On the December 31, Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Dr. Robert Malone, a scientist promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, claimed people who cooperate with COVID-19 protocols, such as, getting vaccinated, boosted, masking up, and practicing social distancing suffer from “mass information psychosis,” and are “hypnotized” into believing established COVID-19 facts. Psychology experts argued that there was no such concept.
CLAIM: The concept of “mass formation psychosis” explains why millions of people believe in a mainstream COVID-19 “narrative” and trust the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
THE FACTS: Malone put forward the unfounded theory on a podcast hosted by comedian and commentator Joe Rogan. During the episode, Malone cast doubt on COVID-19 vaccine safety and claimed the mass psychosis has resulted in a “third of the population basically being hypnotized” into believing what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and mainstream news outlets say.
Malone, a virologist and immunologist, markets himself. as the “inventor “ of mRNA vaccines and uses this title to push numerous false claims about the vaccine. However, Malone did not invent these vaccines; he contributed to important early research on them.
A pair of papers he coauthored with two other researchers in 1989 and six other researchers in 1990 showed that mRNA could be delivered into cells using lipids, and that doing so with mice could trigger the production of new proteins. The two papers were the first reference in a 2019 history of the mRNA vaccine technology.
The COVID-19 vaccines were the result of many scientists. An early 2000s breakthrough from the University of Pennsylvania’s Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó, for example, uncovered a way to keep the immune system from attacking injected mRNA.
in July 2021, Malone admitted that he did not invent the current mRNA vaccines used to fight COVID-19. Instead, he claimed credit for creating the vaccine technology platform, but in an Atlantic profile, Malone whined and claimed he was “written out of the history “ because all the credit for the vaccines went to Karikó, who is also a senior vice president at BioNTech.
Now, Malone has written himself back into history but not in a positive manner. He has emerged as one of several anti-vaxxers who tout their medical credentials to appear knowledgeable on the subject, which has gained him online attention amid the pandemic. In fact, Malone has become the ‘darling’ amongst the wingnut, anti-Vaxxer sect.
Several elected officials, including representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, have regurgitated Dr. Malone’s wing nuttery and false claims about the mRNA vaccines. Former trump advisor and radio show host, Sebastian Gorka, has shared Malone’s misinformation on his podcast numerous times. Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America’s Front Line Doctors, a group that has fought restrictions to curb the virus’ spread, has also used Malone’s misinformation videos. Even Rep. Troy Nehls (R- Texas) entered a full transcript of one of Malone’s interviews into the Congressional record.
Twitter has banned Malone from their platform for violating their Terms of Service and YouTube removed several videos, including his controversial in interview with Spotify podcast host Joe Rogan. Of course, Malone had to make comparisons between the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the US and the environment in Germany in the 1920s and 30s when the Nazis rose to power. Malone has also appeared Fox ‘News’ Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham’s shows, InfoWars, and Steve Bannon’s podcast where he continually spreads lies and misinformation about the vaccines. Now he claims the liberal media and ‘big tech’ want to ‘suppress’ him.
“On the one hand, he argues, I am the inventor of this technology. On the other hand, he’s telling you that they technology is doing an enormous amount of harm. “Dr. Paul Offit, chair of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
The Rub: Malone received both doses of the Moderna vaccine but claimed, without out any credible proof, the shots worsened the prolonged symptoms he experienced from a previous COVID-19 infection.
Robert Malone’s archived Twitter account:
‘A Menace to Public Health’: Doctors Demand Spotify Puts an End to Covid Lies on ‘Joe Rogan Experience’
Unlike many platforms, Spotify doesn’t have a clear policy prohibiting misinformation. 270 physicians and scientists are hoping to change that.