Joel Hirschhorn Misinforms Again
The WorldNetDaily columnist mixes his continued COVID misinformation with his continued bizarre vendetta against Anthony Fauci.
By Terry Krepel
One of many COVID pandemic falsehoods is that if people just get vaccinated, all will be well for the individual and the nation. This is pure deceit. Why is the government feverishly spewing out this message? One simple reason, namely to promote even more vaccination. In the fight against vaccine hesitancy and rejection, the government must keep reassuring the public that once you get vaccinated you are home free.
Hirschhorn is lying when he claims that COVID vaccines have claimed "more than 50,000" deaths. He knows he's lying, because he's deliberately misinterpreting federal data on vaccine side effect. Yet he continues to tell the lie, and WND lets him do it. He also linked to an anonymous website purporting to gather data on vaccine side effects but appears to be geared toward dishonestly scaring people out of getting a vaccine. Hirschhorn then tried to blame breakthrough infections on the purported ineffectiveness of the vaccine by citing data from Israel:
Data from other countries also shed light on the problem.
Hirschhorn's source is an article on a far-right website written by one of the most notorious COVID misinformers, quack doc Joseph Mercola, so there's no reason to trust it. But as an honest fact-checker explained, an unvaccinated Israeli was still much more likely to be hospitalized for COVID than someone who is vaccinated.
Hirschhorn spread more vaccine fearmongering in his Aug. 19 column:
Admittedly, people face a difficult decision on whether or not to take an experimental COVID vaccine. So much information tells the ugly story of people who have suffered illness or death because they were not vaccinated. But there are increasing stories of breakthrough infections despite vaccination. Why? Because these vaccines are not working very well.
No, they won't. Remember that it has been found that you're more likely to get a blood clot from a COVID infection than a COVID vaccine.
Hirschhorn went on to cite a "medical research article" published not in a journal but, rather, at a website called Doctors for COVID Ethics -- a shady fringe group that is "demanding the immediate withdrawal of all experimental gene-based COVID-19 vaccines" -- that ranted about "spike protein" from the Pfizer vaccine, calling it "poisonous"; Hirschhorn added, "The strong language used by these doctors is worthy of respect." Actually, one of the authors, Sucharit Bhakdi, is a rabid anti-Semite who has claimed that Jews "learned the evil" from the Nazis, and that Israel is "a living hell."
But it wasn't until nearly the end of his lengthy, fear-filled article that Hirschhorn conceded the truth: "Of course, the risk of getting serious blood clots seems much higher for those who get a serious case COVID-19 then it is for those who get vaccinated. They tend to be acute, near-term impacts amenable to various treatments, though sadly not lifesaving in all cases."
Hirschhorn has been proven wrong too many times to be trusted.
Promoting false claims from dubious Army doc
In his Sept. 27 column, Hirschhorn wrote of Army doctor Theresa Long, whom he praised as "a rare courageous truth-teller willing to jeopardize a military career for the greater good and to try and steer the Department of Defense to policies that protect military personnel from dangerous and unnecessary COVID vaccines and defend our national defense." He then forwarded some of Long's conspiracies as fact:
With regard to the Pfizer vaccine, "One of the primary ingredients of the Lipid Nanoparticle delivery system is ALC 1035." This is a toxic material. It "comprises between 30-50% of the total ingredients." Among a number of serious possible effects is this reality: "Caution: Product has not been fully validated for medical applications. For research use only." Also noted: "Other journals and scientific papers also denote that this particular ingredient has never been used in humans before." The lieutenant colonel correctly notes, "My assessment is that ALC 1035 is a known toxin with little study, specifically restricted to 'research only' and effectively has no prior [medical] use history."
In fact, there is no ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine called ALC 1035. It's a sign of her shoddy work that in a related affidavit she filed in a lawsuit by her fellow anti-vaxxers aiming to stop vaccine mandates in the military in which she repeated this claim, she also calls this phantom ingredient "ALC 0315" and "ALC 3015." In fact, the correct answer is ALC 0315, a lipid that serves as a carrier for the messenger RNA in the vaccine. No legitimate medical source claims the lipid is a "toxic material."
Another ingredient in the vaccine is a known toxic chemical: "Polyethylene Glycol is the active ingredient in antifreeze." There have been countless cases where people have been fatally poisoned with this chemical. This comment by Dr. Long is especially impressive: "I cannot discern what form of alchemy Pfizer and the FDA have discovered that would make antifreeze into a healthful cure to the human body."
Long is lying. The active ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, not polyethylene glycol, which also exists in many other products. Hirschhorn continued:
Another important point is that "Moderna's key ingredient, SM-102 ... is significantly more dangerous than the Pfizer ALC 1035." Noted is that "this Moderna ingredient is deadly."
