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Friday, August 28, 2015
WND Brings RFK Jr. Aboard As Anti-Vaxxer Columnist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may not share the same political views, but they share common cause in promoting discredited anti-vaxxer rhetoric. So WND has rather belatedly welcomed Kennedy to its extremist fold, giving him the full columnist-with-bio treatment for his writings, as shown above. (That bio is so outdated, it refers to his radio show as airing on Air America Radio, which shut down five years ago.)

RFK Jr.'s Aug. 24 WND column is a screed against Forbes magazine for  putting a dent in his conspiracy theory that Poul Thorsen, a Danish scientist accused of stealing $1 million in federal grant money for his own use, is some sort of mastermind in the government/vaccine industry scheme to suppress evidence that vaccines don't cause autism. Here's a snippet showing the general tone of Kennedy's piece:

Dr. Thorsen is one of the co-authors and data manager for two leading foreign studies offered by CDC as the foundation of its claims that vaccines do not cause autism. Only purposeful misstatement or journalistic sloth can account for Willingham’s declaration that Thorsen’s conclusions “have not been called into question.” For over a decade, myriad critics have exposed those studies as brazen fraud.

Among those RFK Jr. as questioning those studies is the Journal for the American Physicians and Surgeons, the publication of the anti-vaxxer-friendly and far-right-fringe Academy of American Physicians and Surgeons -- hardly credible evidence. But as the Forbes article pointed out, Thorsen was not first author or senior author on those studies, which suggests that his contribution to them is not as significant as people like Kennedy claim. Further despite Kennedy's ranting that the Thorsen-linked studies are a "brazen fraud," Forbes points out that the studies and data "have not been called into question (through formal channels) or retracted."

Kennedy takes a cue from his new friends at WND and carefully crafts his outrage to avoid issues actually discussed in the Forbes article, like pointing out how Kennedy has asserted that Thorsen is "on the run from Interpol" despite living and working openly in Denmark (or, apparently, not actually being sought by Interpol), as well as the fact that Thorsen contributed to a paper recently published by an institute named for Kennedy's aunt, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Forbes also notes that Kennedy and other anti-vaxxers aren't attacking Thorsen's research into things not related to vaccines and autism.

Kennedy also ignores Forbes' key argument: "If the charges are true, Thorsen bilked the US government, specifically the CDC, out of millions and used it to buy himself things. How that translates into a willingness to engage in a conspiracy with the CDC remains elusive."

But Kennedy's ability to rant to obfuscate the fact he's not actually responding to the issue shows that he has learned well from his new buddies at WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EDT

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