Thursday, February 27, 2020

Coronavirus conspiracy theories infect social media ...

… and thus infect the few remaining neurons in Trump’s brain.

In the Wednesday morning email Judd Legum (popular.info) alerts us to the spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories.

The effort by Trump and his allies to downplay the threat from the coronavirus has taken a dark and dangerous turn.

… now [Rush] Limbaugh is suggesting that his millions of listeners ignore the warnings of a top CDC official, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, because she is part of a deep state plot to take down Trump.

Limbaugh’s evidence? Messonnier is siblings with Trump’s former Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. When Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Rosenstein was in charge and eventually appointed Bob Mueller, drawing the ire of Trump loyalists.

What does this have to do with Messonnier? Nothing. Messonnier has been working at the CDC for 25 years.

Coronavirus conspiracy theories spread on Facebook, Twitter

Limbaugh is just one part of the right-wing media ecosystem advancing conspiracy theories about Messonnier. Joe Hoft, a prolific pro-Trump propagandist, wrote a piece trashing Messonnier on Gateway Pundit, a conspiracy website.

Hoft claimed the fact that Messonnier held the press conference while Trump was traveling in India was proof that she was out to get Trump.

This was eerily similar to past Presidential trips when former and corrupt DAG Rod Rosenstein and the corrupt and criminal Mueller gang would drop shocking news as the President was overseas…Rosenstein’s Deep State friends, the Democrat Party, regularly schedule hateful events when the President is overseas…Now we know why the CDC was fear-mongering – Dr. Nancy’s brother is Rod Rosenstein. What a sick family and horrible people.

Last month, Facebook announced a policy to “remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.” But that hasn’t stopped the rapid spread of the Gateway Pundit article on Facebook’s platform. Within hours, Hoft’s screed was shared over 750 times.

Trump’s anger

It’s unclear whether Trump is aware of the attacks on Messonnier by Limbaugh, Hoft, and others. But he is a voracious consumer of right-wing media. And, according to CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers, “the president’s anger about the CDC briefing yesterday is focused on Dr. Nancy Messonnier.”

Trump views the coronavirus as a political problem that could threaten his reelection chances by precipitating an economic downturn. Trump was upset that Messonnier’s press conference prompted a stock market sell-off which could rob Trump of a valuable talking point. “Trump has become furious about the stock market’s slide, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking,” The Washington Post reported.

Ousting Messonnier, however, may not be an option. As Popular Information reported on Tuesday, two years ago, Trump fired the people in charge of coordinating responses to global health emergencies and potential pandemics from the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security. Now, the nation faces a potential pandemic with no one in charge.

Trump reaction to the coronavirus spread is not worth a tuppence …

In an attempt to regain control of the narrative, Trump held a rare press conference in the White House Briefing Room on Wednesday evening. He called the administration’s response to the coronavirus, which has been plagued with contradictions and confusion, a “tremendous success.”

… so Trump appointed one Pence.

Trump announced that Vice President Mike Pence would be in charge of the response moving forward. Pence has no apparent medical expertise and, as recently as 2000, questioned whether smoking was deadly. “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill,” Pence wrote.

In a debate during Pence’s campaign for Congress in 2000, Pence reportedly claimed, “there was no causal link medically identifying smoking as causing lung cancer.” That link was established in 1964. As governor of Indiana, Pence presided over “a massive HIV outbreak spurred by public health funding cuts and Pence’s moralistic stance against needle exchanges.”

Trump also said that the “vaccine is coming along quickly,” a false claim he’s made previously, and administration officials were forced to walk back. Later in the press conference, a doctor from the National Institute of Health said that it would be at least a year before a vaccine is available.

Here we go again. Remember the X/AntiX formula? If the objective is to destroy agency X, then appoint a leader who is ferociously AntiX. Trump is pissed at the CDC for warning the American people about the coronavirus and wants to get the stock market back up. Therefore, he appointed Pence who, as quoted above, is not a friend of medical science.

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