Fox News hosts are now championing the cause of Dr. Robert Malone, who was permanently suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation on COVID-19, and who has alleged a conspiracy in which society’s leaders have “hypnotized” the public into taking the vaccines.
Malone has often claimed to have “literally invented mRNA technology when I was 28.” The Atlantic has documented that his claims have been heavily exaggerated from a kernel of truth: Malone really did coauthor a pair of important research papers in 1989 and 1990 on the delivery of RNA into mouse cells — even saying that such techniques “may provide alternative approaches to vaccine development.” But the crucial work of expanding that research and developing it into modern vaccines has gone on under many other hands in the decades since.
And in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malone has appeared on a variety of right-wing media outlets, helping to spread a scare campaign against the vaccines. In one instance on Fox host Sean Hannity’s radio show, Malone claimed that “the truth is, it's the unvaccinated that are at risk from the vaccinated. Does that make sense?” He has also appeared with other far-right hosts such as Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, and Joe Rogan.
The Atlantic’s Tom Bartlett also noted that Malone “does routinely slip into speculation that turns out to be misleading or, as in the segment on Bannon’s show, plainly false,” such as claiming that the Israeli government had entered into an agreement to not disclose harmful effects from the Pfizer vaccine for 10 years. (In fact, Bartlett points out, “the country’s health ministry has already warned of a link between the Pfizer shot and rare cases of myocarditis.”)
On the December 30 year-end edition of The Ingraham Angle, guest host Lisa Boothe announced Malone’s suspension from Twitter, cueing up a clip of one of his previous appearances on the show by telling viewers that “while you can't see his tweets anymore, you can still see the interview that he did with Laura [Ingraham] right here, right now. Watch this.”
And earlier on Thursday, Fox Business anchor David Asman bemoaned that “the Biden administration’s friends at Twitter have just censored” Malone, falsely claiming that the doctor was “actually instrumental in inventing the mRNA vaccine against COVID.”
As the network returned from the holidays with more new content, Fox & Friends co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy declared Monday morning that she was “not going to take medical advice from people who haven’t treated anyone with COVID-19,” referring to both presidential adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Just to be clear on this point, before Walensky’s appointment to the Biden administration in 2021, she had a prominent position at Massachusetts General Hospital heading up its Division of Infectious Diseases — that is, on the front lines of the medical response to the pandemic.)
Campos-Duffy is also clearly not listening to the many front-line doctors who have spoken out for months on the fact that unvaccinated people have been the patients crowding up hospital beds, compared to the protection that the vaccines have conferred against either infection or severe illnesses in the cases of breakthrough infections.
Instead, Campos-Duffy said, she would listen to other front-line doctors, many of whom have “have been doctors on Fox.” This included people like Malone as well as Dr. Pierre Kory, who during his Fox appearances has promoted the debunked use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (Campos-Duffy also accidentally reversed his first and last names); Dr. Harvey Risch, who has promoted both ivermectin and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine; and Dr. Peter McCullough, who has claimed that the vaccine is deadlier than COVID-19 itself.
And on Fox host Will Cain’s podcast on Monday, he promoted both Malone and McCullough’s recent appearances with Joe Rogan, as well as Malone’s commentaries about “mass formation psychosis” and what Cain characterized as the “death shivers” of an authoritarian regime that he also described as a Kool-Aid drinking cult.
“Trust the quote-unquote ‘experts,’ question no more. You don’t want to be banished by Twitter like Dr. Robert Malone. You don't want to be called an anti-vaxxer like Dr. Robert McCullough, for asking questions,” Cain said, mixing up Peter McCullough’s first name. “Firehose the propaganda, and repeat after me — if the CDC says they're effective, they're effective. If the Ministry of Truth, if the government of clearthink, if Big Brother says it’s effective, then it is effective. These are the death shivers, I think — I think, I hope this is the end.”