Maintenance Phase - RFK Jr. and The Rise of the Anti-Vaxx Movement

Episode Date: July 18, 2023

A political candidate has some questions and we have some extremely obvious answers.Support us:Hear bonus episodes on PatreonDonate on PayPalGet Maintenance Phase T-shirts, stickers and moreBuy Aubrey...'s bookListen to Mike's other podcastLinks!Eric Garcia’s “We’re Not Broken”Mike and Sarah’s episode on autism and the anti-vaxx movementSeth Mnookin’s “The Panic Virus”Jonathan M. Berman’s “Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement” Brian Deer’s “The Doctor Who Fooled the World”Paul Offit’s “Autism's False Prophets”Steve Silberman’s “Neurotribes”Peter Hotez’s “The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science”Behind The Bastards episode on smallpox anti-vaxxers RFK Jr.’s Inside JobThe Conspiracy CandidateDavid Pitts's "Jack and Lem”RFK Jr.’s autobiographyImmunizations and Autism: A Review of the LiteratureWakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulentCorrecting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vaccine ‘facts’Thanks to Doctor Dreamchip for our lovely theme song!Support the show

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 My throat is so sore, I'll pray. I've been talking for three hours. You've been talking a lot. I've been I got I got very animated I got very animated. I like your weird ASMR voice. You're a little Kathleen Turner voice. Eatin some pickles. I got very animated Hi everybody and welcome to Maintenance Phase, the podcast that's finally waiting into NEPO Baby Discourse. Oh, with the ultimate NEPO Baby. A solid two years after it's relevant. Which is actually pretty short for us. Uh, I'm Aubrey Gordon. I'm Michael Hobbs.
Starting point is 00:00:44 If you would like to support the show, you can do that at slash maintenance phase. You can get t-shirts, totes, mugs, all kinds of things at T public, and you can subscribe through Apple podcasts and get the same audio as our Patreon feed. You can totes do that. No, okay.
Starting point is 00:01:03 How did take me three years to come up with that? That's absurd. Today, we are talking about a conspiracy theorist about whom I actually know very little. Oh, okay, I was gonna ask you about this. I sort of have a broad sense of RFK Jr. I know that his late beloved father was Bobby Kennedy. Yes.
Starting point is 00:01:24 That his uncle was JFK, the president. Mm-hmm. All I sort of generally know is like, anti-vaxx question mark? Yeah, it's more like anti-vaxx interior bang, with like very emphatically anti-vaxx. Okay. So, I mean, this is kind of why I wanted to do this.
Starting point is 00:01:43 So like, like you, I didn't really know anything about this guy and he's essentially found a loophole. He has over the years been kicked off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, everywhere because of his anti-vaxx bullshit. So he really can't get an audience, but then there's this thing where if you run for president, everyone has to like pay attention to you.
Starting point is 00:02:03 He's Conor Roy. Yeah,or Roy looking for the con heads. Only less likable. And yes, I was not expecting to do an episode on this man, but then due to my personality, I listened to the entire Joe Rogan episode with him, which was fucking three hours long. Because he's an anti-vaxxer, it also struck me that we haven't really covered anti-vaxxers. And it felt like, okay, let's do it. I don't find this guy all that interesting,
Starting point is 00:02:34 but he's an entry point into how do the anti-vaxx movement get to the place where we now have a sion of this political dynasty and presidential candidate just openly expressing anti-vaxx nonsense. where we now have a sion of this political dynasty and presidential candidate just openly expressing anti-vaxx nonsense. Really given the listeners the hard sell, not very interesting.
Starting point is 00:02:53 Yeah, I know, just I'm gonna tell you over and over again, this man is boring. You're in for whatever the opposite of a treat is. So we will be going into more of his biography and sort of how he intersects with this, the rise of the anti-vax movement in the 1990s. I want to start though by just establishing the fact that this dude is Kuku Bananas. So he thinks that the CIA was involved in the assassination of his uncle. He thinks that the wrong person was convicted of killing his father. He says that mass shootings are caused by like everybody being on antidepressants. So he says, prior to the introduction of Prozac,
Starting point is 00:03:39 we had almost none of these events. What? We also have a lot more mass shootings since since the introduction of Blu-ray DVDs and the Toyota Prius. And we have a lot more mass shooting since many things happened. Presumably, we also have health records for mass shooters and some awareness of not 100%
Starting point is 00:04:00 of them were on Prozac at the time. What? In fact, one of the main problems is that they weren't medicated for many people. Yeah, correct. It just doesn't make any sense. He also, he's obviously a lab leak guy. Well, lab leak stuff is absolutely your cake.
Starting point is 00:04:15 That's finally. I finally get to talk about the lab leak. What's funny about the lab leak discourse is that I feel like most people do not know what they're actually proposing because nobody gives a shit about the actual facts of the case. So in RFK Jr's book, he says, Anthony Fauci partnered with Sepenticon to approve taxpayer funded gain of function experiments to breed pandemic super bugs in poorly regulated labs in Wuhan, China, and elsewhere under conditions that almost certainly guaranteed the escape of weaponized microbes,
Starting point is 00:04:47 like SARS-CoV-2. What the fuck are you talking about? And it's my favorite shit, because he's not just saying that China designed a super bug in a lab, which is like the far right conspiracy version of it, he's saying the US funded China to create a super weapon. This is just someone who like got high and watched the Oppenheimer trailer.
Starting point is 00:05:11 And we're like, I know what's really going on. He's also, I mean, I don't even need to tell you this at this point, but he's an Iver Mechden guy. Of course. He's a co-worker. He's a co-worker. He's a fucking vitamin D truther, which we will get into in great detail. This is my favorite. Wait, I don't know what that means
Starting point is 00:05:29 to be a vitamin D truther. Oh, Aubrey, you're gonna learn. You're gonna learn so much. Okay, okay, okay. I'm not Googling. I'm not Googling. It's gonna be fine. I'm not Googling.
Starting point is 00:05:38 He also thinks that chemicals in the water are the reason for like transgender people. Oh my God, is this? I don't want them putting it in the water and there reason for like transgender people? Oh my God, is this? I don't want them putting it in the water and turning the frogs gay. Are we getting into Alex Jones territory? It's literally the same study. Wow.
Starting point is 00:05:52 There, like, is a study about frogs, like growing ovaries or something. It's not clear that it's chemical. Like, obviously they've taken this and like really ran with it far beyond the facts. Yeah. He also wrote a book, which for the love of fucking God, I read because it's very short and is mostly footnotes, but like, can I give you a note?
Starting point is 00:06:14 Called? Do you know what his book is called? No. As soon as I saw it, I was like, I have to read this for the show. It's called The Real Anthony Fauci. Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. Oh, wow.
Starting point is 00:06:30 It's like, good fucking everything in there, man. Based on that title, I'm guessing he's also a like, Soros Truth or Guy. He weirdly doesn't, because I actually control F for Soros in the first place, you can find it. So I was like, here it comes, he's a Soros Guy. Somehow, for some reason, that's where he draws the line.
Starting point is 00:06:47 The book has blurbs from, listen to this cursed fucking list of public figures. Tucker Carlson, Tony Robbins, the self-help guy, Alan Dershowitz, Joseph Mercola, future subject of a maintenance phase episode. Yeah, absolutely no question. Rob Schneider, who the median is now like a super duper far right guy. And obviously, all of her stone and Naomi will.
Starting point is 00:07:12 Just like absolute cucumber. People who just like have no credibility whatsoever in like whatever field they're in. Like Rob Schneider is not a well respected actor. Sure he is. He's making copies! Come on! Now we're back to our cover zone 90s references.
Starting point is 00:07:30 30-year-old references. 30-year-old SNL sketches. We need like a lyrics genius page for this fucking podcast. All the Zoomers be like, what the fuck is that of reference to? Start that wiki! Yeah.
Starting point is 00:07:43 Okay, we need to, we badly need to do an episode on this, but he also is an HIV truther. Are you aware of this? Oh no, Michael. Here's what I know. I know that there are people who think that HIV is a sham. Yes.
