Robert F. Kennedy, Jr: Flu Misinformation and Coronavirus Fears

April 17, 2020

Flu Misinformation and Coronavirus Fears: My Letter to Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dear Sanjay,

Last week, your CNN producer, Matthew Reynard, notified me that CNN is featuring me in a documentary about “vaccine misinformation”. As usual, Mr. Reynard did not point out a single factual assertion by me that was incorrect (I carefully source all of my statements about vaccines to government databases or peer-reviewed publications). CNN uses the term “vaccine misinformation” as a euphemism for any statement that departs from the Government / Pharma orthodoxy that all vaccines are safe, necessary, and effective for all people.

I respectfully point out that CNN and particularly you, Sanjay, are today among the most prolific broadcasters of ‘vaccine misinformation.’

I have always admired you, Sanjay. Your obvious talents aside, you seem to be genuinely compassionate and to value integrity. Earlier in your career, you showed a courageous willingness to challenge Big Pharma’s vaccine orthodoxies. However, I respectfully point out that CNN and particularly you, Sanjay, are today among the most prolific broadcasters of “vaccine misinformation”. Over the last several years, I cannot recall seeing a single substantial CNN segment on vaccines that did not include easily verified factual misstatements. CNN’s recent special, “Pandemic”, was a showcase of erroneous assertions about the flu vaccine. Since I don’t like to think that you deliberately mislead the public—particularly about critical public health choices—I have taken the time to point out some of your most frequent errors.

I hope you will take time to read this. This critique has special relevance during the current coronavirus crisis, not to mention its important implications for the roles of government and press in a democracy. CNN and other media outlets treat CDC, NIH, and WHO pronouncements as infallible truths. In fact, regulatory capture has made these agencies subsidiaries of Big Pharma, and the lies that CDC has been telling us about flu are now muddying the debate over coronavirus.

Furthermore, of the mere 257 cases that could reasonably be blamed on the flu in CDC’s mortality data, only 7 percent were laboratory confirmed cases of influenza.

1. CNN assertion: In your annual flu shot promotions, you routinely parrot CDC’s estimates of overall flu deaths which have ranged in recent years from 36,000 for the 1990-1991 flu season to 80,000 for the 2017-2018 flu season.

Fact: The HHS’s mortality and morbidity data—available on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website—show that CDC’s (and CNN’s) annual estimates are off by orders of magnitude.

NCHS data report the average number of mortalities attributable to influenza on death certificates is little more than 1,000. CDC devises its inflated estimate by deliberately conflating flu deaths with pneumonia deaths. This device is deceitful since most of these fatalities are unrelated to the flu (and therefore, impervious to flu vaccines). In 2005, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Editor, Dr. Peter Doshi, published a comprehensive rebuke of CDC’s annual ritual of exaggerating flu mortalities entitled “Dissecting CDC’s Deception: Are US Flu Death Figures More PR Than Science?” Doshi accuses the CDC of purposefully inflating flu deaths to frighten the public into purchasing vaccines. To illustrate CDC’s chicanery, Doshi observed that CDC’s announced number of reported pneumonia and influenza deaths in 2001 at 62,034. Yet less than half of one percent of those were actually attributed to influenza. Furthermore, of the mere 257 cases that could reasonably be blamed on the flu in CDC’s mortality data, only 7 percent were laboratory confirmed cases of influenza. That’s 18 lab confirmed influenza cases out of 62,034 “pneumonia and influenza” deaths—or just 0.03 percent, according to HHS’s own National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Subtracting pneumonia, the true number of influenza-associated deaths from 1979 to 2002 averaged 1,348, according to the NCHS data. CNN routinely reports figures forty times this number.

Dr. Doshi charges the CDC with deliberately lying about annual flu deaths to “[work] in manufacturers’ interest by conducting campaigns to increase flu vaccination”. He warns that “by arbitrarily linking flu with pneumonia, current data are statistically biased.”

By faithfully parroting CDC inflated numbers—with no due diligence—CNN has made itself complicit in this annual charade, making it difficult now to accurately assess the relative risk of COVID-19 as compared to flu and, therefore, rationally measure an appropriate response.

… 2010 meta-analysis of published influenza vaccine studies found that the influenza vaccination has no effect on hospitalization, and that there is no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications.

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