On Monday, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch pushed a fabricated story that a missing CDC doctor had said the flu shot was directly linked to flu-related deaths this year. While discussing the disappearance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee Dr. Timothy Cunningham on her radio program, Loesch claimed that Cunningham had blamed “this year's flu shot” for “the deadly outbreak.” Loesch added that Cunningham had said “that if his name was attached to the widely circulated quotes, he'd lose his job or even suffer a worse fate.”
Loesch’s claim came from a debunked story on YourNewsWire, a fake news website that has been behind numerous viral stories. YourNewsWire has also been accused by experts of being a Russian proxy. The story Loesch parrotted was part of the website’s series of posts falsely linking the flu shot to flu deaths.
From the February 26 edition of The Dana Show:
DANA LOESCH (HOST): This is a weird story and I've seen this -- this comes from [The Associated Press] and I've seen it a number of other places. This is like a Netflix original. So a CDC doctor who claimed the flu shot caused the outbreak is missing and feared dead. This is crazy. So, check this out. And this is also from 11Alive local news in Atlanta. Dr. Timothy J. Cunningham -- a team [lead] with CDC's Division of Population Health has been missing for over a week and his family are trying to figure out what in the world's going on. Ryan Kruger from the Channel 11 there spoke to his family and they posted signs around the neighborhood. They said they just want to find him and bring him back home. He’s a scientist, he has a very methodical mindset. He was last seen by colleagues Monday at the CDC office in Chamblee, GA. They said he was feeling sick so he left early and was going to finish from home and then they hadn't seen or heard of him later.
And he had shared his opinion that this year's flu shot was behind the deadly outbreak while warning that if his name was attached to the widely circulated quotes, he'd lose his job or even suffer a worse fate. This is crazy. He was an expert on contagious epidemics. He was deployed by CDC to work on Ebola and Zika crises in previous years. So I don't know. I mean, I'm not a conspiracy theorist at all, but that is so sketchy, isn't it? That does sound like a Netflix show. It sounds totally like a -- it's not -- it's just that -- it's just awful.