Starting point is 00:07:59 And I also know that there are people who think that HIV can be cured by a macrobiotic diet. Yeah. And I could see either one of those coming into play here. This basically was taken up by the president of South Africa for many years, and he wouldn't import anti-retrovirals into the country, which like cost many. Tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of lives,
Starting point is 00:08:20 potentially, so it's like, it's a really, really consequential, horrible conspiracy theory. But the conspiracy theory is so fucking stupid, Aubrey, that it's like, it's a really, really consequential, horrible conspiracy theory. But the conspiracy theory is so fucking stupid, Aubrey, that it's like, it's almost hard to talk about. It's basically that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. What? It's like someone saying like, the sky is green.
Starting point is 00:08:35 Yeah, totally. You're just like, no, it's not. It also makes me uncomfortable because so many of the arguments around anti-fatness, around like wellness stuff, any conclusions So many of the arguments around anti-fatness, around wellness stuff, any conclusions that allow us to reinforce our existing biases, when we're asked to prove why those conclusions are true,
Starting point is 00:08:54 we often go, that's just how it is, right? Because it absolutely doesn't have to be that way. But in this case, I'm like, no, that's just how it fucking is, God, what? So, okay, we are gonna watch a clip with his wildest conspiracy theory. This is from the Joe Rogan podcast. The Joe Rogan podcast. The Joe Rogan podcast.
Starting point is 00:09:12 Wi-Fi radiation does all kinds of bad things, including causing cancer. Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi radiation causes cancer. Yeah, from your cell phone. I mean, their cell phone tuner, tumors. Cell phones. You know, I'm representing hundreds of people who have cell phone tuners
Starting point is 00:09:26 behind the ear. It's always on the ear that you favor with your cell phone. But cancer's not the worst thing. They also, you know, it opens up, I-Fi radiation opens up your blood brain barrier. And so all these toxic that are in your body can now go into your brain. How does Wi-Fi radiation open up your blood-brained barrier? Yeah, now you're going beyond my expertise. But what I'm going to use a number here, and you're going to think it's hyperbole, but it's not.
Starting point is 00:09:57 There are tens of thousands of studies at show our understanding of Wi-Fi radiation. You get Russians some more about Wifi radiation than even they developed this weapon and a lot of the really good science came out of Russia. And you know, the Russians won't let kids use cell phones and kindergarten or, you know, in grade school, a lot of the schools in Russia don't let cell phones in there because of the danger. You learn so much in that clip, Aubrey's dense with information, it's densely packed.
Starting point is 00:10:27 I learned that there are literally tens of thousands of studies on any one topic. You also learned that the Russians invented Wi-Fi radiation, famously. And they don't let kids use cell phones in the garden, which apparently I guess we're doing in classrooms in the US, what? That's why the kids are trans because of the frogs and the cell phones. Also CRT. My favorite little interaction is when he's like, did you know it opens up the blood brain barrier and Joe Rogan
Starting point is 00:10:56 famously skeptical journalist Joe Rogan is like, how does it open up the blood brain barrier? And he's like, that's beyond my expertise. So early on when you and I first sort of started talking and hanging out, you were talking about like the best follow-up question you can ask as an interviewer is just like, say more about that. Yeah, how so? Or like explain. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:11:19 And that is exactly what Joe Rogan did is just like, ask the next clarifying question that's sitting in front of him and just immediate stumper. Sorry, could you say a little bit more about that? And then he just immediately fucking punts. Yeah, blood brain barrier, normal. So then another thing that you might notice about this clip is that his voice sounds a little bit weird. So in his 40s, he developed a condition called spasmotic dysphonia. There is a very interesting and telling excerpt from a very good NBC news article about him, which I am going
Starting point is 00:11:57 to send to you. Quote, his voice is gravely and strained. It's gotten progressively worse since the 90s when Kennedy was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a rare neurological disorder that causes his larynx to tighten uncontrollably and his voice to halt and tremor. The cause of spasmodic dysphonia isn't known. Researchers think it might be genetic or a leftover disability from a respiratory infection or even stress.
Starting point is 00:12:26 Kennedy, though, suspects a flu vaccine may be to blame. Quote, I haven't been able to figure out any other cause he told a podcaster in 2021. In a follow-up email, Kennedy said he wasn't sure of the connection, calling it, quote, my own speculation. His press person sent links to fact sheets included in manufacturer packaging of more recent flu vaccines that list dysphonia among dozens of reported, quote unquote, adverse reactions. The adverse reactions in those packaging certs, which are legal, not medical documents, are based on
Starting point is 00:13:01 unverified observations and as they make clear, don't suggest the vaccine necessarily caused the reaction. Yeah, this is like lawyer don't get us sued paper. That gets put in. This is a pattern that we will see throughout this episode where it's like, he makes this wildly overblown claim. I got this from the flu vaccine. And then someone is like, sorry, can you support this at all? And he's like, yes, yes, of course.
Starting point is 00:13:28 And then he sends a bunch of fucking gibberish. Yeah. And then when you press him more, he's like, oh, well, I never really said it was vaccine. I'm just speculating. Michael, I just looked in the sidebar next to this clip that we just watched. My algorithm fully thinks I'm Jenny McCarthy,
Starting point is 00:13:41 like quote unquote, doing my own research. No, the one that really got me, I was like, woof, is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Club Random with Bill Mar. Yeah, I know I watched that one too. Oh God, buddy. Why is this happening to me? Although, I also learned researching this episode that Spotify allows you to play podcasts at up to 3.5x speed, which is BLESS, BLESS, Spotify.
Starting point is 00:14:09 Fucking YouTube, 2x is not fast enough for me. My brain is so broken by watching these fucking clips. I'm like, speed it up, man. Get me to the gay frogs. Yeah, so this, like, stipulated. This dude is a full cucumber. Yeah, so thank you. That was the reason for all that.
Starting point is 00:14:25 Thank you for pulling me back in my notes. This is the whole reason for that little section. So there's a couple of factors in his life that led him to become the conspiracy theorist that he is today. The first are his personal circumstances, like just everything that happened to him growing up. So this is from a very good Rebecca Traster article
Starting point is 00:14:45 about him. Oh, I like Rebecca Traster. I know, right? She's good. She's good. She says, if he were your uncle, you would likely consider that he is fighting some serious psychological headwinds. His own uncle was assassinated when Bobby was nine. He was pulled from school at 14 and flown to the deathbed of his father, also assassinated. His cousin drove a plane into the sea on the way to Bobby's sister's wedding. One brother died in a skiing accident, another of a drug overdose. His wife died by suicide. All this in a family in which his grandfather's victim was, there will be no crying in this house. When his father was killed, his mother was pregnant with her 11th child. They had always had
Starting point is 00:15:23 a tumultuous relationship he talks in his autobiography about begging to be sent off to boarding school, just like to get out of the house because they were fighting so much. And after RFK senior is killed, it seems like his mom just kind of like gave up and like foisted him off onto the rest of the family, onto family friends.
Starting point is 00:15:45 It's this really interesting upbringing where he's kind of like raised by a village. He also talks in his autobiography about starting drugs very young. He is later diagnosed with ADHD, so he's kind of self-medicating. It starts with like weed and alcohol, and then it graduates to Coke and LSD and eventually heroin.
Starting point is 00:16:08 He is eventually arrested for possession in 1983 in South Dakota. He continues to attend AA meetings to this day. It's something he talks about like fairly movingly, honestly. Being in recovery is still like a really big part of his life. Addiction makes sense as a reasonable coping mechanism to deal with all of this. You are losing both of your parents in some fashion. Exactly. And so the other way that he comes to these conspiratorial views,
Starting point is 00:16:36 and I think this is actually very important, is it like he starts from like genuinely being correct. So in the 1980s, after he is arrested for heroin possession, he has to do 800 hours of community service. He is scooped up by this guy who works for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is like a legal clinic that basically sues governments
Starting point is 00:16:58 for polluting the environment. He starts working at this organization and eventually rises up through the ranks. He is one of the people generally credited with cleaning up the Hudson River. This becomes a big deal in his life. He's a big nature enthusiast. He starts doing falconry.
Starting point is 00:17:13 When he's a little kid, he's such a rich people, huh? But whatever, it's a nature thing. He loves being outside, fishing, hunting, all this kind of stuff. For sure. Falconry, dressage. Hunting poor people for sport.