As a fact-check from an actual news organization detailed, anti-vaxxers are citing a biotech company's fact sheet for its formulation of SM-102 to make this claim. In fact, that formulation is not for human use and is made up of a solution that is 90 percent chloroform, which is toxic; the actual SM-102 itself is not. Hirschhorn continued to write:
Continued Long: "I have also reviewed scientific data and peer reviewed studies that discuss, analyze results and conclude that natural immunity is at least as good if not far superior to any COVID vaccine available at this time." Exactly correct.
This ignores the fact that one has to catch and suffer through COVID in order to gain that "natural immunity." In fact, unvaccinated people are far more likely to die of COVID than vaccinated people, meaning the risk is much greater to remain unvaccinated. But Hirschhorn continued to parrot Long's misinformation anyway:
And here are several correct observations on harmful vaccine impacts: "None of the ordered Emergency Use COVID-19 vaccines can or will provide better immunity than an infection-recovered person [with natural immunity]. All [current] vaccines in the age group and fitness level of my patients are more risky, harmful and dangerous than having no vaccine at all, whether a person is COVID recovered or facing a COVID-19 infection.Hirschhorn concluded: "To sum up, we have a highly educated and credentialed senior military officer stepping up to tell those above her and the public about the major risks of COVID vaccines for military personnel. This physician strongly needs public support in the fight for pandemic truths." The fact that Hirschhorn wants you to trust someone whose claims have been so thoroughly discredited -- and still nonsensically insist she is telling "pandemic truths" -- tells us that Hirschhorn is a quack as well.
Still hating Fauci
Hirschhorn let his anti-Fauci flag fly once again in his Oct. 14 column:
Sometimes it pays to step back in history to understand exactly how something monumental was created. This is the story of how one Big Lie turned our world upside down and ruined the lives of millions of people.
Hirschhorn, it should be noted, has never been a working physician or, it seems, a physician at all -- he calls himself "Dr." but it appears to be a Ph.D. and not an M.D. -- meaning that, by his own definition, he's even less qualified to speak out on public health issues than Fauci. His irrational hatred of Fauci -- remember, he once tried to "indict" Fauci based on a "grand jury" empaneled in his fevered brain -- overshadows any potentially legitimate point he might make.
Of course, Hirschhorn has his own agendas to push, and hating Fauci is only one of them:
COVID was intentionally over-hyped by Anthony Fauci as a very deadly disease to justify the most extreme public health actions. This was the Big Lie. Most valid data now show COVID lethality is similar to that for seasonal flu for the vast majority of people. But accepting that truth would not have justified the array of excessive government actions used for the false pandemic.
Hirschhorn pulls the conspiracy theorist's trick of burying said conspiracy theories in a bunch of numbers to make them appear more plausible to people susceptible to be baffled by this blizzard of BS. Which, of course, makes him a perfect WND columnist.
Citing discredited hacks
In his Oct. 28 column, Hirschhorn insisted that the official number of deaths from COVID are overblown:
In other words, many people, especially the elderly, could have died with COVID but not from COVID. They may have died from their underlying medical problems and weakened immune system more than effects directly associated with COVID infection. Some die because they have been given the very expensive approved drug remdesivir that causes acute liver and kidney problems and has a death rate of over 25%. Yet their deaths go into the COVID death column.
In fact, remdesivir is not killing people, and patients must undergo kidney and liver tests prior to treatment to make sure it is safe for them. Hirschhorn is simply repeating that false claim to fearmonger about treatment. Later in his column, Hirschhorn wrote:
Receiving major attention on alternative news sites in October 2021 are the views of Dr. Joseph Mercola that will now be summarized. He has been a strong proponent for explaining non-infection deaths on the basis of COVID vaccines.
The fact that Hirschhorn is treating anything from a documented quack like Mercola seriously is a reason to never take Hirschhorn seriously. Hirschhorn then wrote:
The September 2021 study "Government's Own Data Reveals that at Least 150,000 Probably DEAD in U.S. Following COVID-19 Vaccines," by Jessica Rose and Mathew Crawford, is the most detailed and impressive effort to determine vaccine deaths. It has been criticized by FDA: "Although under reporting is a limitation in VAERS, with regard to COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring, there currently is not evidence to suggest it would underestimate the amount of COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths to such a large degree." This author disagrees with FDA. Here is the official view of CDC: "'Underreporting' is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events." As you will see below, the 150,000 figure for vaccine deaths is a low, conservative estimate.
An actual fact-checker talked to actual government experts, who ruled the study bogus:
An FDA spokesperson told Reuters in an email that it “strongly disagrees” with the analysis put forth in the report.
Hirschhorn went on to write:
Lastly, it is relevant to note what the eminent medical researcher Dr. Judy Mikovits has said. Her medical science credentials are impeccable, including a long stint at the National Cancer Institute. Her views may seem extreme to some people, but they are based on a deep scientific understanding and are consistent with the highly frightening forecasts of other scientists and physicians.
Hirschhorn then fearmongered about booster shots: "Since the start of the third booster shot on July 30, the COVID death rate in Israel has been reported to have jumped from about .15 to 3.5 per million in early September. Is it possible that a similar negative impact will happen in the U.S.?" In fact, severe cases of COVID among vaccinated people declined after they received a booster shot.
