Many conspiracy theories have their darlings. At 90 Dr. Cyril Wecht remains the darling of the Kennedy Assassination theorists. The late physicist Stanton Friedman was the darling of UFO believers. Though thankfully they remain in the minority of their respective trades, it is not unusual for prominent and well-educated people to sell out their professions for the comforts, money, advantages and fame that can be had from joining the conspiracy claque.
In the league table of professional horribles supporting conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic we find Dr. Joseph Mercola, the darling of the anti-vaxxer movement. Mercola is someone who might properly be called ‘Dr. Zero,’ in that, just like a ‘patient zero’ is sometimes an original superspreader of a dangerous pathogen, Mercola is a dangerous disseminator of misinformation about the pandemic. If, as with the hunt for Iraqi bad guys, there existed a deck of cards identifying the worst spreader of bad information about the pandemic, Mercola would definitely be the ace of spades. Mercola is the ultimate superspreader.
Dr. Mercola resents being so-identified, and he is full of all kinds of bravado when saying so. That bravado evaporates when he’s confronted by a responsible journalist with a microphone, like Randi Kaye of CNN, just to name one. After being dodged by Mercola for hundreds of miles across Florida, Kaye was finally able to catch Dr. Zero parking his bicycle at the beach. As soon as she confronted him with a microphone, telling him she wanted to give him a chance to justify his claims about coronavirus, Mercola got back on his bicycle and took off.
Says Imran Ahmed, CEO for Countering Digital Hate, “It is very likely that most people in America, if not the vast majority of people in America, have seen misinformation that has originated with this superspreader of lies and misinformation.” That is why Ahmed’s organization puts Dr. Mercola at the top of its list of the “Disinformation Dozen,” 12 people responsible for spreading 65% of anti-vaxxer lies about COVID-19 on Facebook and Twitter. “In a pandemic, misinformation has a cost that’s paid in lives,” Mr. Ahmed said.
If you’ve ever wondered where the lie that there have been over 400,000 adverse events and 6,000 deaths from COVID-19 vaccinations, wonder no more. Mercola invented that “statistic” from whole cloth. The truth of the matter is, according to the CDC, of the 345,000,000 doses administered, there have been an infinitesimal percentage of adverse events linked to the vaccine, and no deaths have been directly linked to it. Compare that CDC statistic with the known fact from independently reporting hospitals all over the world that 99.5% of all persons hospitalized and on ventilators because of COVID are the unvaccinated.
Mercola knows he’s lying, that’s why he avoids interviews with the likes of CNN’s Randi Kaye. Mercola insists that masks won’t work and vaccines are dangerous. But the economic motivation for his assertions is that vitamin D and vitamin C do work, two products Mercola sells online for fancy, inflated prices. Sometimes all you need do is follow the money.
Mercola also says that vaccines alter your genetic coding, “turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.” Scientists and medical doctors at the CDC state unequivocally that vaccines do not interact with your DNA.
Like Donald Trump, Mercola also has wacko remedies. Mercola claims that aerosolized hydrogen peroxide can be used as an at-home remedy to treat coronavirus. There is no study known to exist that supports such a claim.
As of this writing Mercola has 4.3 million followers on social media. Mercola wants to be the trusted source for medical advice so he can recommend his “cures,” including his inflated vitamins. Before he was forced to remove the claim by the FDA, Mercola even touted those products in an article with the headline, “Vitamin C and D Finally Adopted as Coronavirus Treatment.” Naturally Mercola neglected to say by whom this “treatment” was “adopted.”
Like Donald Trump, Dr. Mercola has a sinister reason why he wants vaccinations to do more harm than good or fail altogether. Trump believes a failure will reflect badly on Joe Biden and will be both politically advantageous to him and give him revenge on Biden, and Trump doesn’t care how many American have to die. Dr. Zero just wants to make money, so he’s hoping vaccines are as bad as he says they are, even though there isn’t a shred of evidence to support his claims. That, brothers and sisters, is how evil takes advantage of stupidity. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.