Starting point is 00:17:24 Ah. He's really on the side of stuff. Sure. Falkenry, dressage, hunting poor people for sport. Uh, like he's really on the side of justice. He's like, he's like a big like climate change guy. The earliest interviews you can find of him on the internet are like him talking about like the fossil fuel industry and how they're, you know, they've captured the EPA and like a lot of stuff is fucking true. Uh-huh. And I think that kind of crusader personality type,
Starting point is 00:17:46 combined with all of the other stuff that he's been through, just makes him more susceptible to this kind of anti-establishment, everything is a conspiracy type of thinking. That makes sense to me, and also, it sounds like this is not a story of someone who is revealing themselves to be a Kuguber bird, right? This isn't like a Scooby-Doo villain peeling off their mask and being like, hi, it was me all along. This sounds like a
Starting point is 00:18:13 case of genuine, like an unstable core sort of issue. This is a guy who has not had a steady environment and has not had relationships that stick around regardless and has not, you know what I mean? Like, it's just like, had a tough road ahead. And also, there's various reports from friends, some of which are sort of rumors, so I don't know how seriously to take this, but people say that he's always been kind of insecure about his intellect and insecure about being like one of the lesser Kennedys. The shadow that his father cast is so large.
Starting point is 00:18:44 And I think he's always been aware of the need to live up to that. And a little bit insecure about his ability to do so. And I also understand why that would give you a little bit of a chip on your shoulder. When people are criticizing you, we're saying, I don't know about the science on that, you're like, are you saying I'm not good enough? Yeah. Not that I'm expressing a huge amount of sympathy with nipple babies, but there is the thing
Starting point is 00:19:08 of you're kind of aware of the fact that you've gotten this push into these upper echelons. And I think there's an insecurity that comes along with that. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think if you think about what are the life choices for someone with very notable or exceptional or well-known parents?
Starting point is 00:19:29 Their options are go into that same line of work as your parents and get compared to them for forever, go into a different line of work that's like a little bit more normy and have people who have all their eyes that you doing some kind of tourism or not really having the same experiences everyone else or what have you. So I'm just like, I do actually have empathy for that. That seems like a tough position to be in and it makes sense that people would act out in weird ways
Starting point is 00:19:57 if it feels like all of their choices are gonna be that heavily judged based on someone else's actions. I'm like, I get that. I had a thing a couple of years ago where my dad asked me to make him a mixtape. I put a bunch of Amy Winehouse songs on there. So I thought my dad would like her.
Starting point is 00:20:13 And my dad was like, this woman has like this beautiful voice. Like, what's her story? He had never heard of her. I told him like, you know, her struggles with addiction and sort of how her life ended and everything else. And my dad, he's like the kindest guy. He's like, I'm so glad you never had any big talents
Starting point is 00:20:29 because it makes it so hard. When you're really talented, I'm like, Dad, there's probably another way you could've said that. I know what you mean. Let's workshop the phrasing of that, Dad. Famously talentless, Michael Homs. Look, as a member of the mediocre white guy community, I am glad for my lack of privilege.
Starting point is 00:20:48 You were not a tag kid? I would assume you were a tag kid. Oh, is that like a pro? We didn't have that. Oh, talented and gifted. Oh, no, I was not. I was and am neither. That's really funny.
Starting point is 00:21:00 Just ask my dad. When I was reading about RFK Jr. and about the rise of the anti-vax movement, I was like, okay, we can do a whole episode just dunking on this guy. And this is what he says, that's wrong. This is what he says is wrong. That's gonna be very interesting for us.
Starting point is 00:21:13 That's not gonna be very interesting for other people. And so I want to talk about the tactics of conspiracy theorists. And how to recognize conspiracy thinking structurally. Ooh. So the first thing that conspiracy theorists do, and I think it's very important to start with this, is that they fucking lie. Uh-huh.
Starting point is 00:21:37 So I'm sending you another clip from now on. I'm speeding up the clips slightly, just because I had to watch so many hours of this man. And I feel like the least I can do is speed through the clips that we have. So this is at one and a half speed. I think most people don't know what my Sands on vaccines, I've never been any vaccine. Using that pejorative to describe my way of silencing or marginalizing me, virtually every American would agree with my stance on vaccines,
Starting point is 00:22:05 which is that vaccines should be tested like other medicines. They should be safety tested. And unfortunately, the vaccines are not safety tested. They're not. There's in the 72 vaccine doses now mandated, essentially mandated, I recommend it, but they're really mandated.
Starting point is 00:22:20 American children, none of them, not one, has ever been subject to a pre-licensing placebo controlled trial. Yes, I have. No, they have. Okay, let me just say something. Dr. Fauci and many other people for many years said this. Bobby Kennedy, when he says that, is wrong.
Starting point is 00:22:36 So I met with Dr. Fauci in 2016, you know, and I agreed to go and Trump's vaccine safety commission, and I was with Aaron Siri and Lynn Redwood and a number of other people and we said to him, can you show us one test for many vaccine? Pre-licensing safety test and he said, I'll send it to you. I can't find one now. He never did. So we sued Aaron Siri and I sued HHS and after a year of litigation and stonewalling, they said that they could not provide a single safety study for any vaccine that is on the childhood schedule, pre-licensing safety study. So anybody who wants to read that can go to my web to the Children's Health Defense website
Starting point is 00:23:13 and you can read HHS's admission that not a single one has ever been safety tested, pre-licensing. Boy, oh boy. I just think we should safety test the vaccines. It's really amazing as we're going through all of this. How much the sort of style of talking here reminds me of watching so much of the Montana State legislature this year?
Starting point is 00:23:35 Okay. Yeah, that's like, there was a guy who sponsored their drag ban and his whole thing was like, just Google it. They're sexual thing was like, just Google it. They're sexualizing our children, just Google it. Yeah, here's a 200 page PDF that you can read that may or may not confirm my views, but like, we all know you're not gonna fucking do that. Right, either it does confirm my views,
Starting point is 00:23:58 and it's from a totally uncredited source slash, I just personally wrote it, or it's not going to confirm my views and I'm just counting on you not reading it to not know. Yeah. That encounters my views. And also this thing of like, I talked to Dr. Fauci and he never got back to me.
Starting point is 00:24:14 Yeah. Does that actually mean anything significantly? Like there's probably many people that Fauci talks to and doesn't email back. I called Beyoncé and she never called me back. So if you watch a lot of interviews with him, you find that he just plays the same tapes over and over again, so this is like a spiel that he goes on almost word for word the same.
Starting point is 00:24:31 The claim is that the vaccines that we have now have not been tested against placebo. So, I started looking into the history of the anti-vax movement. And what you find is that the minute that we had vaccines, we had anti-vaxxers. So the first vaccine for smallpox is invented or like they're sort of testing out early versions of it in 1721.
Starting point is 00:25:00 And the doctor who's working on this in Boston has to stop the work because he's getting so many threats. Wow, what? We eventually, in the 1800s, get like good vaccines for smallpox because this guy Edward Jenner has the extremely disgusting idea of injecting people with pus and sores of milkmaids that had cowpox. You know, it's like this milder form of smallpox,
Starting point is 00:25:27 but he's like, why are the milk maids getting smallpox? That's weird. It's because they got this cowpox thing, which is like not that bad, but also provides inoculation. Oh, boy. To be fair to the early anti-vaxxers, vaccines were fucking disgusting. Yeah, I was going to say content note for pus injections, I guess. I know. You have no idea the stuff that I had to read and watch for't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
Starting point is 00:25:46 I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
Starting point is 00:25:54 I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
Starting point is 00:26:02 I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement by Jonathan Burman. Terrible title, very good book. Oh good! So he talks about the earliest, like, the first anti-vaxxers in the United States. Actually, this is long. What are I centered to you? Hmm, great. Much of the prevalent anti-vaccine sentiment of the era was laid out in 1854 when John Gibbs published the booklet, Our Medical Liberties, or The Personal Rights of the Subject as infringed by recent and proposed legislation,
Starting point is 00:26:36 compromising observations on the compulsory vaccination act, the medical registration and reform bills, and the main laws end of title. Gibbs attacked the vaccination act of 1853 on several fronts, complaining that it was an intrusion on personal rights, that it was written to benefit the medical trade, that it treated the populace as too stupid to make their own health decisions, that it mandated a practice that was not universally accepted among physicians, and that it had failed in some individual cases.
