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Healthy Living

Right-Wing Website Blames Minnesota Measles Outbreak On Muslims

WND again failed to acknowledge that its anti-vaxxer friends had been heavily lobbying the Somali community.

On April 25, WorldNetDaily published a column by so-called “medical researcher and author” Bill Sardi that is a lengthy rant against vaccines, in which he insisted that recent measles outbreaks have occurred largely among vaccinated people, not the unvaccinated, and that “pro-vaccine advocates do not hold the high scientific ground in the battle over whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate school-age children.”

This is not new. WND has long been a friendly place for anti-vaxxers to peddle their conspiracy theories.

Three days later, WND published an article by reporter Leo Hohmann seeking to blame a measles outbreak in a Somali-American community in Minnesota on Islam itself, under the clickbait headline, “Quran blamed in new U.S. disease outbreak.” Hohmann cited anti-Muslim activist Andrew Bostom, who in turn cited a random anti-vaxxer Muslim doctor.

What Hohmann didn’t report: According to blogger Richard Bartholomew, a 2007 issue of WND’s print magazine Whistleblower ran a special issue on ”Scary Medicine: Exposing The Dark Side of Vaccines,” and one of its contributors, who is on the board of directors of something called the International Medical Council on Vaccination, whose website includes among its resources the very screed by the Muslim doctor from which Hohmann and Bostom are quoting.

Hohmann’s article was further discredited when the Washington Post reported that anti-vaccination activists repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield ― a disbarred doctor whose claims linking vaccines and autism have been thoroughly discredited ― to speak to the Somali-American community in Minnesota and spread his anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. Last year, WND columnist Barry Farber touted the anti-vaxxer film made by “distinguished research gastroenterologist” Wakefield and likened vaccine defenders to “the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito.”

The Washington Post also noted that anti-vaxxer activist Mark Blaxill also spoke to the Somali community in Minnesota. Blaxill’s work was approvingly cited in a 2015 column by Robert Kennedy Jr., who wrote a series of anti-vaccine columns for WND around that time.

In other words, it’s WND’s own anti-vaxxer fellow travelers ― not Islam or the Quran ― who are responsible for creating this measles outbreak. Hohmann is simply creating fake news by fearmongering about Muslims for something his own side did.

Still, WND can’t be honest about it. In a May 10 article that carried no byline, WND simply rehashed the discredited talking points from Hohmann and Bostom with updated numbers. WND again failed to acknowledge that its anti-vaxxer friends had been heavily lobbying the Somali community. It also didn’t explain how its concern over this outbreak jibes with its previous anti-vaxxer advocacy.

Apparently, the only thing WND hates more than vaccines is Muslims.