Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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Robert Kennedy, Jr. celebrating Ralph Lauren's 40th Anniversary in the Conservancy Garden, Central Park, New York, September 8, 2007.
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Anti-vaccination
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Pricks against pricks

Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. (1954–) is the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy. He is a lawyer and staunch environmentalist. Many of his court cases involved claims of product safety violations and pollution by corporations.

He has co-hosted liberal talk radio show Ring of Fire, syndicated by Westwood One.

Anti-vaccination stance[edit]

Since 2005, he has succumbed to vaccine hysteria and makes the sad mistake of peddling false hope regarding the vaccine/autism conspiracy theory, a stance which earned him the chair of Donald Trump's "vaccination safety" committee.[1] This is the point where his family members distanced themselves from him.[2] In addition, Kennedy endorsed the conspiracy theory that the Republicans rigged the 2004 election.[3] By 2020, Kennedy Jr.'s embrace of conspiracy theories extended into believing the COVID-19 hysteric story that Bill Gates was going to put microchips in vaccines.[4] Kennedy is also against water fluoridation.[5] He is one of the "Disinformation Dozen", which are the twelve people behind 65% of all vaccine misinformation shared on social media.[6]

Kennedy's anti-vaccination group Children’s Health Defense (in alliance with a group called the World Mercury Project) was one of the top two groups that spread misinformation about vaccines on Facebook via anti-vaccination advertisements in 2019.[7] Facebook (sort of) finally started to crack down on groups that spread bullshit like this in 2020. CHD responded by suing Facebook for "censorship".[8] (Despite his prior experience as a lawyer, Kennedy somehow failed to recognize what long-established case law currently says. Generally speaking, what's protected by the First Amendment in this case is Facebook's right to utilize editorial judgment to prevent the publication of bullshit on their platform.Wikipedia)

One of Kennedy's favorite rhetorical devices is to evoke Godwin's Law by comparing vaccines and other COVID-19 public health safety measures to Nazis and the Holocaust. On 25 January 2022, for instance, Kennedy was widely denounced for comparing vaccine mandate opponents to Jews who hid from Nazis during the Holocaust, even implying that for some reason Anne FrankWikipedia actually had it better than the so-called "fascism" NIAID head Anthony FauciWikipedia was orchestrating. This was hardly the first time that Kennedy had used Nazi analogies in his remarks on the subject.[9][10]

On September 29, 2021, Kennedy (along with fellow anti-vaccination advocate Joseph Mercola) was booted off YouTube for being a prominent spreader of anti-vaccination bullshit.[11]

COVID conspiracies[edit]

Unsurprisingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kennedy Jr. started regurgitating many of the other conspiracy theories that sprung up during that time period, such as conspiracy theories surrounding Bill Gates[12] and 5G.[13]

In mid-November 2021, he wrote a book of conspiratorial bullshit linking Gates, Anthony FauciWikipedia, and Big Pharma to some kind of "Global War On Democracy and Public Health",[14] which earned Kennedy high endorsements from the conspiracy theorists and/or alternative medicine folks that you'd expect (e.g. Tucker Carlson, Mike Adams, Robert W. MaloneWikipedia, Joseph Mercola, etc.).

Later, in an interview done by SPINWikipedia in January 2022, Kennedy promoted the sort of conspiracy bullshit that fueled this book:[15]

  • Kennedy made an unsupported conspiratorial claim that an early drug to treat HIV, AZTWikipedia (which he falsely claimed to be a chemotherapyWikipedia drug), ended up causing "dramatically shortened" lives (also a false claim).[16] Naturally, since Fauci was involved in HIV drug research at the time, Kennedy uses these falsehoods to attack him as an agent of Big Pharma who conspired to promote expensive drugs at the expense of cheap generics in order to pad Big Pharma profits. To further this argument, he bizarrely stated that a medicine called pentamidineWikipedia was very effective against HIV. (Pentamidine does not treat HIV directly; it was approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat pneumocystis carinii pneumonia,Wikipedia a condition largely seen (but not exclusively) in AIDS patients, and at present is far from the only drug available to treat this condition.[17][18])
  • Kennedy promoted hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, similarly believing that these drugs were being oppressed solely due to Big Pharma not wanting to promote out-of-patent medications. Contrary to the medical literature of the time, he also believed that these medications worked. To prove this, he cited high usage of these drugs in Africa and Asia, and low death rates per capita in many nations in these continents. (This, of course, completely ignores that perhaps other factors contributed to these low mortality rates, such as massive under-reporting in Africa,[19] and greater acceptance of public health measures like face masks in many Asian countries.[20] This also ignores the high mortality rate in other countries that also use hydroxychloroquine to treat malariaWikipedia and ivermectin to treat river blindnessWikipedia, such as many Latin American countries.[21][22])
  • He repeated an unproven theory,[23] often iterated and grossly exaggerated by Rand Paul and Tucker Carlson, that "gain of function" research in Wuhan may have been a factor in starting the pandemic.
  • He insisted that the COVID-19 virus was man-made, citing a theory that linked the COVID-19 virus to the Mòjiāng virus,Wikipedia a theory which has been discredited in a January 2022 Environmental ResearchWikipedia journal study. [24]
  • He bizarrely compared Australia COVID-19 quarantine hotels, used to isolate unvaccinated travelers returning to the country for 14 days to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk,[25] to "concentration camps".
  • He claimed, without any foundation, that COVID-19 public health measures were a "coup d'état against democracy"
  • To top things off, he endorsed the Epoch Times as the best source for "real news".