Starting point is 00:27:09 I wanna point out here, the arguments of anti-vaxxers have not changed for 170 years. This is exactly what we have now, right? What about my rights? It's benefiting big pharma. People should make their own decisions. There's a debate within medicine about whether they work. And look at this anecdote of something bad
Starting point is 00:27:32 that happened to somebody who got a vaccine. The same shit forever. His complaint that vaccination benefited the medical trade may have been related to his own occupation in hydrotherapy. A kind of quack medicine that involved treatment by bathing in drinking or injecting water, and applying it to various parts of the body. Given the hygiene practices of the era, promoting bathing was perhaps not the worst idea
Starting point is 00:27:58 that he had, but it was not an effective means of preventing smallpox infection. I bet. So we have someone who is making these like high level philosophical objections to vaccines, like, oh, isn't it about my personal liberties? When it turns out they're just a fucking grifter who wants to sell you some bullshit. And like, that's the actual heart of their complaint. Last time we're going to see this in the anti-backstreet. I just wanted to put it here because it's the only time this has ever happened. Yeah, totally. It never will happen again. Got it. Check.
Starting point is 00:28:27 And so what we have over the course of the next 100 years, as more vaccines develop, is this cycle emerges, where there's compulsory vaccination, a ton of people get vaccinated, the disease disappears, and then after it disappears for a while, people kind of forget how bad it was. Then you get the rise of these anti-vax orgs. If it's about my rights, blah, blah, blah,
Starting point is 00:28:46 vaccination rates fall, and then an outbreak happens. It's like, oh fuck, we have smallpox again. Look how terrible this is my God, we forgot how bad it is. Then you get people getting vaccinated again. This is the cycle that we're in now, like just to spoil the ending. Like this is what we're saying now with measles. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Starting point is 00:29:03 So this cycle continues until the emergence of polio in the early 1900s. polio is a poop spreading disease, is one of the poop diseases. Oh, congratulations. I know, I had to look into poop again. You keep picking toppings. I know, that leads you back to your day.
Starting point is 00:29:20 I thought it was airborne, but it turns out it's poop and I had to read about poop forever. polio, another thing that has kind of been memory-holded about polio is that like the vaccine roll out for polio was a huge fucking disaster. Really? So in the 1940s and 1950s, there's a bunch of outbreaks of polio.
Starting point is 00:29:37 We had 58,000 cases in 1955. In the early 1950s, they start testing a polio vaccine. So the way the vaccines work is they have virus material and then they blast the virus with formaldehyde, which killed the virus. So it's not live virus anymore, but it is still like virus material. And basically, your body recognizes it enough so that next time it knocks on the door, your immune system is like, I know you, fuck off, right? But what happens in 1955 as they're rolling out, this mass polio vaccination is one of the batches they forgot to add for Meldyde. What? So 100,000 batches of vaccine were just straight up like injecting kids with polio. God, so then this just becomes proof positive
Starting point is 00:30:27 for anti-vax people, right? That was like, you were right all along. Exactly. There's also, I mean, not to give the anti-vax people very much credit, but also people just in general are kind of weirded out by vaccines. I think because, you know, you're sticking a needle, sometimes in an infant, I think a lot of
Starting point is 00:30:45 people are scared of needles in a way that they don't necessarily realize or admit to. And most people don't know how vaccines work, right? It's like this weird, clear liquid that's magical. And you inject it in me. And like, maybe I feel kind of crappy for like a day. But then I'm immune to this disease that like, maybe I haven't even really heard of, right? Like, Rubella? Like, I guess I can't hear Rubella now at the final, I don't know what that is, but okay. There's a huge amount of trust in the medical system that is required for these things, and I sort of get on a gut level why people just think it's sort of weird. Well, also, like, even if you sort of know what you're up against, it's still injecting yourself with something you're trying not to get.
Starting point is 00:31:22 Exactly, it freaks people out. And I think that's just like a little bit of a mind-fuck. So this incident in 1955 was like a huge deal. Yeah, horror show. There's lawsuits, there's again another wave of organized anti-vaccine sentiment, right? So in 1973, we get the foundation of the association of parents of vaccine-damaged children.
Starting point is 00:31:47 And so, to return to the Arachage Unior clip that we just watched, yes, he says that vaccines are not tested on placebos. This is again a fucking lie. I googled measles vaccine placebo and found many studies. There's one in 1963 where they test the Measles vaccine against three different kinds of placebo. There's one in 1986, this is actually pretty cool where they tested the Measles vaccine on identical twins.
Starting point is 00:32:15 Oh, whoa. So one that a placebo one didn't, all of the COVID vaccines were tested against placebo. Rotavirus, tested against placebo, is for years. It was like 70,000 people. It was like a bunch of different countries. For years, the fucking polio vaccine was tested against placebo, is for years, it was like 70,000 people, it was like a bunch of different countries, four years. The fucking polio vaccine was tested against saline in 1952. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:32:31 When RFK Jr says that none of the vaccines have been tested against placebo, what he means is that none of the current brand name vaccines have been tested against placebo. So over the years, the pharmaceutical companies will update the vaccines for various reasons, for like technical reasons, or like this one preserves longer,
Starting point is 00:32:50 it's easier to ship or whatever. There's various reasons that they change the formulation of the vaccine. And when they do that, they test the new vaccines against the old vaccines. If you're making some technical tweak to like the measles vaccine, it doesn't make sense to test it against a placebo.
Starting point is 00:33:08 First of all, because what you want to know is whether it's as effective as the older formulation, right? Secondly, it's really unethical to give people placebo vaccines because they might get fucking measles. But Michael, he didn't return his call, smoking gun. I know. Good lord. So, are you ready for a next clip? But Michael, he didn't return his call, smoking gun. I know. That's a good word. So, are you ready for a next clip? Our next category of infirmation? Yes, clip it up.
Starting point is 00:33:31 Clip, clip, slip, slip. The next thing that conspiracy theorists do is they deliberately remove context. Okay. So, this is another clip from RFK juniors appearance on Joe Rogan. A passive vaccine act in 1986 and the vaccine act gave immunity from liability to all vaccine companies. If you for any injury for negligence no matter how negligent you are no matter how regulish your conduct no matter how toxic the agreement how shotally tested or manufactured
Starting point is 00:34:03 the product no matter how grievous your injury, your vaccine coming, you cannot be sued. Of this was a huge gift for this industry because the biggest cause for every medical product is downstream liabilities. And all of a sudden those had disappeared. So you're not only taking away that cause, but you're all an incentivizing production
Starting point is 00:34:22 of many new vaccines. You're removing the incentive to make them safe, because no matter how dangerous there are, they don't care, because they can't be sued. I can't fathom that this is in any way accurate. Well, you don't think it's true that no one cares. We're just injecting just pure mercury into children. You can't file loss out.
Starting point is 00:34:40 You don't think that's true, Aubrey? Look, wow. That's not coming from a place of, I have a great deal of faith and institutional public health system, whatever. That's coming from a place of, we're in a country where anyone can sue anyone for anything. I do not believe that there would be this kind of blanket
Starting point is 00:35:00 immunity for an entire like industry. That seems wackado. Can't believe you're spoiling the next six minutes. Oh no like industry, that seems wackado. Can't believe you're spoiling the next six minutes. Oh, no, Michael, I'm so sorry. I'm fired. Yeah. She's turned the pink slip on herself. So we are fast forwarding slightly to 1982.
Starting point is 00:35:20 There's new vaccines being introduced. And we have this uptake of them, and then people get nervous, and then it goes down, and then we get an outbreak. So, in the 1970s and 1980s, there's a couple of outbreaks of pertussis, which is whooping cough. So, in the midst of this kind of vaccination and outbreak cycle, in 1982, we get a TV news special called DPT Vaccine Roulette. Oh no.
Starting point is 00:35:49 We are going to watch the first two minutes. So this was originally broadcast on a affiliate in Washington, DC, but it becomes a big deal nationally. It's a fact of life. All children must get four DPT shots to go to school. Shots we are told will keep our children healthy. Shots we are told will protect every child from a dread disease, pertussis. It's hooping cough.
