Silicon Valley celebrities boost RFK Jr.’s anti-vaccine message

By Darius Tahir | KFF Health News

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the latest scion of the Kennedy family to run for president, has a quirky following of executives and investors in some of America’s most influential tech companies. there is Kennedy’s strong anti-vaccine views are a sideshow for this group.

“We will bring down all these institutions of power. Nearly two hours into the May episode of the All In podcast, Chamas Palihapitiya, a talkative former Facebook exec, said: The person who might help with the demolition was the show’s guest, Kennedy himself.

“Me too,” said David Sachs, co-host of the podcast Palihapitiya and an early investor in Facebook and Uber. Sachs and Palihapitiya announced they would host a fundraiser for Kennedy. pack news The outlet was set for June 15th.

Kennedy’s newfound friends in Silicon Valley were mostly vociferous vaccine advocates in the early days of the pandemic, but as Kennedy pushed for the presidency, anti-vaccine views and conspiracy theories emerged. I have found that they are willing to allow me to elaborate on the In a two-hour Twitter forum hosted by company owners Elon Musk and Sachs, Kennedy raised a variety of themes, but again one that has made him famous in recent years: vaccines and selling them. Back to skepticism about pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, in a June 5 appearance, Musk praised Musk for quitting “censorship” on his social media corner. A conspiracy theorist, President Kennedy has raised concerns about vaccine safety from a variety of forces, including Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff (as a member of the intelligence service) and pharmaceutical giant Roger Ailes (6 years after his death). said it prevented them from talking about ).

Kennedy argued that fears about the drug have led to an influx of direct-to-consumer advertising that has prevented media outlets such as Fox News from picking up his theories about vaccine safety. Fox did not respond to a request for comment.

He also said he supports reversing policies that allow direct-to-consumer advertising in the media. (Kennedy previously called himself a “free speech absolutist”, then a “free market absolutist” and later a “constitutional absolutist” in discussions of nuclear power. question the courtWe would accept a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. )

Kennedy’s support in the venture capital and tech communities, which have a large financial stake in scientific progress and generally reject irrational conspiracy theories, is likely to be limited. Several venture capitalists and technologists contacted by KFF Health News expressed confusion about the factors driving Musk’s support.

“He’s less intelligent and I think he’s the Democratic version of Donald Trump,” said Robert Nelsen, a biotech investor at Arch Venture Partners. It attracts people as protest votes.” “I think he’s a dangerous conspiracy theorist and has caused many deaths with his anti-vaccine lies.”

But those with megaphones let Kennedy do the talking. Jason Karakanis, another co-host of All In and a friend of Mr. Musk’s, said later in the podcast that he was glad the conversation wasn’t “sensational” like vaccines. . Still, during the podcast, Kennedy was given nearly five minutes uninterrupted to give his own take on the shot. A long list of questionable safety issues, ranging from allergies to autism to autoimmunity issues, is cited, many of which are discredited by reputable scientists.

Another Silicon Valley executive and guest on the show, David Friedberg, suggested there was no “direct evidence” of such problems. “I don’t think it’s just the vaccine,” Kennedy admitted. After an interlude in which he touched on the role of chemicals, he returned to his diphtheria injection injuries.

Friedberg, a former Google executive and founder of an agricultural startup that was reportedly sold to Monsanto for $1.1 billion, rallied against Kennedy, but said in a podcast after Kennedy left argued deeply. Kennedy’s views on nuclear power and vaccines “manifest as conspiracy theories,” he said. “It doesn’t resonate with me,” he continues, because “I prefer empirical truths to be substantiated.”

A quiet backlash is a bit of a reversal. In the early days of the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, many tech luminaries were among the most vocal in favor of vaccination. The “all-in” crew was no exception.bag tweeted once, “We need to raise the bar on what we expect from government.”pari hapitiya begged the manager “Stop virtue signaling” with vaccination standards and instead simply mass vaccinate.

It was then. Sachs recently defended Kennedy against anti-vaccine charges by retweeting a video in which Bill Gates questioned the effectiveness of current coronavirus vaccines.

Musk himself has sometimes hinted that he has concerns about vaccines. Tweets of Januarywith no evidence, “I’m in favor of vaccines in general, but there’s a point where treatments and vaccines can be worse than the disease when administered to the whole population.”

Musk isn’t the only tech boss interested in Kennedy’s candidacy. Block CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey Tweeted Kennedy “can and will” win the presidency.

In some ways, Valley’s interest in Kennedy has deep roots, including vaccine skepticism. Tech culture grew out of the Bay Area counterculture. Historically, we have embraced individualistic theories of health and wellness. While most people have a conventional view of health, technologists are turning to fad diets, psychedelic microdosing, and even the quest for immortality, along with alleged mental performance-enhancing “nootropics.” is also reaching out.

“An anti-establishment spirit persists” among many technology leaders, said Margaret O’Mara, a historian at the University of Washington. There was “a suspicion of authority, a disdain for gatekeepers and traditionalists, and an aversion to bureaucracy of all kinds. This too has its roots in the counterculture era, particularly in his 1960s anti-war campaign.” .”

KFF Health News is a national news agency that produces in-depth journalism on health issues, is one of the KFF’s core operating programs, and is an independent source of health policy research, polls, and journalism.Click here for details KFFMore.

use our content

You can republish this article for free (detail). Silicon Valley celebrities boost RFK Jr.’s anti-vaccine message

Exit mobile version