Fake News At WND: Coronavirus Edition, Part 2
WorldNetDaily is still publishing falsehoods and misinformation about COVID and its vaccines, as if it believes that's not contributing to its continuing financial crisis.
By Terry Krepel
Let's look at some of the more egregious examples of false and otherwise bogus COVID information WND has published in recent months.
Promoting discredited and retracted studies
An anonymously written July 4 WND article stated:
Those mask mandates imposed for the COVID pandemic could be hurting kids, and the vaccines could be killing them, according to a new Just the News report that cites several medical journals and studies.
WND soft-pedaled questions about the Vaccines study, stating only in the final paragraph of the article that "The publication days after releasing the results expressed doubts about what it documented, and said it was investigating." In fact, the fallout has been much more devastating.
Several vaccinaologists and virologists resigned from the journal's editorial staff in the wake of the study, with one of them pointing out that "The data has been misused because it makes the (incorrect) assumption that all deaths occurring post vaccination are caused by vaccination." It was also noted that none of the paper’s authors is trained in vaccinology, virology, or epidemiology. The journal retracted the paper on July 2 -- two days before the WND article was published -- agreeing that data was misinterpreted. Fact-checkers have noted how the highly flawed paper is being used by anti-vaxxers (like, you know, WND) to spread fear about COVID vaccines.
Again, all this happened before WND's article was published -- meaning that WND was simply too lazy to do any actual reporting and just copied-and-pasted the 3-day-old report from the dubious right-wing operation Just the News. As of this writing, the WND article has not been corrected, and there's no correction anywhere else on the website.
But there's someone else that comes off just as bad, which WND also copied from the Just the News report:
Jane Orient, chief of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said the Vaccine paper "is an excellent and much needed analysis."
Yeah, that didn't age well. Neither has the idea that WND wants people to pay for the privilege of reading such shoddy journalism.
Oh, about the other study promoted in the article, which claimed that the carbon dioxide levels in the inhaled of masked German schoolchildren? That one's been retracted too, though after publication of the WND article:
In the retraction notice, the journal editors cited "numerous scientific issues," that also included questions over the applicability of the CO2 measurement device and the validity of the study conclusions.
So WND went 0-for-2 on bogus reporting in a single article. Needless to say, it has not told this to its readers. Instead, it also promoted the bogus German study in a July 9 article by Bob Unruh.
Repeating the VAERS lie
Art Moore wrote in a July 13 article:
In a span of one week, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 vaccines reported to the government's database outnumbered the official count of deaths due to the virus.
Moore is lying -- well, more accurately, he's repeating the lies of the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit. We've pointed out before that reports of deaths reported to VAERS does not mean the vaccines caused the death. Unlike Moore and Gateway Pundit, we'll go straight to the source, with the important part in bold:
FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.
The fact that Moore chose to trust a website known for pushing bogus conspiracy theories and has been repeatedly discredited instead of actual authorities on COVID tells you all you need to know about whether WND itself should be trusted. (It shouldn't.)
Misleading about Sweden
Moore struck again in a July 22 article:
Last year, London's Guardian newspaper called Sweden's laissez-faire approach to the coronavirus pandemic generally allowing the coronavirus to run its course while the population reaches herd immunity a "catastrophe" in the making, while CBS News said the Scandinavian nation had become "an example of how not to handle COVID-19."
You will not be surprised to learn that this claim is misleading as well. PolitiFact looked into claims about Sweden and found they were not quite as rosy as right-wingers love to portray it:
In April 2020, in the weeks after the outbreak was declared a pandemic, we looked at two claims that touted Sweden’s more hands-off approach as superior to lockdown policies imposed in Europe and the U.S. We found that infection rate cited in one of these claims was not a reliable indicator of how a country was doing, given that it depended on how much testing was being done; and that Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate was higher than two of its neighbors.
So Moore didn't tell the truth about this either. Is anyone surprised?
Promoting anti-vaxxer conference
An anonymously written Aug. 3 WND article touted:
Information the media are withholding or distorting about the COVID-19 vaccine, masks and other controversial topics is the subject of an online townhall conference that took place Wednesday and can be viewed via Rumble.
WND won't tell you, but this is a rogue's gallery of COVID misinformers. The host, LifeSiteNews, was suspended and later removed from Facebook for spreading COVID misinformation. McCullough is a WND favorite, publishing his dangerous misinformation as if it was the truth. The other attendees have a history of COVID misinformation and denialism as well.