Starting point is 00:36:14 But the DPT shot can dangerous vaccine that we now have. Pugh! Crips! It's so bad, right? Yeah, so the images are of disabled kids. And it's horrible, like heart-effect, like horror movie sound, above like kids with Down Syndrome. Crotesque!
Starting point is 00:36:44 Yeah, really good. Like Down syndrome. Crotask. Yeah, really. Like, absolutely fucking reprehensible. So most of the special is anecdotes of parents who are like, Lucy was fine, and then we took her to get her DPT shot, and then immediately she had all of these developmental delays. It's basically anecdote after anecdote after anecdote. The HHS, sort of the,
Starting point is 00:37:02 what she calls the medical establishment is not really given any ability to respond. It's just like, HHS said sort of the what she calls the medical establishment, is not really given any ability to respond. It's just like, HHS said that there was no evidence of this or something, but it's like, it doesn't really dwell on it. And then anyone who tries to say that there's no evidence that the vaccines actually do this, it's like, you know, someone in a lab coat sort of sitting at a desk and like, there isn't really a visual associated with it. Yeah. Whereas just the visual of like as we saw in that clip, it's like a baby being injected and immediately crying.
Starting point is 00:37:30 That's what sticks with you from this. This is big apple morphing into a skull and crossbones territory. It's really it. This like early 80s special report news magazine kind of stuff was really working over time on that friend. And of course, later on, like far after there's any real ability to do anything about it, people look into the details of this documentary and they find that a lot of the numbers were
Starting point is 00:37:54 wrong, a lot of the researchers whose work was cited in this report are like, that's not what our study says. Yeah, it's anecdotal and it's all correlation, right? Yeah, I mean, the primary structural problem with vaccines is the scale. You have millions of children every year being injected with vaccines. You know, something that happens in one out of 10,000 kids is gonna happen a couple thousand times
Starting point is 00:38:21 because so many kids are getting the vaccines. Yeah, total. And the vaccine's schedule, there's quite a few vaccines, even in 1982, that kids had to get. And these are also the time of development, sort of between six months and 18 months, when disabilities start to appear in kids, right?
Starting point is 00:38:35 You start to notice speech delays, you start to notice vision impairments, hearing impairments. Yeah. And so given the number of shots that kids are getting and given the way that humans form patterns, we look for patterns in our brains without really realizing that's what we're doing, of course, you're gonna sort of put these two things together
Starting point is 00:38:52 and be like, oh my God, her hearing issues started the week after she got the vaccine. It feels a little bit like my phone is listening to me, crowd. Like when people are like, I was just talking to my friend about this and then I got an ad for it on my phone and I'm like, did you Google it though? Dude, I used to think that I had ESP because I could very reliably predict which song was going to come on on shuffle.
Starting point is 00:39:13 Like I thought I had the gift. It's like of the 12 tracks on this scene. Which one's coming next. That's amazing. So another very good book that I read for this is The Panic Virus by Seth Menukin. He talks about how this, just this documentary results in like another increase in the size of the organized anti-vax movement. A bunch of parents start getting together
Starting point is 00:39:41 in these organized groups. You know, they start doing newsletters and much more sort of political lobbying. And eventually they get together a bunch of lawsuits. So in 1978, there were two lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers in 1986, four years after this documentary, there were 250 lawsuits. And they were totaling three billion in damages.
Starting point is 00:40:03 And some of these cases won. Yeah. Vaccines are not particularly profitable, right? They're mostly being bought in like very large quantities by like municipal governments and stuff. The drug makers are basically like, this is not worth it for us. What starts happening in the 1980s is the number of companies
Starting point is 00:40:20 that make vaccines goes from over 20 to less than four because they're like, we can't afford the litigation. So in 1986, Congress passes a law with a name that will ring in the fucking ears of the anti-vax people. The anti-vax people love the fucking name of this law. It's called the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Okay. Which makes it sound like, oh, kids are being injured by the vaccines, right?
Starting point is 00:40:49 And the minute you talk about this, they'll be like, well, then why is it called the Injury Act then? Basically, what this does is it sets up this compensation scheme that RFK Jr. mentioned openly in his clip. There is actually a mechanism now that if you believe your child is harmed by a vaccine, you can take your case to this compensation scheme, it will be heard by a sort of panel of judges and it may or may not pay out awards.
Starting point is 00:41:15 So this does actually happen. Like in the same way that like, did you get side effects from the COVID vaccine? Not really, like my arm kinda ached. How about you? I mean, I have had a bunch of them by now, but like in general, I had like one or two days of feeling flu. But again, with the scale, it's like there are side effects of
Starting point is 00:41:33 vaccines, right? And if you think about, you know, this is being given to tens of millions of people in the bell curve of side effects of vaccines, some people really are going to be like the far tail end. So like there, there are cases of gets fainting after they get vaccines, gets vomit after they get vaccines. Like vaccines have side effects and like risks. They're very small and they're, they're extremely small compared to the risk of not getting vaccinated, i.e. getting measles or whatever else. But like people really do have side effects. Hmm. So when RFK juniors says that there is this compensation scheme that protects big
Starting point is 00:42:06 pharma from some liability for vaccines, he is telling the truth. However, he is also leaving out three critical pieces of context. Yeah. First of all, he's ignoring all of the history that we just went over. The precipitating incident of this injury act was that there was only one producer of the pertussis vaccine left. And it's easy to forget this now. But like before we had a vaccine against whooping cough, it killed 9,000 kids a year. So Congress was looking at a context in which the options were either have no pertussis vaccine or set up this injury
Starting point is 00:42:43 compensation scheme. Yeah. The second piece of context that he's leaving out is that these kinds of injury compensation schemes are like really standard throughout the developed world. Vaccines aren't like running shoes or something where if you buy it and it sucks or it harms you, you sue the manufacturer, vaccines are mandated by federal and state governments. So around the world, what governments have done is basically said, look, we are making kids take this, so it makes sense that we would take on the liability.
Starting point is 00:43:13 Yeah. And the third, and by far the most important piece of context that he's leaving out, is that this injury compensation scheme, which we've now had for a couple decades, has lower standards than legal standards. This actually makes it easier for parents to get compensation when their kids are harmed by vaccines in these rare cases.
Starting point is 00:43:33 People have, in fact, gone to this compensation scheme and gotten payouts for harms of vaccines that are basically biologically implausible. Scientists look at this and they're like, there's really no way that a vaccine could have done this, but we can't really prove that a vaccine didn't cause this disability or this harm. And so we're going to pay this person out.
Starting point is 00:43:53 That's something that would never happen if these parents were forced to come together as a group, file a class action lawsuit, go through this whole years-long process, finally getting a war, there's then an appeal, et cetera, et cetera. This is actually a better process if you believe that your children were harmed by vaccines. Man, I'm hearing you say all of this and I'm also staring at this screen of YouTube. The very first comment is, I am by no means a scientist, but the second I saw they didn't have any liability,
Starting point is 00:44:26 I knew I wouldn't be taking it. They go. 1000 likes. Yeah, this whole episode is just an exercise and like how much longer it takes to debunk this bullshit than it does to say it. Even this, like his interview with Joe Rogan was three hours long, we're gonna do a fucking two-part episode.
Starting point is 00:44:44 We've already been recording for for two and a half hours. We will get to five percent of the bullshit that he's got on top of it. Oh my god. Oh my god. Just the flood, the fire hose of nonsense. At a certain point, you just need to be like, this is not a person who is connected with reality. And everything that he says,
Starting point is 00:45:02 you should assume that it is false. Unless somebody else, like somebody credible, somebody with a podcast, says that it is true. Somebody with a pot, you know. Look at a podcast. That's credibility factory that is having a USB mic. All right, we have one more section. The third thing that conspiracy theorists do,
Starting point is 00:45:22 they are obsessed with being silenced by the scientific establishment. Oh my God! So the image that just popped into my mind when you said that was, uh... Marjorie Taylor Greene speaking on the floor of Congress with a mask on that's censored. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, Jesus Christ. You're a sitting congress person. I know. I'm just kidding, Congress, who's censoring you?
