Name and shame

Would you buy a cancer cure from this man?

Social media are a cesspool — it’s not so much “social” as it is “manipulative commercial/capitalist propaganda media”. It’s a net of a thousand lies, and Facebook and Google are its eager, willing enablers. It wouldn’t take much to improve it, but they won’t, because they make too much money off frauds and lyin’ politicians.

For example, would you believe that 65% of all the vaccine lies are driven by just 12 people? You can read all the details, but I believe it — there are people who are really good at wielding the megaphone of the internet, and have no other skills or learning at all, and they have an outsized influence. Here are the Disinformation Dozen:

  1. Joseph Mercola
  2. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  3. Ty and Charlene Bollinger
  4. Sherri Tenpenny
  5. Rizza Islam
  6. Rashid Buttar
  7. Erin Elizabeth
  8. Sayer Ji
  9. Kelly Brogan
  10. Christiane Northrup
  11. Ben Tapper
  12. Kevin Jenkins

These are the people responsible for most of the memes and assorted garbage that’s poisoning minds all over the world. Mercola, for instance, has a huge and profitable quack empire, selling supplements and snake oil, and giving away lies for free. In the complete analysis, it goes through each of the twelve and states whether they have active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram…would you believe that Mercola, who has been a notorious quack for decades, is active on all three? He doesn’t get any pushback at all, despite peddling cancer cures that don’t work, as well as claiming that COVID-19 doesn’t exist, but if it does, you can treat it with hydrogen peroxide. He’s been getting filthy rich off this nonsense, which explains why his accounts weren’t instantly yanked.

Kennedy is also active on Facebook and Twitter, but at least he was banned on Instagram.

The Bollingers: active on all three. They’re anti-vaxxers who claim the vaccine kills children.

Tenpenny claims masks don’t help and suffocate wearers. She was banned on Facebook, but still trumpets her noise on Twitter and Instagram.

Islam claims to have beat COVID-19 with chicken soup. Banned from Facebook, still lying on the other media.

Buttar claims that the vaccine will sterilize you. Still active on all three.

Elizabeth claims vaccines are part of a conspiracy theory to make everyone sick. Still active on all three.

Ji claims that the vaccines killed more people than the disease. He’s been kicked off Twitter and Instagram, but is still on Facebook — he runs a snake oil store.

Brogan partners with Ji, and has been booted from Facebook but still babbles on Twitter and Instagram. Nice synergy — between the two of them, they’ve got the big three covered.

Northrup is one of those hydroxychloroquine promoters. Still active on all three.

Tapper is a chiropractor, anti-vaxxer and anti-masker who says stupid things like “There is a total lack of evidence that viruses can live outside the body” — which makes no sense and is not even wrong. Still active on all three.

Jenkins seems to be riding Kennedy’s coattails. Still active on all three.

These twelve people are all using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to spread misinformation, and are doing it with very little complaint from the social media companies. Ban them. Ban them now. I know another dozen will just rise up to take their place, but if they just had real policies against medical quackery that they actually enforced, they could quickly ban those, too.

It’s kind of obvious that the idea of policies that inhibit active fraud on social media are considered a joke by Google and Facebook.


  1. says

    Last year’s June/July issue of Inside the Vatican magazine featured Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on its cover, celebrating him as a hero of the pro-life movement because of his anti-vax activism: “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. talks about his research into the coming Covid-19 vaccines – and why they may be dangerous.” Like he would know, right? Of course, the article includes some mumble-mumble about fetal tissue in research and how evil it is. This is the sort of thing members of my family swallow whole, which is why most of them have shied away from getting vaccinated. Plus voting to re-elect the president who pretends to promote “Christian values” while opposing the fellow Catholic who actually mostly does.

  2. raven says

    97% of recent COVID victims in Israel were not vaccinated – Netanyahu
    “We are in a state of emergency,” the prime minister said.
    By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN FEBRUARY 10, 2021 00:26 Jerusalem Post

    Over 97% of the 1,536 people who died in the last month from COVID-19 had not been vaccinated, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday

    Only 66% of haredim over the age of 60 have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Health Ministry, and only 57% of Arabs. In contrast, 90% of the rest of the public over the age of 60 have received at least their first shot.

    So who wants to be the last American to die from Covid-19 virus?
    Strangely enough, there are tens of milions of volunteers. 20% of the US population won’t get the vaccine.

