For disinformation to be effective, it needs to have two things: (1) simplicity and (2) a small element of half-truth. This enables disinformation to spread rapidly – get enough people to shout a buzzword and you can sit back and watch chaos unfold.
The sad reality is that enough people are content with a simple explanation, rather than taking the time and trouble to look into evidence. This tactic is not new to the current pandemic, although right now it is going through a particularly deadly phase.
We have reported how Ivermectin has been manipulated and presented as a miracle cure. This time, I would like you to see the devastating and widespread effects of Ivermectin, which are a direct result of a disinformation campaign.
The anti-vaccination campaign, which goes beyond the COVID-19 vaccine, has really reached a peak. As people are literally gasping for breath, they continue to refuse a vaccine in favour of a drug that is (a) not meant to cure Covid and (b) is being consumed in a form suitable for livestock and horses. How is it that the world has come to this?
Delving into the murkier corners of the internet, including popular platforms like Facebook, there is a depressing pattern of behaviour that, without fail, has the same tragic ending.
People, many located in the US, but not exclusively, post a steady stream of ‘witty’ posts that, on the face of it, are anti-establishment. They praise Trump (and fervently believe he will return as President), vilify Bill Gates and George Soros, shout about freedom and then, in a matter of days or weeks, a family member announces their passing. This is generally accompanied by a GoFundMe page to cover enormous healthcare costs and funeral expenses.
Unless you are the susceptible type, most posts are likely to make you roll your eyes. Take, for example, this post below – it combines whiny self-righteousness about freedom with a touch of (faux) legalese and (even faker) science. Its bullishness is designed to silence any perceived opponent, using the “that will show them” tactic. In reality, it causes more grief for healthcare workers. The gentleman who shared this post eventually succumbed to COVID-19.
The toll on healthcare workers cannot be underestimated. It has got to the point where people are directing their anger at those who are providing frontline care and pretty much harassing hospitals who are trying to keep their loved ones alive.
Many try to explain the situation in the simplest and gentlest terms, but they are rebuffed. This is hardly surprising, especially considering the directed campaigns at people like Dr Anthony Fauci. Just in case you think this appalling behaviour is restricted to the US, I remind you of the reaction to this perfectly reasonable and accurate piece in The Shift about the COVID-19 virus and vaccination.
Meantime, people are going to great lengths to obtain Ivermectin. Some are buying it directly from farm shops, others are outraged that a pharmacist is refusing to fill a prescription.
At times it is hard to feel any sympathy for these people. Reading through their posts prior to death, there is a steady stream of hatred rooted in all manner of conspiracy theories. There is much shouting about ‘freedom’ (while simultaneously demanding death to Black and Indigenous communities, migrants, the LGBT+ community, etc).
This is something we need to acknowledge, but only if we commit to actively reduce hate and the spread of disinformation. These people thrive because they find others like them. Every critique confirms their bias. We do need to actively fight this other pandemic.
As to why they believe all these conspiracies? Well, unlike Ivermectin, they are easy to digest.