Starting point is 00:45:49 Thank you and fuck you for bringing that back into my brain. Sorry. You're welcome. But actually, this clip does not deal with Marjorie Taylor Greene. This deals with Nicki Minaj. Oh, no. He's about her cousin's testicles.
Starting point is 00:46:03 We're mostly reading this because I think it's funny, but I'm gonna bring it back to the theme, don't worry. So this is from his Anthony Fauci book. By September of 2021, Dr. Fauci's power to muzzle his critics had achieved a mastery over free expression, unprecedented in human history. Unprecedented. That month, with a single phrase, Dr. Fauci silenced pop icon, Nikki Minaj, after she questioned whether COVID vaccines
Starting point is 00:46:30 might be causing problems involving testicular swelling. Mm-hmm. When CNN's Jake Tapper asked him about Minaj's claim, Dr. Fauci simply declared, the answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no. As usual, he cited no study to support this association. Where's the study showing it doesn't expand balls? Unlike RFK Jr.
Starting point is 00:46:53 Yeah. Who cites literally tens of thousands of studies. I also love that he's saying that Dr. Fauci is like silencing her when all that happened was he went on CNN and they're like, is she right? He's like, nah. I also really enjoy him referring to her as pop icon Nicki Minaj. It's true. Because I am certain that he had not heard of her.
Starting point is 00:47:12 Nicki Minaj. Based on Dr. Fauci's word alone, Twitter immediately evicted Minaj from its platform, censoring her communication with her 22 million followers. Farma's obedient attack dogs, CNN, CBS, and NBC, rushed onto the dog pile to defame and discredit the rapper and to assure the public that Minaj was wrong. Dr. Fauci, after all, had spoken exclamation point. Also, do you want to read the actual tweet, Aubrey? Sure! Sure, sure. This is the Nicki Minaj tweet that, Dr. Fauci,
Starting point is 00:47:48 so cruelly silenced. My cousin and Trinidad won't get the vaccine because his friend got it and became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married. Now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it and make sure you're comfortable with your decision, not bullied.
Starting point is 00:48:06 Think about your testicles. There was a lot made of this at the time. Like Nicki Minaj's cousin's friend was like the, like sort of full title of this whole thing. And like, she's sort of gesturing at something, which is not great. I don't love the gesturing that she's doing here. But she's not saying these vaccines are great. I don't love the gesturing that she's doing here,
Starting point is 00:48:25 but she's not saying these vaccines are unsafe. I have the proof. Right, right. But this is also the thing that anti-vaxxers always do, where they keep this distance, where they can say something and then immediately be like, oh, I never said that. I never said nobody should get the vaccine. I merely said that it's harming millions of children.
Starting point is 00:48:42 Yeah, I never said you shouldn't get it. So for this, I spoke to Friend of the Show, Eric Garcia, and read his book, We're Not Broken, which was really good. Yay, Eric! And he went on Mianseris podcast to describe sort of the the genesis of the modern anti-vaxx movement, which is what we're going to cover now. This is like, when me and you started hearing about the anti-vaxx movement, it's like, what's about to happen? I'm not going to go through like every minute detail because this has been covered like pretty extensively elsewhere. But one thing that I do think is really interesting to note and I noticed in the reading for this is that a word that has not come up in any of the
Starting point is 00:49:19 antivax movements so far throughout the 70s and 80s is autism. Oh, interesting. The specific link between the MMR vaccine and autism has not been made yet. This is something that is totally constructed in the 1990s. Which is wild because that is the leading claim at this point. At this point, if you asked me to characterize like, what are the values of anti-vax movements in the US? I'd be like, well, they don't want there to be any autistic people. Step one.
Starting point is 00:49:49 So most of this, I'm getting from Brian Deers' book, The Doctor Who Fooled the World, but I'm also pulling from Neurotribes by Steve Silverman and Paul Offitz book, Autism's False Profits. I really started understanding this chapter of the story. Once I learned that there had been all of these waves of organized anti-vax movements. So as this the attention on this DPPT documentary
Starting point is 00:50:13 wanes in the UK, there's a couple of scandals related to vaccines. So there was some sort of contamination thing where the mumps vaccine in 1992 ended up causing some sort of contamination thing where the mumps vaccine in 1992 ended up causing some cases of mumps, well relatively small outbreak, but the right wing tabloids, which you know I love in Britain, just very responsible institutions. Daily mail hive. Yeah, exactly. That's us. Yeah. They start whipping up a panic about like all of the vaccines that kids are taking. So famously, one of the stories has the headline
Starting point is 00:50:51 why another needle, mummy, sort of seen as like big government, government overreach, whatever. So there's a whole big sort of swirling panic about vaccines in the 1990s in the UK. And there's this woman named Jackie Fletcher, who starts showing up in the tabloids, giving interviews, she has a son who she says was like totally normal, he's one year old,
Starting point is 00:51:13 he then gets the MMR shot, and almost immediately starts having seizures. She then starts gathering up other mothers, other people around her, this then becomes like an organized political movement. She and another mother of a kid who claims her kids developmental delays on vaccines. They start placing ads in the newspaper to be like, are you a parent who blames your kids' condition on the vaccines?
Starting point is 00:51:36 Come and find us. In 1992, they found something called Justice Awareness and Basic Support, which is Jabs, for sure. It's pretty good. Good work. It's actually pretty good work. I like that. And they start working on a legal case.
Starting point is 00:51:51 So the standards are very different in the UK. It's much harder to sue companies, but they are convinced that, you know, this technological product produced by a pharmaceutical manufacturer harmed their children. So they are very enthusiastic about getting together a legal case and doing some sort of the equivalent of a class action suit against one of these vaccine manufacturers. In 1995, they hire a lawyer named Richard Bar who is going to organize this. There's like a lot of technical criteria he's going to sue under this like weird EU law and he has to meet all of these criteria For actually getting the case to go forward the problem that he has is that there's no actual proof of this
Starting point is 00:52:31 Like he has to gin up some actual evidence that these people were harmed from the vaccines rather than just like Oh, they say that they were harmed by the vaccines, right? So he finds a researcher named Andrew Wakefield Oh, I know this name so Andrew Wakefield. Oh, I know this name. So Andrew Wakefield is originally like a bowel surgeon. He sort of describes a doctor, which makes you think that he's like a research scientist, but he's like a doctor doctor. And he in the 80s becomes very interested in Crohn's disease,
Starting point is 00:53:03 which is this autoimmune disorder that causes all kinds of stomach problems. And he really wants to understand, like why do I have so many more patients with Crohn's disease these days? In the early 1990s, he says that he has this like a eureka moment. He's in the library, he's reading all these old books.
Starting point is 00:53:20 He finds that measles, the measles virus, can cause in rare cases ulcers in people's stomach and bowels, like in their digestive system, measles can cause this. And so he then becomes convinced that the measles vaccine. Exactly. So he is like, well, where are kids getting exposed to? The measles virus, at this point, aha, it's in the vaccines.
Starting point is 00:53:44 Yep. In 1983, he publishes a very janky study, quote, unquote, proving this link, which is published, but then like almost immediately people start looking at it and are like, this is just wrong. Like this just isn't, this would be a really big deal of this was true, right? And they look into it and they're like, this,
Starting point is 00:54:00 this is just janky as fuck. But even though the study is not seen as particularly credible by researchers, he starts becoming a media darling. So he starts showing up in these like right-wing scare stories about like not another needle mummy, and they'll interview this guy who's sort of like, I'm within the medical establishment,
Starting point is 00:54:16 but I'm pushing back, like he has this great, like forbidden knowledge kind of story about himself. So he becomes a media figure. In 1995, this lawyer for the moms finds him in one of these articles and is like, aha, this guy might be my ticket to ginning up some proof for the fact that vaccines are causing developmental delays. So Richard Barhires, Andrew Wakefield, he will eventually be paid, adjusted for inflation, more than $1 million over the course of the next decade.
Starting point is 00:54:49 They then start putting out calls to parents. So you can actually go back and see in the newsletter for this Jabs organization, Richard Bar is like, hey, if you think your kid has been harmed by the vaccine, get in touch with this Andrew Wakefield guy, he's putting together a study. So in 1998, he publishes his study.