Yeadon is a former scientist and executive at Pfizer, which co-developed one of the COVID vaccines, who helped spread the never-proven claim that the vaccines cause infertility in women. (You know what else is affecting pregnant women? COVID.)
Byrne is a pro-Trump nun and former surgeon who has promoted the use of dubious medicines such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat COVID and has pushed the idea that people should refuse COVID vaccines because they were developed using fetal tissue descended from an abortion. In fact, the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute has stated that most COVID vaccines do not use fetal cell lines in their production, though some were used during testing of some vaccines.
Renz is a highly litigious anti-vaxxer who WND had previously touted alleging a "massive government cover-up of vaccination-related U.S. deaths" --which deliberately misuses federal data on vaccine side effects.
And Vliet, of course, is a longtime medical misinformer and WND favorite affiliated with the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She has been heavily pushing hydroxychloroquine, citing questionable studies to boost its credibility.
Also: it's quite funny that the article was illustrated with a picture of President Biden, even though the vaccines all of these right-wingers are railing against were developed under President Trump.
Misinfo too good to fact-check
Bob Unruh wrote in an Aug. 10 WND article:
An Indiana physician has delivered a stunning scolding to his local school board for listening to the "counterfactual" propaganda being delivered to America by the Centers for Disease Control about the COVID-19 virus that appeared out of a Chinese lab in Wuhan.
This was all too good for Unruh to fact-check, given that Stock's claims are in line with WND's conspiracy-driven editorial agenda. Actual, responsible journalists who fact-checked Stock, however, found his claims filled with misinformation:
Unruh offered no explanation as to why he refused to act like a journalist and fact-check Stock when many other actual journalists did.
But COVID misinformation, not facts, is what fuels WND these days, and the load of hooey served up by Stock -- who's a right-winger who took part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- is right up WND's alley. Never mind that it's this kind of misinformation that has kept WND on the edge of financial failure for the past three-plus years.
Reprinting bogus story
WND has repeatedly depicted reports of vaccine side effects to the government's VAERS database as fact-based, verifiable and indisputable when no report has been verified and the VAERS database itself clearly states that "the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not imply causality." Still, WND apparently believes such fearmongering it too good to fact-check as long as it makes people click on its work. Thus, we have an anonymously written Sept. 13 article peddling the same bogus story:
The U.S. government database that keeps track of deaths from vaccine side effects has exploded by 10-fold since the advent of COVID-19, and the experimental vaccines that have been developed in response.
Also of note is that the story's link to the Beltway Report story redirects to the Beltway Report front page. That's because the story has been deleted. The original story was published on Sept. 13, the day of WND's regurgitation of it, written under the name of "Jack Crane," a bland enough name with a bland enough bio to be little else but a pseudonym. But according to the Internet Archive, it had been deleted by Sept. 22, and it has disappeared from "Crane's" story archive. No explanation could be found on the Beltway Report as to why it was deleted.
Could it be that one of the most unreliable websites out there decided that a story was so egregiously bogus that it was shamed into deleting it? And why doesn't WND -- which is similarly unreliable -- feel the same way?
Parroting a COVID misinformer
An employee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has presented video recordings to Project Veritas of colleagues privately voicing alarm about the safety of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, alleging a cover-up of "evil at the highest level."
Because Moore doesn't bother to fact-check anything that aligns with his anti-vaxxer views, it was up to an actual news organization to look into O'Malley's claims:
Claims that no reports are being made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System are misleading. The system, which currently contains more than 720,000 reports, was set up for early warning purposes and may contain “incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable” information. Through the system, health regulators such as the CDC and the FDA analyze data to identify serious vaccine-related adverse effects, such as the rare occurrence of myocarditis.
That organization also hinted at O'Malley's possible motivation -- a cash grab to justify pushing her fringe beliefs:
A crowdfunding page for O’Malley appeared on GiveSendGo, a Christian fundraising site, and has since raised over $417,000. “Now that she has boldly stepped into the limelight and exposed corruption in our Federal Healthcare system she is facing an uncertain future,” reads the call to donate.
Moore's claim that a study in Uttar Pradesh proved the effectiveness of ivermectin as a COVID treatment isn't true either. As an actual medical fact-checker pointed out:
Likewise, the Ivermectin recommendation didn’t necessarily cause the current drop in COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, which can be due to other factors. In an article for The Conversation, epidemiologist Rajib Dasgupta explained that the sharp decline in COVID-19 cases in June 2021 might be due to the high proportion of previously infected individuals, combined with COVID-19 vaccination and increased testing.
But those inconvenient facts doesn't fit WND's preferred narrative, so it's Moore's job to censor it.