Teen who vaccinated himself says his anti-vaxx Mom gets her misinformation from Facebook (Echochamber Friday)

Welcome to Echochamber Friday, which is when we decide to read articles we’d normally skip over so we don’t become frogs in a well. For instance, I am not on Facebook, so I was unaware until just now the Andrew Wakefield minions are at it again.

by O Society March 8, 2019

If you are not aware how all of this epic saga started, X-Dr. Wakefield made up data on a dozen children. Wakefield received money from a pharmaceutical company to discredit a rival company’s MMR vaccine to publish these falsified data in the Lancet.

The Lancet published these data unaware of the scam. Once the fraud was discovered, the Lancet retracted his story completely, which is why it is rather difficult to find Wakefield’s original hoax published on line any longer.

Long story short, Wakefield lost his licence to practice medicine in the UK, so he fled to the United States, where he set up his fly-by-night campaign in Texas, because ostensibly, Texas has the highest concentration of rubes in the population.


Scene at the Gulf of Mexico

See Jade Helm, Alex Jones, Joel Osteen, our current caravan of Muslims invading through the border “emergency,” etc. The list of successful frauds and hoaxes to succeed in the credulous Texas environment is endless.

aliens (1)

Documented Aliens

In any case, I’ve heard -and you’ve heard – the Wakefield fraud story (plus the Jenny McCarthy sequel it spawned) at length many times. So it now bores me to tears. If by some chance you haven’t heard, it’s recounted here in great detail. Good luck!

Whatever the third act is on Facebook these days, I’m not really interested in hearing about the details of the latest stop the madness campaign. So instead, we’ll address the issue concisely once here on Echochamber Friday…

Dear Parents ~ You Are Being Lied To

As with these manufactured dramas in general – the Earth is Flat, Young Earth Creationism, the Moon Landing was Faked, Donald Trump is Qualified to be President – the more energy we give the kooks, the more attention we pay to refuting the lies, the bigger a role we play in producing the drama, the worse it all gets.

So ignore it. Do not engage. Do not feed the trolls. Any attention or debate you give these folks only makes them feel special, feeding the collective narcissism we culture on line in the Facebook Petri dish.

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories: Why Do People Believe Them?

And yes, I am an expert in these matters. So don’t troll me. It’s a waste of  your time and mine. I worked for two years in an immunology laboratory on a military grant in conjunction with a US Army base. We worked on developing a vaccine to anthrax, which is a sheep disease people were stuffing in envelopes and mailing to their favorite politicians at the time. You can read more about this project here.

So don’t bother to give me a “your all shills for Big Pharma” smearing of bullshit. I am neither rich nor famous from working on vaccines to help prevent people – mostly soldiers and children – from getting sick and dying.

Yes, they do. Ask Olivia.

We’ve all spent far too much time, energy, and money cleaning up this hellified mess Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy shat upon the lives of people with autism, in return for fame, cash, and prizes.


So here’s their latest droppings in USA Today:

Teen who vaccinated himself says anti-vaxx Mom gets misinformation from Facebook

A teenager who made headlines after defying his anti-vaxx mother testified in front of Congress on Tuesday, saying his mother’s misinformation stemmed from social media.

Ethan Lindenberger, a teenager from Norwalk, Ohio traveled to Washington, DC to speak at a health, education, labor and pension committee hearing Tuesday on a panel alongside health experts including John Wiesman, Washington state’s secretary of health.

Ethan says as he approached high school and questioned why he wasn’t vaccinated, his mother often met him with misinformation she found online and in social media groups, never trust health officials. Ethan recalls showing his mother articles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and her replying with denial.

“That’s what they want you to think,” she would tell him, Lindenberger said Tuesday.

In a question-and-answer portion of the hearing, Lindenberger names Facebook as one of the sites his mother uses often to wrongly suggest vaccines could cause harm. He also said she posts videos with fake news on the social media site.

He says it’s with “respect and love” he disagrees with his mother. Learning to research and debate in high school, Lindenberger, 18, says he learned “there always seems to be two sides to a discussion. This is not true for the vaccine debate.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook is accused of being a platform for fake health news. Responding to backlash last month, Facebook says it has “taken steps” to reduce misinformation around anti-vaxx posts.

Facebook may hide anti-vaxx posts after it’s accused of spreading fake health news

The committee hearing comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors six measles outbreaks across the nation, including in Clark County, Washington where 70 confirmed cases are reported.

Lindenberger reached out to Reddit users a few months ago to ask whether he could be vaccinated as an adult.


After his thread went viral, he told “Good Morning America” he never received vaccines for hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox.

In December of last year, he caught up on his missed immunizations.

People choosing not to vaccinate are become a global health threat in 2019, the World Health Organization reports. The CDC recognizes the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24 months of age gradually increases.

UNICEF on alarming global surge in measles: ‘The real infection is misinformation’

Pinterest is blocking all searches on vaccinations to stop spread of misinformation

Autism Speaks: No MMR-Autism Link in Large Studies of Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Kids

This week, yet another study shows the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) does not increase the risk of autism, nor does it “trigger autism” in children who are at risk. This research adds to mountains of already publicly available studies which say the same thing.

Vaccines don’t cause autism, yet another study finds

8 thoughts on “Teen who vaccinated himself says his anti-vaxx Mom gets her misinformation from Facebook (Echochamber Friday)

  1. I know there is a lot of disinfo out there. And it can cause harm. But still it causes less harm than the authoritarian move of shutting down debate.

    I worry about the mainstream backlash that seeks to control sources of info through silencing and censorship. Democracy requires more sunlight, not less. It’s a difficult situation. We need to find a way to further debate and make it more open.

