WND Exploits A Tragedy To Push Conspiracy Theories
While WorldNetDaily used the on-field collapse of NFL player Damar Hamlin to promote the power of prayer, it also cynically hyped the never-proven claim that the collapse was caused by a COVID vaccine.
By Terry Krepel Posted 4/17/2023
When NFL player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a game, WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh ghoulishly capitalized on it to promote his employer's conspiratorial and misinformation-laden anti-vaxx narrative in a Jan. 3 article:
It perhaps has not been among most days' top headlines that dozens, no, hundreds of young healthy athletes have simply collapsed while competing in their sports over the past year.
They frequently are diagnosed as the victims of cardiac arrest and their average age is 23.
And the heart issues are coinciding directly with the rollout of the experimental COVID-19 shots that governments around the globe have been mandating.
But when such a collapse occurs on live TV, during a National Football League game between playoff contenders, there's much more alarm.
The Epoch Times reported Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night after making a tackle.
While Hamar's vaccination status was not known, and was not necessarily public anyway, a report at the Gateway Pundit noted the fact that "athletes across the world have been dropping life flies as they compete in games."
The Gateway Pundit is a fetid fount of lies and conspiracy theories, and the Epoch Times is loaded with COVID misinformation, so Unruh (further) discredits himself and WND by citing them.
Anti-vaxx conspiracist weighs in
WND columnist Jane Orient of the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has bought into the conspiracy theory that people -- particularly athletes -- are dropping dead because of the COVID vaccine. Orient made sure to shoehorn Hamlin's collapse into her conspiracy, writing in her Jan. 5 column:
Millions of people saw Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapse on the football field on Jan. 2. He was tackled, fell down and at first stood up. Even to aficionados of the sport, this looked no different from what usually happens throughout the game. But then his heart stopped, and he collapsed. At this moment, Hamlin is reportedly in critical condition despite vigorous CPR on the field. In all likelihood, his promising career is over.
There is an outpouring of sympathy for this young man and his family, suddenly struck by a terrible tragedy. And also a flood of social media posts from both sides of the political narrative: It must have been the COVID shot, or the "safe and effective" COVID shot had nothing to do with it.
People are learning from well-polished presentations about commotio cordis, an extremely rare event. A sudden impact to the chest throws the heart into a fatal rhythm disturbance. Classically, it occurs in young boys not wearing protective gear who get hit in the chest with a baseball or similar projectile traveling around 40 mph not an older, well-protected football players. Still, Hamlin did get hit in the chest.
By now, people have noticed that a lot of athletes have been collapsing on the field, and a high percentage of them die. Many are not even engaged in contact sports. Sudden death when engaged in strenuous activity that triggers a surge of adrenalin is not new. Certain congenital heart conditions, such as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, predispose to it, and aspiring athletes should be carefully screened for this. There are also several possibilities for which screening is not ordinarily done.
Is sudden death occurring more commonly, or is it just getting more attention?
Of course, Orient offered no proof that the former is happening; the real situation is the latter, fed by anti-vaxx conspiracy theorists like her.
Even though Orient offered no proof whatsoever that what happened to Hamlin had anything to do with a vaccine, she demanded that we get "serious about avoiding future tragedies in case the COVID shots just might play a role" through things like "Suspend[ing] further injections until damage from the shots can be ruled out" and doing "a study that screens a large population of vaccine recipients with cardiac enzymes (troponins), ultrasound, and MRI to check for inflammation." She concluded by invoking another conspiracy: "Which, after all, is more important: the hearts of our people, or the profits of the vaccine purveyors?"
Orient tried to exploit Hamlin's condition for her conspiratorial cause again in her Jan. 24 column:
Cases like Hamlin's, however, may be the stimulus for very important research. It is not only that the spectacular collapse of an NFL star or other celebrity attracts a lot of sensational media coverage. It's not just the individual tragedies. The actual number of cases is increasing at such a disturbing rate that the public is finally noticing it.
A surge of adrenalin with extraordinary exertion may trigger the fatal rhythm disorder. A surge of hormones just before awakening might explain how young people die in their beds. But what makes the heart's electrical system more irritable?
The current spike in reports of SCD just happens to coincide with push to get everybody injected with COVID-19 vaccines. Although your vaccination status must be made known to ticket takers at a concert, it seems to be too sensitive to include in news reports on sudden cardiac death.