    Already, many of the Covid-19 virus patients in the ICU’s are Covid-19 virus deniers and antivaxxers. In a few weeks or months, it will be almost all of them.
    In Israel, 97% of the patients dying from Covid-19, weren’t vaccinated.
    A lot of them were their version of fundie xians, the ultra-orthodox.

  3. says

    @4 Raven:

    Important to note that for the Arab population Israel did not start vaccinating most of them until March and are still not vaccinating them in many areas. Their numbers reflect a lack of access.

  4. hemidactylus says

    @4 raven
    Reiterating from what I said on a previous thread: I’m fully vaccinated and learning to trust the vaccine, I want to move on with my life, I wonder if my occasional exposure to CoV2 could boost my immunity somewhat or get my immune system aware of coronavirus epitopic looks, at some point refuseniks are responsible for the consequences of their not getting vaccinated not me and will sink or swim…so let it rip? Or still too soon?

  5. raven says

    Alex Jones Infowars ca. 2009

    The eugenicists are back with their latest program to kill an untold number of people under the cover of the “swine flu pandemic.” If you line up for a vaccination contaminated with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and other toxins — and a possible agent for future cancers designed to decimate world population — you need to have your head examined.

    However, as Ron Paul indicates, you may not have a choice — the government may force you to choose between a toxic vaccine and a FEMA camp.

    Did you know the Swine flu vaccine will kill most of the world’s population?
    As congressman Dr. Ron Paul shows, you won’t have a choice. Get the vaccine or get taken to a FEMA concentration camp.

    This was written about a different vaccine during the Swine flu pandemic of 2009 and is on Alex Jones website.
    Of course, none of this ever happened.
    This is typical of the antivaxxer claims.
    None of them ever happen either.

    The Swine flu vaccine was effective and saved many thousands of lives.

  6. says

    So Simon & Schuster won’t lower themselves to publish Josh Hawley’s book attacking Big Tech, but they’re okay with giving a platform to the nonsense of RFK, Jr. Interesting set of standards.

  7. raven says

    …so let it rip? Or still too soon?

    For my self, I wouldn’t do that.
    IMO, the CDC dropped the mask mandate way too soon and in about the worst way possible.
    This BTW, is the viewpoint of many public health professionals who are at this point, trying very hard not to scream.

    Breakthrough infections from the virus are uncommon but still at 5% or so.
    The vast majority are asymptomatic or mild.
    A few of them are fatal.
    This is an unnecessary risk than I won’t take.

    CDC: of 75 Million Vaccinated People, 5,800 Got COVID-19 … › Science

    Apr 15, 2021 — Fully vaccinated people can get COVID-19, usually a mild case. … CDC: Out of 75 million fully vaccinated Americans, 5,800 got COVID-19, and 74 died …

  8. hemidactylus says

    Refuseniks will eventually become part of the move toward herd immunity…the hard way. There is a much easier way, so if they don’t choose it I have little sympathy for them, though I do for the unfortunate in their midst, family members or others swayed by them or unable to get vaccinated for whatever reason outside their control.

    But if the COVIDiots themselves don’t decide to get immunity the easy way CoV2 will do that for them the hard way. Maybe its time for some harsh sink or swim messaging.

  9. says

    Life’s pretty relaxed when you have no facebook, whatsap, twitter nor instagram account.
    At least I’m spared all this idiocy.

    Talking about “naming and shaming”; most of the listed dozen seem to have a page in the Encyclopedia of American Loons.

  10. hemidactylus says

    @9 raven

    On the previous thread I said I’d still mask as much as reasonable indoors (work, malls, convenience stores). But not on work breaks or common areas and not at peoples houses. Outdoors I think I’ll try to unmask. So I’m not totally reckless. As far as fully vaccinated fatalities that’s at an exceedingly low rate no? I would classify that as acceptable risk.

    I’m kinda OCD so I’m speaking out of false bravado. I’m still washing my hands to the point of chafing. But I see a light at the end of the tunnel (freight train coming my way- Metallica).

  11. raven says

    A lot of public health experts are dismayed by what the CDC just did about masks. The CDC threw away a huge advantage while we are still in the end game for this pandemic.
    In the USA, cases are still high at ca. 40,000 a day and 800/day or so people are still dying.
    They could have waited a few weeks and done a more gradual shift and achieved a lot more.