    I wrote about this on a different health topic:



      1. I’m not against vaccines. I was referring to a wider concern. Some elites see the solution as social control through censorship. We’ve seen that on social media, from Youtube to Pinterest. Alternative voices have their accounts closed down or are demonetized.

        And I’m not talking only about crazy people like Alex Jones. Even respectable alternative news media is finding themselves targeted, simply because they are alternative. For example, many like Jimmy Dore were having their videos demonetized and he is only a moderate progressive who takes positions well within the majority of public opinion.

        You’d see what I mean if you read my linked post. There is a concerted effort to shut down alternative voices, even those who are respectable authority figures. This includes doctors and researchers who do something as simple as challenge the overprescription of statins, a position that is regularly advocated in the BMJ which is one of the most respected medical journals in the world.

        This isn’t only about the crazy talk of fringe freaks. It’s an attempt to close down of public debate in general. It’s not entirely successful, but it doesn’t stop them from continuing to try. It is worrisome, though, when looking at how successful China has been in thought control through media control. I’m not so naive as to think it couldn’t happen here.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed. Narrow the Overton Window of allowable acceptable discourse.


        However, manufactured vaccine drama jumped the shark. People advocating this sort of nonsense degrade themselves and this drama serves no purpose other than to distract the general public from focusing on real issues… that, and of course it makes people like Jenny McCarthy rich of making other people stupid and sick.


        It is and always has been a colossal waste of our time and energy. Stop this particular brand of madness they sell because it hurts children. It is child abuse to give a child diseases intentionally, which otherwise can and should be prevented.

        Anyone want some polio?


        Liked by 1 person

      3. There is plenty of madness. And much of it is dangerous. But we haven’t yet figured out how to deal with it constructively toward the public good. The problem is too many powerful interests see advantage in spreading disinfo.

        Worse still, those poisoning public debate and those trying to shut down public debate are often the same people. It’s just a game of power and manipulation, of creating fear and anxiety so the population is more easily manipulated and controlled. These people don’t think about long-term consequences.

        It creates what feels like an impossible situation for those of us still holding out for democracy.


      4. The potential end result that worries me is authoritarianism. But one of the most likely ways of getting there isn’t initially overt authoritarianism. Instead, the greatest danger is general fuckery.

        The Koch brothers are brilliant at this. They love to muddy the waters. They use libertarian rhetoric to promote fascism. They push the meme that universities are bastions of radical left-wingers who want to take away American freedom while they use their massive wealth to take over the universities. They play all sides to create confusion and division. The same thing was discovered with Russia’s game-playing. There were protests and counter-protests where it turned out that both sides had been incited to take action by Russian meddling on social media. The Russians didn’t care about either side of any of these conflicts. They just wanted to increase conflict in the US.

        The desired end in both cases is authoritarianism. It’s different groups promoting their own variety of authoritarianism for their own agenda. But no matter which of these powerful groups wins, the rest of us loses. I’d be very interested to know who are some of the actual sources behind such things as the anti-vaxxers. I know the Koch brothers are cynical enough to push climate change denialism and immigrant fear-mongering, and so I wouldn’t put it past them to incite fear of vaccinations as well in order to further erode trust in scientific experts and government authority.

        These people are playing a long game. For them, it’s not about a specific issue. The Koch brothers, for example, aren’t against immigrants. They’d love immigrants as cheap labor. But if attacking immigrants is useful to promote their right-wing agenda, then they’ll do so with fully cynical realpolitik. So, we have to learn to look past the useful idiots who get pulled into these machinations and instead look to the puppet masters behind the scenes.


  2. People need to realize there is pushback now. We are tired of being made to live in fantasy land by those who would sabotage all sane conversation and keep it at lowest common denominator. You do not have a right to believe whatever you want to when you live in a society which depends on mutual trustworthiness and sanity.


    No, you don’t. We are past that stage now. “I can believe whatever I want” has been abused. No, you cannot believe climate change is a hoax or vaccines is a plot by the CDC to mind control us all without being ostracized from our society.


    There is going to be legislation against this self destructive behavior.


    There is going to be consequences for people who insist on their narcissistic “right to troll others.”


    Personally, I will never vote for someone who slings vaccine propaganda, including Jill Stein:


    Robert Kennedy:


    and Donald Trump:


    We are tired of deliberate scientific illiteracy about climate change, vaccines, flat earth, and all the other colossal waste of time disinformation campaigns. We are tired of stupid and we are fighting back.


    1. I agree with your intention and your goal. Indeed, we must fight, if we care about our society and about the world the youth will inherit. The challenge is how do we fight. It’s easy to attack the useful idiots who are suckered by rhetoric, propaganda, disinfo, and other forms of bullshit. But how do we get at the source of the problem?

      The anti-science attitude is being promoted by some of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and groups in our society, many of them well-established in public and private institutions, including the corporatist government. How do we get at the machinations happening behind the scenes that are funded by dark money. It involves the universities, corporate media, often both main parties, and much else. What if it isn’t really about vaccinations or anything else similar? When the Koch brothers fund climate change denialism, it’s not because they actually doubt the science. They surely know climate change is real and caused by human actions. But that isn’t what concerns them. It’s about gaining power, shifting blame, creating diversion, and obscuring the real issues.

      It’s all a game to them. How do we fight that? It seems like they are always several steps ahead of us. They have their tentacles in everything, maybe often on both sides of debates to shift the frame in a favorable direction and to maintain the Overton Window according to their preferred Master Narrative. It’s about controlled debate with controlled opposition, in order to distract from other positions and other issues. We need to develop entirely new intellectual defenses and psychological defenses, and somehow ensure enough of our fellow citizens are made to understand. But that is one hell of a challenge!


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