What can impair your heart's electrical system? The differential diagnosis includes trauma, a congenital (birth) defect, infection, inflammation, autoimmune damage, toxic effect and drug effect. Damage from the spike protein that COVID injections cause your body to make, and/or the immune response to it, is a plausible mechanism. How to demonstrate it? Patients who die should have an autopsy, with tissue preserved for tests, such as histopathological staining or chemical analysis for toxins, that may become available later. An autopsy should be standard in all unexpected deaths, but is rarely done, for financial reasons. This should be a priority for SCD research funding.
The COVID products are so different that some say they should not be called vaccines. However, all vaccines affect the immune system, by design. Immunology is extremely complex, varies greatly in individuals and is not well understood.
Instead of speculating about climate change, gas stoves, minuscule increases in dust particles in the air, 5G, plastic bottles, etc., let's try to find an answer to an age-old but dramatically increasing problem.
Again, Orient couldn't be bothered to offer any actual evidence there's any link between vaccines and Hamlin's collapse. But then, fearmongering about vaccines is the point, and actual evidence would complicate her agenda.
Actually, it's more than a story; it's a miracle. But it's also a sin. Because it could have been and should have been what former President Barack Obama called "a teachable moment." Hamlin could have used his 15 minutes of fame to save millions of lives. His testimony could have destroyed the lies and propaganda of the COVID-19 vaccine scam once and for all.
Hamlin is the NFL player who literally dropped dead of cardiac arrest right on the football field, during a Monday Night Football game, with millions watching, back on Jan. 2.
The great news, the miracle of this story, is that Hamlin did not die. He was technically dead on that field, but the medical professionals on the scene brought him back to life twice. Thank God for these brilliant doctors, nurses and medical personnel who saved his life. I'm thrilled for him. I thank God he's alive and doing well. I wish him well.
But here is where the story takes a turn. Hamlin was being interviewed recently on "Good Morning America" and was asked by host Michael Strahan about how this could happen to a 24-year-old world-class athlete in peak shape. Damar's answer was, "That's something I'm going to stay away from."
I'm an opinion guy. I am paid to give my opinions on national TV, national radio and in nationally syndicated newspaper columns. My opinion is that Hamlin's heart attack was a vaccine injury. I'm not alone. Millions of Americans think the exact same thing. I talk about the things out loud that most people whisper about. Twenty-four-year-old world-class athletes have never suffered massive heart attacks until this vaccine.
Here's the thing. Damar Hamlin is now a celebrity. People know his name across the country. Hamlin is a walking miracle. Everyone listens when people like that speak. Hamlin had an opportunity to end this vaccine madness once and for all. But he chose silence.
Why do I think Hamlin is vaccinated? Well, the NFL boasts that 95% of NFL players are vaccinated, as well as 100% of NFL coaches and personnel. Since Hamlin almost died on that field in January, I've spoken to several current and former NFL players. They all believe Hamlin's heart attack was a vaccine injury. They're all scared to death. They feel like walking time bombs. But they're all afraid to speak publicly. They believe the NFL would ruin their careers.
Hamlin could have saved millions of lives by speaking up. America wants to know. We have a right to know. Our lives are on the line, too.
Root then piled another conspiracy theory on top of that, claiming without evidence that the drug industry bought Hamlin's silence:
Did Big Pharma perhaps pay for Hamlin's silence? It's a valid question. The odds are Hamlin can never play football again which means he has no way to earn a living.
But a 20- or 30-million-dollar paycheck from Big Pharma could set Hamlin and his relatives up for life. Big Pharma has made hundreds of billions off the vaccines. They don't want the gravy train to stop. Paying Hamlin $30 million for his silence is a drop in the bucket. It's like me taking $1 out of my wallet.
The jig is almost up. Very few Americans are falling for the lies probably because almost every American knows someone who has very possibly been injured by or died from the vaccine. As a result, very few Americans want the booster.
Hamlin's testimony would have badly damaged Big Pharma. Admitting his heart attack was a COVID-19 injury would have been the straw that broke the camel's back. No one would ever want the vaccine again. Big Pharma's stock prices would have collapsed. That's why I believe Big Pharma had to buy his silence. That's just my opinion.
I believe this COVID-19 vaccine is a killer a heart attack machine. Something is wrong. World-class 24-year-old athletes don't have massive heart attacks. Damar Hamlin's silence speaks volumes. We all know what's happening. I just wish Hamlin had the courage to speak the truth. He could have ended this madness once and for all. He could have gone from hero ... to legend.
WND columnists got in on the action as well to hitch it to their own agendas. Bob Just wrote in his Jan. 4 column:
Most of the country, young and old, started seeing those video clips of the whole Buffalo team kneeling at midfield to pray for Damar Hamlin, the Bills' 24-year-old safety. Of course, millions of Americans had watched live as this moment of faith unfolded.