Starting point is 00:55:08 I'm gonna send you the title because it is a nightmare I didn't want to hear you try to pronounce it. No, you get one try. Are you gonna go like, I don't know either, so your guess is as good as mine. All right, I'm taking it slow. All right.
Starting point is 00:55:23 Iliolimphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Peer clickbait. Yeah, it seems like wow. Yeah, when I see non-specific colitis, I got a click. They started on Iliol. Oh yeah, give it to me.
Starting point is 00:55:42 Hahaha. What this study purports to be is like we're at a hospital in London and Over the course of last couple months. We've had 12 kids come in with autism eight of them got autism very rapidly Almost immediately after receiving the MMR vaccine. So six days after receiving the MMR vaccine They all get both this like tummy trouble, which they're calling non-specific colitis, but like basically constipation and all kinds of like
Starting point is 00:56:12 bomb-oost off basically. And they have very rapid disintegration of like developmental markers. Like they become nonverbal, they have like twitches, all kinds of like symptoms of like something much greater. Almost immediately. They run all kinds of tests on the kids and show that there's like ulcers
Starting point is 00:56:32 and so there's all kinds of like technical like bowel stuff. Most of the paper is like totally unreadable to solve this like super technical shit. The paper basically puts forward this theory that there's something in the vaccines that is like swamping the brain and crossing the blood brain barrier and is causing some sort of like bowel disintegration. And then the bowel disintegration is somehow causing autism. People point out later that this is very important for the paper to include this because to
Starting point is 00:57:03 get legal compensation under the UK and EU product liability laws, you have to show that the product caused a unique condition. Hmm. And you have to show that it was rapid onset. You can't just be like, my kid got a vaccine and like a year later he started having headaches. Right. And so, low and behold, this guy who was hired by a lawyer to give ammunition to a class action lawsuit, huh, yeah, produces perfect evidence
Starting point is 00:57:30 of something that matches the legal standard for liability. Yeah. Interesting stuff. What a coincidence. Shocking. So, when this paper is published, the paper is published in the Lancet, which is like one of the most prestigious medical journals
Starting point is 00:57:44 in the UK, the Royal Free Hospital, which is like one of the most prestigious medical journals in the UK, the Royal Free Hospital, which is where he works at the time, holds a press conference where Andrew Wakefield sort of announces this to the press. He immediately goes off script. So of course, reporters are going to be like, well, what does this mean about like getting a vaccine? He says, I cannot support the continued use of the three vaccines given together. We need to know what the role of gut inflammation is in autism. His like boss is like, oh, that's not justified at all.
Starting point is 00:58:12 This is like a super preliminary report. But of course, that clip doesn't make it on the news, right? What makes it on the news is, oh my God, there's these kids that immediately came down with autism after getting the vaccine. And the researchers are like, oh, we should think about like changing the vaccine schedule. As you're talking about this,
Starting point is 00:58:25 I'm just thinking about like, how much of a theme it is on the show for the place where it was possible to make things go differently was the point between researchers and media, right? Yeah. That is really the point at which folks are getting, you know,
Starting point is 00:58:42 rocket fuel for their weird and baseless claims, or they're being checked in a way that makes them uncomfortable and forces them to sit with it a little bit, right? Like, it just feels like had there been the same kind of journalistic energy channel towards what's going on with Wakefield and all of this as it was happening, as there was devoted
Starting point is 00:59:05 to the like DPT vaccine story, right? That we would have a really, really different story of this movement happening. Right, and it's also, it's so predictable. Again, the UK has been in a constant right wing panic about vaccines for nearly a decade at this point. We know that these movements exist. We know that this narrative is out there.
Starting point is 00:59:26 They publish the article. They also publish a critique of the article in the same issue. That is like, look, this is just 12 cases. We don't really know anything. It's super duper preliminary. But it's like, you didn't think to just not publish it or like wait and fucking stress test it at all. Like, you're just gonna be like,
Starting point is 00:59:42 oh well, we're just gonna print both perspectives with no acknowledgement that you know which perspective is going to end up in the fucking tabloids. Right, well, that's the other sort of like point of intervention that we come up against all the time is this sort of like deep desire for science to be a political or to exist in an apolitical landscape, which it absolutely never does.
Starting point is 01:00:05 We're talking about the safety of people's kids. You even don't care about this stuff. People are gonna air on the side of caution with this stuff, right, especially when it comes down to, like my kid is about to be harmed in this extremely proximate way by getting a vaccine versus if my kid doesn't get vaccines, they might get rubella.
Starting point is 01:00:20 Totally. Which I never heard of, or like, pertussis, which doesn't feel real to people. I was actually looking at statistics of various countries and like, vaccination rates over time. You can see a fucking dip in 1998. It's wild in the UK. It's like, craters.
Starting point is 01:00:36 And then, of course, there's a bunch of outbreaks of various things and there's all kinds of other media stuff. And then the vaccination rate goes up. But it's like even zooming out to the century level of like, okay, and then the vaccination rate goes up. But it's like even zooming out to like the century level of like, okay, what were the vaccination? Right, you're like, hey, what's that divot in the picture? Yeah, good. You can see the fucking wake field divot.
Starting point is 01:00:52 It's fucking wild. And of course, of course, this was going to fucking happen. And what drives me absolutely nuts is that, that, you know, in this evisceration of the paper that runs alongside the paper, people do point out that like this is only based on 12 kids at one hospital. This is based exclusively on the memories of the parents, right? So it's not medical records. And also what I still feel like has not really
Starting point is 01:01:17 been like conveyed to the British public at the time or like even fucking now is that if kids were coming down with very severe digestive issues and autism within a fucking week of getting the vaccine, we would know different countries have very different vaccination rates. And different parts of different countries, like some Indian states have much higher vaccination rates than other Indian states. Do you know how fucking easy it would be to look at this and be like, oh, okay, this part of India has like really high rates of bowel problems of kids.
Starting point is 01:01:51 This part has much lower. Oh, weird, it matches up perfectly with the vaccines. In the years after this, people go back, there's a study that actually finds every single kid diagnosed with autism in a particular region of the UK, no link between symptoms of autism and vaccination. There are huge country studies of like, okay, the vaccination rate, you know, vaccinations became mandatory in this year. So the vaccination rate went from like 15% to like 99%. Did we see any increase in bowel stuff? Did we see any
Starting point is 01:02:24 percent to like 99% did we see any increase in bowel stuff did we see any significant explosion in autism rates? No, like people have looked for this for years and have found nothing. Can I ask about that? So on the the scientific establishment wants to silence me on the nobody cares about the welfare of white wealthy children does RFK junior or does the anti-vax movement writ large offer a motivation for that? Oh, big pharma. Oh, just straight up, like they're getting pay-offs or whatever.
Starting point is 01:02:53 They're in the pocket of big pharma, which I actually, again, the best rebuttal to any conspiracy theory is to ask yourself, like, how many people would have to be in on the conspiracy for this to work. And so even if you wanna say, okay, America is lost. America has totally fallen to big farm art or whatever, right? There are vaccination programs worldwide.
Starting point is 01:03:14 Why would thousands of researchers in Pakistan be willing to lie about the symptoms of vaccines so that American companies can get rich? If vaccines are obviously harmful, we're talking about a conspiracy that involves easily 100,000 researchers. And like all of these, like the public health ministry of like Bangladesh has to be in on it.
Starting point is 01:03:35 Why the fuck would they care what Big Pharma does? Like it doesn't make any sense. The minute you get into like the specifics of how like the global vaccination distribution system works. Yeah, that was my Rogan question. Say more about that. Why? Yeah, oh, how far?
Starting point is 01:03:50 Why would they do that? What do you mean? Yeah. So, okay, there's all kinds of problems with the paper itself. It basically never should have been published. Six years later, in 2004, a journalist named Brian Deer wrote a very good book about this entire thing. Starts looking into the background of this study. A journalist named Brian Deer wrote a very good book about this entire thing, starts looking
Starting point is 01:04:05 into the background of this study. Nobody knows any of this stuff at the time about like the parents are specifically being recruited because they're already anti-vaxxers, right? Nobody knows about the funding. He starts looking into it, and he finds all of it. He eventually tracks down the parents of all 12 of the kids who participate in the study. And he reads them the description, okay, there's like patient 11, like, okay, your child is patient 11. These are his symptoms. This is when he got vaccinated. And over and over again,
Starting point is 01:04:35 the parents are like, that's not true. He finds out a huge number of the kids had symptoms of autism before they got vaccinated. Other kids had symptoms of autism before they got vaccinated. Other kids had symptoms of autism like eight months after they were vaccinated. This whole thing of like a case study, right? 12 random kids happened to have come into our clinic over the last couple of months and they all have these same symptoms.