    These people say it well in a not too long and easy to read article.

    Public health experts: Why we’re going to keep wearing our masks
    Opinion by David Holtgrave and Eli Rosenberg
    Updated 11:59 PM ET, Fri May 14, 2021 CNN

    If you have questions after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared on Thursday that it was safe for Covid-vaccinated persons to cast aside masks and social distancing in outdoor and indoor spaces, with a few exceptions, such as on airplanes and trains and for immunocompromised persons, then you are not alone.

    While we agree that the current vaccines with emergency use authorizations in the US have outstanding effectiveness and should be fully utilized, and that their use makes a great difference in the severity of Covid-19 illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the CDC should better articulate the case for this policy relative to the numerous drawbacks.

    Unfortunately, we are still not across the finish line in the US pandemic. There is still a Covid-19 death about every 2.5 minutes in the nation, and serious racial and ethnic disparities exists (e.g., in disproportionate access to vaccination services). There are six major concerns about the decision to roll back some key safety measures when in fact we need all of the tools we have in the Covid-19 prevention toolbox for perhaps just a short time longer.

    First, the CDC failed to tell people who are vaccinated what risks they might face (for themselves or their community) if they remove their masks, especially being in crowded events with unvaccinated persons, some of whom may not be wearing masks. We know from the clinical trials and effectiveness studies that even these outstanding vaccines are not perfect. continues

  12. raven says

    As far as fully vaccinated fatalities that’s at an exceedingly low rate no? I would classify that as acceptable risk.

    It’s low.
    But don’t forget the time factor here.
    That 74 dead is really died in a few weeks since being vaccinated.
    If you look at the number of dead over a year later, it will be higher.

    I don’t wear a mask outside when the population density is low such as outdoor recreation areas.
    Just use your common sense and remember that 20% of the population won’t be vaccinated but will be getting Covid-19 virus sooner or later. Plus, the children not currently being vaccinated.

    We really want the US case load to go down from 40,000 a day to 4,000 or day or less.

  13. says

    I am alarmed by the many ways in which disinformation is amplified not just by social media, but by Fox News and other mostly rightwing outlets. It’s depressing to see that.

  14. Allison says

    raven @4:

    So who wants to be the last American to die from Covid-19 virus?

    There’s never going to be a “last … to die from Covid-19.” To actually eliminate Covid-19 would require getting something like a 90% vaccination rate or higher, and that seems very, very unlikely. And that would have to be world-wide, too. That’s how we (mostly) eliminated polio, (and probably would have, if the CIA’s shenanigans hadn’t brought down widespread mistrust of public health workers.)

    I expect it to be endemic the way influenza is endemic, with the low vaccination rates (IMHO, anything under about 95% is “low”), and a new collection of variants each year, so we’ll have to get a new COVID shot every year, just like we get a new flu shot. And on the order of 10,000 to 100,000 deaths per year.

  15. dstatton says

    I hear that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is worried abut her nutty brother.

  16. birgerjohansson says

    (Looks at list. Ponders all the avoidable deaths that have happened. Ponders the concept of accountability.)
    Cough(Dexter Morgan)cough.

  17. whheydt says

    Re: raven @ #14…
    Depends on how you define “children”. The 12-15 year olds are now starting to get vaccinated. My 13-year-old grandson has appointments for his shots, first near the end of this month, second around mid-June.

    There have been news reports suggesting that kids as young as 2 will be authorized for one or more vaccines in the Fall.

    So….we’re getting there, albeit slowly.

  18. unclefrogy says

    I do not know if I can do anything but watch and try to take care of myself the best I can. The fearful ignorant and the greedy self-important who prey on them may not be just a problem for themselves. The more any organism reproduces the more chances of mutations occurring. This virus has been around for a very long time and it has just now found a new host and immune system to adopt to and is pretty good at doing that except for the problem of some (too many?) of the host dying
    I am going to keep on masking until it is much clearer to me that this current pandemic is truly over, and still after that sometimes because it really is not any trouble at all.
    uncle frofy

  19. devnll says

    The fact that so much of the rumourmongering might be the responsibility of so few people is actually the sort of thing that gives me hope about social media. All you have to do is block those folks, and anyone in your life who would be willing to rebroadcast those folks, and you’ve ditched 97% of the trash? Nice; at least they were kind enough to put up a sign. I didn’t even know who most of the folks you listed are.