When confronted by the interviewer with the fact that new COVID-19 cases at the time were overwhelmingly the un-vaccinated, he handwaved away this argument by claiming that this was the result of "crazy statistical gimmicks", citing a bit of his "statistical dancing" of his own imagination to "prove" this.[15]

Fauci responded by calling Kennedy a "very disturbed individual" who was "just full of inaccuracies and distortions".[26]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Trump appears to abandon vaccine sceptic group denounced by scientists: Robert F Kennedy Jr claimed to be leading a review of links to autism – a widely debunked claim – but now says he hasn’t heard from the White House in months by David Smith (21 Feb 2018 07.15 EST) The Guardian.
  2. Stevenson, C. (May 8, 2019). Robert F Kennedy Jr's family slam his anti-vaccine views in wake of measles outbreak: 'He is spreading dangerous misinformation'. The Independent. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  3. Kennedy Jr., Robert F. "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?." Rolling Stone, no. 1002, 15 June 2006, pp. 46-114.
  4. "Debunked Bill Gates Conspiracy Gets A Boost From RFK Jr., Marla Maples" by Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 2020 August 15
  5. "The Children's Health Defense Team: Fluoridation Must End", press release, Fluoride Action Network, archived on Biospace.com, 2019 Jan 10
  6. Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows, Shannon Bond, NPR, 14 May 2021
  7. "Majority of anti-vaccine ads on Facebook were funded by two groups" by Lena H. Sun, Washington Post, 2019 November 15
  8. "Anti-vaccine group sues Facebook, claims fact-checking is “censorship”" by Kate Cox, Ars Technica, 2020 August 18
  9. "RFK Jr. remarks on Anne Frank, vaccines draw condemnation" by Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press, 2022 January 25
  10. "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Apologizes for Referencing Anne Frank in Wild Anti-Vax Speech" by Ken Meyer, Mediaite, 2022 January 25
  11. "YouTube bans all anti-vaccine misinformation" by Davey Alba, New York Times, September 29 2021
  12. "Debunked Bill Gates Conspiracy Gets A Boost From RFK Jr., Marla Maples" by Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 2020 August 15
  13. "How Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Became the Anti-vaxxer Icon of America’s Nightmares"
  14. "The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (Children’s Health Defense)", Amazon listing, archived on 2022 January 3
  15. 15.0 15.1 "The Outsider" by Bob Guccione Jr, Spin, 2022 January 17
  16. "Claims that people were being killed by zidovudine (AZT) instead of AIDS are unsubstantiated", Health Feedback, 2021 September 6
  17. Sarti GM. Aerosolized pentamidine in HIV. Promising new treatment for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Postgrad Med. 1989 Aug;86(2):54-6, 59-60, 63, passim. doi: 10.1080/00325481.1989.11704352. PMID: 2666972.
  18. [https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/guide/aids-hiv-opportunistic-infections-pneumocystis-pcp-pneumonia "Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP)", WebMD.Com, reviewed on 2021 December 4
  19. "Why you’re not hearing about Covid-19 outbreaks in Africa" by Annalisa Merelli, QZ, 2021 October 26
  20. "Is the Secret to Japan’s Virus Success Right in Front of Its Face?" by Motoko Rich, New York Times, 2020 June 6
  21. COVID-19 pandemic death rates by countryWikipedia
  22. Molento MB. Ivermectin against COVID-19: The unprecedented consequences in Latin America.One Health. 2021;13:100250. doi:10.1016/j.onehlt.2021.100250
  23. "Did Fauci Fund ‘Gain of Function’ Research, Thereby Causing COVID-19 Pandemic?" by Madison Dapcevich, Snopes, 2021 May 20
  24. Frutos R, Javelle E, Barberot C, Gavotte L, Tissot-Dupont H, Devaux CA. Origin of COVID-19: Dismissing the Mojiang mine theory and the laboratory accident narrative. Environ Res. 2022;204(Pt B):112141. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2021.112141
  25. "Quarantine in government-nominated accommodation", Queensland Australia government website
  26. "Fauci Rips ‘Very Disturbed’ RFK Jr.’s Attacks on His Career: ‘It’s a Shame’ Because He’s a Kennedy" by Jolie Lash, The Wrap, 2021 December 22