story in a sympathetic Indian newspaper and then followed it up with other fake stories that cited the initial report. Today, TV “news channel” RT (formerly Russia Today), which has its roots in Pravda, the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda arm, is an important mouthpiece for Russia President Vladimir Putin’s agenda.

[...in addition to anti-vaxx...] Russian outlets accounted for more than half of all the GMO-related articles among ... seven sites (RT, 34 percent; Sputnik, 19 percent). “RT and Sputnik overwhelmingly portrayed genetic modification in a negative light,” the researchers wrote. “Among U.S. news organizations, the left-leaning Huffington Post produced the most ‘anti’ articles, followed by CNN. Fox News produced the most neutral or mixed coverage of GMOs.”

The researchers also found that RT published “nearly all articles in which the term GMO appeared as ‘click bait.’” The actions of the Russians and their U.S.-based “useful idiots” injure and kill Americans, promote discord, sow mistrust of U.S.-dominant industries, and damage our productivity. Americans need to be aware that evil regimes seek to destroy their trust in U.S. officials, research, and industry, as well as damage their children’s health. These people do not have your children’s best interests at heart, and their information shouldn’t be trusted. (MORE - details)



Andrew Wakefield, others hold anti-vaccine rally amid raging measles outbreaks
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/...outbreaks/

INTRO: Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, and other prominent anti-vaccine advocates unleashed fear and toxic misinformation last night at a well-attended symposium in New York’s Rockland County. The area is currently grappling with one of the largest and longest-standing measles outbreaks in the country, mainly in its tight-knit, ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The Monday, May 13 event was reportedly promoted by targeted robocalls and billed as being a “highly informative night of science and discussion addressing your concerns, fears, and doubts.” But according to reporters who attended the event, the speakers made numerous unsubstantiated and egregiously false claims—as usual. In one instance, Brooklyn Orthodox Rabbi William [sometimes Hillel] Handler reportedly made the unsubstantiated claim that getting measles, mumps, and chickenpox reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke by 60 percent. He did not provide a citation.

Handler is known for making shocking statements about safe, life-saving immunizations. He told Vox last year that “parents who ‘placate the gods of vaccination’ are engaging in ‘child sacrifice.’” Last night, he reportedly suggested that public health campaigns and emergency orders aimed at halting the current outbreaks were actually rooted in religious discrimination. “We’re being demonized,” he reportedly said to the mostly Orthodox crowd. He also claimed that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a German and a “very, very sneaky fellow.”

Andrew Wakefield appeared at the event via video conference, spreading his usual fear and nonsense. Wakefield, a disgraced former gastroenterologist, is sometimes described as the father of the current anti-vaccine movement. (MORE)

RELATED: Rabbi At Anti-Vaccination Symposium Blames 'Illegals' For Spreading Disease
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