ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

WND's Fake News About Measles

The anti-vaxxers at WorldNetDaily have long railed against the measles vaccine -- until a measles outbreak occurred in a Somali-American community, which WND suddenly decided to blame on Islam.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/21/2017

WorldNetDaily has long been a friend to anti-vaccine activists, even as the entire anti-vaxxer movement has been repeatedly discredited.

WND has shown particular ire for the measles vaccines, by itself or the MMR form that also vaccinates against mumps and whooping cough. For example, as ConWebWatch documented, dubious doctor Lee Hieb falsely claimed that there were more recent deaths from the measles vaccine than from measles itself, which ignored that 1) reported adverse reactions to vaccines are not necessarily directly attributable to the vaccine itself, and 2) the reason there have been no deaths from measles in the past 12 years in the U.S. is because the measles vaccine exists and has been widely used. Another dubious WND doc, Jane Orient, refused to accept universal medical wisdom that the measles vaccine doesn't cause autism, insisting, "Not everyone is convinced by the studies that fail to show a vaccine link."

WND even went into denial mode about measles outbreaks. An October 2016 article by Bob Unruh said of a 2014-2015 measles outbreak linked to visits to Disneyland affecting 125 people, a significant number of whom were unvaccinated: "No outbreak ever existed."

And on April 25, WND published a lengthy anti-vaccine rant by "medical researcher and author" Bill Sardi, in which he insisted that recent measles outbreaks have occurred largely among vaccinated people, not the unvaccinated, and that "pro-vaccine advocates do not hold the high scientific ground in the battle over whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate school-age children."

But, apparently, there's one thing that WND hates more than vaccines, and that's Muslims.

Three days after publishing Sardi's anti-vaccine rant, resident WND Islamophobe Leo Hohmann wrote in an April 28 WND article, under the clickbait headline "Quran blamed in new U.S. disease outbreak":

An outbreak of measles is sweeping through a community of Somali refugees in Minnesota and the growing number of cases may be starting to test the limits of the Hennepin County healthcare system.

According to reports from the health commissioner’s office, there are now 30 cases of children in Hennepin County who have been diagnosed with measles, and 28 of them are Somali children who have not been vaccinated. All of the cases involve children 5 years of age and younger.


Measles were declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, But Minnesota and other states see sporadic cases, typically linked to international travel and the influx of Third World refugees and asylum seekers.

At no point in his article does Hohmann specifically make the headline's claim that the Quran says not to vaccinate people. He does, however, quote anti-Muslim activist Andrew Bostom citing a random Muslim cleric, Majid Katme, expressing anti-vaccine views.

But blogger Richard Bartholomew pointed out that not only is Hohmann falsely conflating refugees with the Americans of Somali descent where the outbreak took place, anti-vaxxer Katme is actually on the same side that WND has historically been:

Further, in 2007 WND‘s tie-in print publication Whistleblower ran a special issue on “Scary Medicine: Exposing The Dark Side of Vaccines”. Contributors included one Dr Sherri Tenpenny, who is on the board of directors of the “International Medical Council on Vaccination”. The council has a website, which includes among its resources ... the very screed by Majid Katme quoted by Hohmann and Bostom!

Further, it turns out that the outbreak was not Islam-mandated after all. The Washington Post reported that anti-vaxxer activists repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield -- a disbarred doctor whose claims linking vaccines and autism have been thoroughly discredited -- to speak to residents in the Somali community in Minneapolis and spread his anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories.

WND has promoted Wakefield's discredited claims as recently as 2016, when columnist Barry Farber touted the anti-vaxxer film made by "distinguished research gastroenterologist" Wakefield and likened vaccine defenders to "the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito." WND's Bob Unruh later regurgitated Farber's praise for Wakefield in an article defending a woman who opposed vaccinating her children on religious grounds.

The Post also noted that anti-vaxxer activist Mark Blaxill also spoke to the Somali community in Minnesota. Blaxill's work was approvingly cited in a 2015 column by Robert Kennedy Jr., who wrote a series of anti-vaccine columns for WND around that time.

In other words, WND's own anti-vaxxer fellow travelers -- not Islam or the Quran -- are responsible for creating this measles outbreak. Hohmann simply created fake news by fearmongering about Muslims for something his own side did.

Not that WND has any intention to report that truth to its readers, of course. An anonymously written May 10 article updated the numbers in the outbreak, but it rehashed the same bogus talking points Hohmann did -- namely, blaming Islam itself for it and repeating Bostom's baseless attack citing the random anti-vaxxer Muslim cleric.

WND again failed to acknowledge that its anti-vaxxer friends had been lobbying the Somali community. Nor did it explain how its concern over this story jibes with its previous anti-vaxxer advocacy.

In fact -- contrary to the assertions by Hohmann, Bostom and WND -- Muslim clerics are eager to counteract anti-vaccine misinformation in the Somali community. A community outreach coordinator for a children's hospital system in Minnesota says, "One of the imams, and I'm paraphrasing, he said, 'If you don't immunize, it's like killing the Muslim children.' I think that's such strong messaging."

But you won't read about that at WND either. Its anti-Muslim message comes first, before even the truth.

Apparently, at WND it's OK to like vaccines only if you can blame unvaccinated Muslims for ruining it for all the other anti-vaxxers.

This entire narrative is dishonest journalism in the extreme. But does anyone expect anything less from the fake-news generation machine that is WND?

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2017 Terry Krepel