America started praying. Even an on-air ESPN host stopped to pray with his media colleagues. Important things became very clear, and the unimportant disappeared.
Along with the images of men kneeling in prayer, I was touched by seeing a black player (Tre'Davious White) hugging a white player (Mitch Morse), both grieving for their young teammate, now with his whole future in question, not to mention his life.
Different images from earlier NFL games came to mind pictures of a different kind of kneeling, players "taking a knee" in angry protest. For many Americans this only made the anger worse, the pain deeper and racial division wider.
Actually, taking a knee was not an "angry protest" -- it was a silent one designed to make a statement about the way non-white people have been treated in this country. If such a silent protest made "racial division wider," it's likely because there's still more reckoning to do. he then turned to claim that the prayers for Hamlin were a racial unifier:
In fact, we don't see the best example of "antiracism" right in front of us Christians of all races and ethnicities doing what they do every day, working together to improve their communities, whether making up Christmas boxes of food for needy families or just doing their best to love their neighbors and be responsible citizens.
The impact of millions of Christians from all walks of life and of every race working and praying together is America's best kept secret, thanks to the media. But now more than ever we need inspiring examples of racial harmony. They are everywhere if we'd only look.
Michael Brown glommed onto to the incident as well in his Jan. 9 column:
Around the nation, in response to the life-threatening injury to Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin, people prayed. Hamlin's teammates and coaches prayed. Millions of fans joined in prayer, tweeting their support. Even on live TV, sports commentators stopped in the middle of their broadcast to pray.
But this is only natural. During times of crisis, especially life and death crisis, people turn to God.
We know the situation is grave, we know we cannot change things ourselves, and we know that only God an all-powerful being who cares can turn the tide.
That's why, at such times, people do not turn to atheism. They turn to God.
Two days later, Brown called for exploiting the tragedy for evangelism purposes (while of course denying he's being trying to do that):
All this is good and positive, and in many ways, this could be just the beginning of a beautiful redemptive story.
But there are certainly more things we should be praying for when it comes to Hamlin and the NFL, specifically, the spiritual condition of the men and women who are praying and talking about faith.
Do they all know the Lord personally and intimately? Have they been transformed by His love and grace? Are they followers of Jesus or simply people who recognize that, in times of crisis, we need to look to God?
To be clear, I do not ask these questions in a critical or condemning way. That's the last thought on my mind.
May the open show of spirituality that has suddenly emerged across the country, receiving widespread praise rather than criticism, continue to grow until millions have come to know Jesus for themselves.
Bob Unruh wrote a Jan. 31 article touting Hamlin's recovery to exploit prayer:
Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on live television a few weeks ago. Emergency services responded, he was hospitalized and he's recovering.
There were many people who openly called for prayer for him.
Now, a Western Journal report has revealed he credits God for "using him as a vessel" during that process.
Now there's a new poll that shows two-thirds of the survey's respondents said public calls for prayer are effective.
The polling, by Summit.org, in partnership with McLaughlin and Associates, surveyed 1,000 likely general election voters Jan. 19-23.
"This poll reveals that public calls to prayer after Damar Hamlin’s collapse from cardiac arrest on national television and through his miraculous healing have, at least for the moment, brought Americans together across the partisan divide," explained Jeff Myers, president of Summit.org.
"Prominent members of the NFL community and sports commentators were led to publicly pray for Damar, and that resonated with the vast majority of Americans."
Unruh reverted to conspiracy-theory form, however, in a Feb. 14 article framing a Hamlin non-answer about what he thinks the cause of his cardiac arrest was as proof it was caused by a COVID vaccine:
On the critical question of what caused his cardiac arrest, however, he was silent.
Asked by Strahan, Hamlin responded with a loooong pause.
Then another looong pause.
Eventually, he says, "That's something I want to stay away from."
Of course, multitudes of young and athletic men and boys across America have been reporting heart issues and some have been dying after they have taken the experimental COVID-19 shots that have been linked to myocarditis, and other heart ailments.
Newsweek reported his interview "provoked a flurry of new conspiracy theories on social media as to whether the COVID-19 vaccine was to blame for Hamlin's collapse and medical attention."
"It's quite clear that the reason Damar Hamlin won't disclose what nearly killed him is because what nearly killed him was the COVID-19 vaccine," tweeted One America News Network host Addison Smith.
Needless to say, Unruh did not back up his claim that "multitudes" of "young and athletic men and boys" have heart issues from COVID vaccines.