Hirschhorn pushed his usual, unsupported claims about how "Public health officials failed to promote early wide use of generics and foolishly pushed mass vaccination that has not proven effective. The former could have prevented over 600,000 infection deaths."
The misinfo continues
The torrent of COVID misinformation from Hirschhorn continued in his Nov. 16 column, in which he continued to insist that mRNA-based COVID vaccines are actually gene therapy, and the government is lying by calling them vaccines:
The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, once was a federal agency that nearly everyone respected. That no longer is the case. Now there are many reasons why the CDC should be widely disrespected. With over 10,000 Americans dying weekly from COVID-19, the CDC is not protecting public health. Its latest debacle is how it changed the definition of "vaccine."
Again: mRNA vaccines are not gene therapy because they do not alter your genes.
Hirschhorn ranted against vaccines again in his Nov. 23 column:
Big Government, Big Pharma and Big Media have colluded to keep pushing mass COVID vaccination despite all the evidence that it is not stopping spread of the virus. High vaccination rates are not producing good results in many counties, states and countries.
Hirschhorn went on to reference one of his favorite COVID misinformers, "the eminent Dr. Peter McCullough," as well as Steve Kirsch, another misinformer who rants against vaccines and pushes dubious treatments like hydroxychloroquine. He continued to rant:
The government keeps the pandemic alive by pushing high numbers of cases, though these are not very meaningful medically speaking. They are not accurate measures of serious COVID infection. PCR testing is commonly manipulated to yield positive results by running the test beyond 25 cycles. That manipulation promotes vaccination. But positive tests say little about whether the infection is serious, which it is not for nearly all people. We approach 50 million cases in the U.S., but only about 1.6% are COVID deaths (mostly for elderly people).
In his Dec. 3 column, Hirschhorn rushed to embrace the analysis of "esteemed senior French scientist Dr. Jacques Fantini" regarding the Omicron variant -- even though its existence had only been made public just a few days earlier and much of the news coverage was speculative:
A review of studies found unequivocally that COVID vaccines do not stop viral transmission, with no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. So, all real-world evidence is that omicron cannot be effectively addressed by COVID vaccines. Together with Fantini's work, the proper conclusion it that omicron will not be very transmissible nor be more infective than delta.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Omicron proved to be much more transmissible than even the Delta variant and rapidly became the dominant variant in the U.S.
In his Dec. 8 column, he hyped a study claiming that high levels of vitamin D could help fight off a COVID infection. While the study appears to be legitimate, other studies have found different results. But because Hirschhorn is a conspiracist at heart, he began his column by huffing that "There seems to be an endless refusal by the public health establishment to fight the pandemic with the best science-based tools. Instead, they keep pushing vaccines" -- as if vaccines were a bad thing -- then went on to rant:
As the U.S. approaches 800,000 COVID-related deaths it is reasonable to believe that perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had strongly supported vitamin D blood testing and supplementation if needed. But in the absence of such a COVID policy, people have good reasons to use D supplements if they are not routinely exposed to sunlight without using sunscreen products.
That's what happens when you put conspiracy theories ahead of sound medicine.
Hirschhorn spent his Jan. 24 column complaining about various approved treatments for COVID recommended by the National Institutes of Health, whining that "What our government is telling physicians is just plain idiotic." He particularly lashed out the antiviral molnupiravir, which he called "absolutely ludicrous" and claimed "has a terrible level of effectiveness and that has not been proven safe. An absolutely awful choice." Back in October, Hirschhorn falsely claimed the molnupiravir was nothing more than a copy of ivermectin.
Speaking of ivermectin, Hirschhorn is still carrying a torch for that dubious drug (which, by the way, is not an antiviral):
What is most obscene about what NIH tells doctors is that it still refuses to include ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine as treatment options. It ignores the extremely successful treatment protocols of front-line doctors like Dr. Fareed and Dr. Zelenko that do not include any of the four NIH preferences.
Hirschhorn has censored the fact that the studies he cites have serious issues. Regarding the first study -- actually a meta-analysis, or a summary of other studies -- some of the studies cited were not peer-reviewed, the higher-quality studies did not show ivermectin to be effective, and the researchers are affiliated with a pro-ivermectin group. The second study has flaws as well, lacking basic information on its participants or even exactly who was or was not taking ivermectin; also, two of its authors received funding from an ivermectin manufacturer, a major conflict of interest.
Hirschhorn's name-drops are of Vladimir Zelenko, an early promoter of the dubious drug hydroxychloroquine whom WND embraced early, and George Fareed, who along with fellow doctor Brian Tyson developed an ivermectin-centric treatment plan that's getting promotion in the right-wing circles Hirschhorn hangs out in but which other doctors have disavowed.
Nevertheless, Hirschhorn concluded his column by ranting at the NIH and Fauci (italics are his):
What a waste of U.S. taxpayer money is this evil and criminal Fauci organization.Speak for yourself, Joel.