Starting point is 01:04:59 That's not true. These kids were brought in to the clinic. Specifically, one kid was flown there from the Bay Area of the United States. What? A lot of these kids have conditions that make it very difficult for them to be taken out of like comfortable environments.
Starting point is 01:05:14 It's like really stressful on these kids to travel, right? Much less. Go into a clinic where a bunch of tests are going to be done on them. So this is super fucked up, but like the kids are given spinal taps, which are very painful. A lot of the kids have to be held down by like three people
Starting point is 01:05:31 to get just a drop blood. Jeez. There's never an ethics board that looks at this. There's eventually a trial. It's like a medical licensing board trial. It's the longest trial of this nature of its type in the UK ever goes on for more than two years, I believe. And eventually Wakefield is stripped of his medical license.
Starting point is 01:05:49 Oh, wow! The reason why I wanted to talk about this thing of like the scientific establishment is trying to silence me is that the the story of Andrew Wakefield is not a story of the scientific establishment being too mean to somebody. This is a story of the scientific establishment being too mean to somebody. This is a story of the scientific establishment being too nice. Yeah, totally. One of the things that Brian Deere mentions numerous times in his book is how long it took him to get other scientists to admit that Wakefield was acting in bad faith. And this was a fraudulent paper. Everybody was like, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Starting point is 01:06:20 He really believes this. He's doing his best. He may have just kind of stepped over the line in a couple of places. And Deere is like, dude, he's no, he really believes this. He's doing his best. He may have just like kind of stepped over the line in a couple places. And Deer is like, dude, he's lying to you about his finances. He's lying about the basic chronology of these kids. He's lying about where they're based.
Starting point is 01:06:36 It takes 12 years for the Lancet to retract this paper. What? Brian Deer figures out all this funding, all this recruitment of the parents and shit in 2004. They don't retract the paper until 2010. Oh my God. Also, keep in mind, not only was this extremely Jank Balls paper published in the first place,
Starting point is 01:06:56 but it was published with a fucking press conference by his employer. The scientific establishment was coddling this fucking guy and was like accepting just on its face Shoddy work. I mean it was a shoddy paper to begin with. Yeah, good lord. What we see in the story over and over again is the scientific establishment not being mean enough To eat as actors and fucking taking them at their word and taking them in good faith over and over again even long After they have ceased deserving any assumption of good faith. and over again, even long after they have ceased deserving
Starting point is 01:07:26 any assumption of good faith. Yeah, I mean, we've gotten a number of emails as a podcast from researchers and from professors and folks who've sort of served as the peer research peer review part of the research world who have spoken very articulately and passionately about how deeply flawed the peer review system is currently, right? That it's like sort of on a volunteer basis. And there's
Starting point is 01:07:54 a lot of bias that comes into play in reviewing different people's work and different subjects of work, right? It makes sense to me that a system that has that many things sort of fall through the cracks, including like findings that strain credulity and don't really even pass the sniff test, right? Like it makes sense to me that like, you know, to hold folks to account would require a great deal of time and energy and effort and people power.
Starting point is 01:08:26 Yeah. Then I'm guessing these journals just don't have. Yeah, I actually, one of the reasons I wanted to do this episode is the anti-vax story is a story where science gets to be the good guy. Despite the rest of the episodes of the show, I'm actually a huge believer in science and a huge believer in the mission of public health.
Starting point is 01:08:48 I think that this is something government has to do. This is something that we do together. I think it's extremely important. One of the main blind spots in science that we saw back then and we still see now is they want science not to be released into a political and social context. Right, so you hear all the time, climate change
Starting point is 01:09:08 shouldn't be a political issue. Yeah, don't you agree? I'd love it if it wasn't, but it is. Yeah, I mean, it's such a tough one because it is like, there's one side that's grounded in science, and there's one side that's sort of spouting nonsense, and I would argue it's even bigger than that, right?
Starting point is 01:09:25 Which is like, there are claims that are based in sort of scientific observance, right? And on the other side, there is like profound anxiety. Yeah, yeah. So it's not even someone's making good points and someone's making bad points. It's someone's having a conversation about information and someone else is having a conversation about feelings.
Starting point is 01:09:46 Yeah, that's a good way to put it. So we're just like not ever gonna meet if that's the, if that remains the case. I want to end by circling back to RFK Junior. So it's now 1998. Things are starting to happen in the UK. There's this huge wave of like both sides media. It's like, well, there's a debate about whether
Starting point is 01:10:08 the vaccines cause autism, which like they're never really meaningfully was. But this is the message that people are getting. This also is a key moment in the radicalization of RFG Junior. So we've talked about some of the factors, kind of the larger biographical factors that made him susceptible to conspiracy theories. But in the early 1990s, he has a kid who has severe allergies, and
Starting point is 01:10:34 this ends up being a major component of his radicalization. So I am going to send you an excerpt from the forward to a book called The Peanut Allergy Epidemic, which is like this really weird, crank conspiracy book, but they ask RFK Jr. to write the forward to it in like the second edition or something, and I'm gonna send this to you. Quote, my son Connor was born in 1994. He developed chronic asthma, food allergies,
Starting point is 01:11:03 and anaphylaxis that required 29 emergency room visits before he was three years old. His brother Finn, born four years later, also developed anaphylaxis. What were the chances? In 1998, I was among a group of New York parents who co-founded the Food Allergy Initiative to research cures for food allergies. In my own research, I learned that a host of other childhood epidemics, autism, ADD, ADHD, SIDS, OCD, ASD, narcolepsy, sleep, and seizure disorders, neurodevelopmental delays, auto-immune diseases, and ticks all began rising in the early 1990s. Coincidentally, this is the time period during which the CDC dramatically expanded the vaccine
Starting point is 01:11:52 schedule, raising children's exposure to mercury, aluminum, and other toxic vaccine ingredients. So RFK Jr. is one of these parents who's radicalized by the experience of having kids with various medical stuff, and he somehow finds this link to vaccines and becomes radicalized. Like this is where it comes from. This is his radioactive spider. Yeah, he doesn't talk about it that much, which is weird now. It makes sense, right, as a source code for folks like level of feelings and depth of feelings on this issue, right?
Starting point is 01:12:30 Like, it would make sense that one of the only places that that would come from is your kids and how you feel about your kids, right? Like, that that is the time and the place that people will go to length that they wouldn't necessarily otherwise go to. And he's also doing the thing that we see in all forms of health grifting where he's just throwing the kitchen sink at it.
Starting point is 01:12:49 He's like, oh, the vaccines cause autism, but also ADHD and SIDS and OCD and narcolepsy. Yeah. This is something I've seen him do in like a million interviews where he just lists off a bunch of conditions that have like no biological mechanism similar to each other, right? It would be really weird if the same thing was causing ADHD and sudden infant death, right? And then as you saw a little bit of
Starting point is 01:13:18 in that clip that we watched, people try to push back. They're just like, no, it's not. Yeah. This is like the, if you've had conversations with Conspiracy theorist, this is every conversation where you're like, yeah, how do you know that? And they're like, well, I just think you should be able to say it.
Starting point is 01:13:32 This is the voice of experience, chime in in here. When you're like, if you've ever talked to a conspiracy theorist, oh, yeah. And then just like, dropped into some deep, real stuff. I am sub-tweeting some very specific people. Yes, they're tired. There's a whole entire episode and in some ways with this entire show.
Starting point is 01:13:50 So glad that you've called me out for that. Yeah, you're welcome. You're calling me in. I mean, listen, our whole show is just a series of sub-tweets. That's the only reason anyone becomes a journalist. Okay. Okay. Okay. reason anyone becomes a journalist. Thank you.

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