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April 5, 2024 Big Pharma Censorship/Surveillance News

COVID

‘Misinformation Expert’ Who Attacked Doctors During COVID Apologizes for Some — But Not All — Comments

In a March 29 tweet, Allison Neitzel, founder of “Misinformation Kills,” apologized for online posts she made in 2022 attacking doctors for their views on COVID-19. Investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker blamed the media for creating “experts” who have “no credibility.”

allison neitzel misinformation

A “misinformation” expert who gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic for her attacks on high-profile critics of establishment narratives related to vaccines and other treatments has now apologized — for misinformation she posted about several doctors.

In a March 29 tweet, Allison Neitzel, founder of “Misinformation Kills,” apologized for claims she made in 2022 against doctors affiliated with the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), including Drs. Pierre Kory, Paul Marik and Flavio A. Cadegiani.

The apology also appears on her website, which is now devoid of other content.

According to investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker, who reported the news this week in The Disinformation Chronicle, mainstream media outlets and science websites, including CNN, NBC, Mother Jones, MedPage Today and Medscape, frequently cited Neitzel as a “misinformation expert.”

According to Thacker, several outlets cited Neitzel not only as a “misinformation expert” but also as a physician — even though she “is not now, nor has she ever been, a physician,” at least according to the law in Wisconsin, her home state.

“We have accepted Dr. Neitzel’s apology and are glad to move on,” Marik, the FLCCC’s chief scientific officer, told The Defender.

“When physicians were coming together to face one of the most serious public health crises of our lifetimes, Dr. Neitzel used her time to accuse others of fraud and call them grifters,” Kory, FLCCC president and chief medical officer, told The Defender.

“Unfortunately, it happened, and we accept her apology and have put this distraction behind us,” Kory said.

Thacker said Neitzel’s story “encapsulates everything that went wrong during COVID when self-defined ‘disinformation reporters’ glommed onto anyone they tripped over on social media as an ‘expert’ they could deploy to castigate those refusing to bend the knee to Big Pharma.”

Thacker said the media creates these experts “because they have narratives they’re trying to push, and they need an expert that they can cite instead of pretending that they’re doing journalism, not just editorializing.”

Accordingly, they need to find an expert to be a voice in their stories, Thacker said. “What you find out is, a lot of times these experts, they’re not really an expert in anything. They’re experts created by the media,” Thacker said. “The way Neitzel became famous … was that she was able to say that she was a physician.”

Personal attacks ‘have no place in serious scientific discussions’

In her apology, Neitzel said that because she is “committed to providing accurate information about public health issues,” the purpose of her apologies is to “correct, clarify, and update certain statements” she made about the FLCCC and its doctors.

Neitzel highlighted several specific instances for which she apologized, including false claims she made in September 2022 that Brazilian authorities were investigating Cadegiani regarding an ivermectin study he co-authored and that FLCCC was also under investigation by Brazilian authorities.

“I regret making the unclear statements,” Neitzel wrote.

Also in September 2022, Neitzel made a statement implying that the FLCCC was “one and the same” with two other organizations: the Association of American Physicians and America’s Frontline Doctors.

In her apology, Neitzel claimed she “did not intend to suggest that they were part of the same organization” but “intended only to criticize their goals and policy positions as having some similarities.”

“In addition, I have no information suggesting that FLCCC has engaged in the practice of selling ivermectin or offering telehealth services,” she added.

Finally, in her apology, Neitzel acknowledged that a “number of times in 2022,” she used terms like “fraud and fraudulent” to criticize certain positions of and statements by the FLCCC, Marik and Kory, and to criticize some of their studies.

She also apologized for posts that characterized the use of ivermectin as “grift.”

Neitzel wrote:

“I did not mean my statements to be understood as conveying anything more than intense criticism, and I regret if anyone understood the statements as accusations that any of them had engaged in fraudulent professional or business practices … I regret my use of words like fraudulent and grift, which I should not have used.”

“We always welcome open and professional debate over differing interpretations of data,” Marik said. “However, personal attacks like accusing others of fraud or calling them grifters, as Dr. Neitzel made, do not have a place in serious scientific discussions.”

Marik noted that Neitzel’s apology was incomplete.

Referring to a 2017 study co-authored by Marik investigating the effects of vitamin C on sepsis, Neitzel’s apology acknowledged her criticism of the article was based on allegations that the data used by the study were flawed, which the journal was “unable to confirm.”

“Her apology wasn’t sufficient, because what she didn’t say is that the journal cleared me of all wrongdoing,” Marik said. “I was accused of scientific misconduct and fraud for manufacturing data, and so that was reported to the journal. The journal did a one-year investigation and cleared me of all wrongdoing.”

In her apology, Neitzel refers to herself as the founder and executive director of “Misinformation Kills” but not as a physician.

‘Media create experts who have no credibility’

Physicians affiliated with the FLCCC were not Neitzel’s only targets.

Tracy Beth Høeg, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco and associate professor of clinical research at the University of Southern Denmark, told The Disinformation Chronicle she was targeted by Neitzel, citing one now-deleted posting in which Neitzel referred to Høeg as “Hoeg hag.”

Yet, Neitzel’s apology makes no mention of Høeg or other individuals she attacked.

“The fact she has not nearly completed her training but has appointed herself as an expert physician in pointing out misinformation strikes me as both odd and ironic,” Hoeg told The Disinformation Chronicle. “For example, as you can see, she is really attacking me rather than anything substantive about what I have done or said.”

Thacker said Neitzel’s individual posts attacking doctors — many of which have now been deleted — are of secondary importance to the fact that the media “creates experts like Neitzel who really have no credibility.”

According to Thacker, Neitzel is one of many people the media “launched into prominence during the pandemic because they served as useful idiots for ‘disinformation journalists’ needing a quotable ‘expert’ to bash people who dared question conventional COVID wisdom.”

What’s more, media outlets that quoted Neitzel as an expert “hadn’t bothered to do a modicum of due diligence before platforming her,” referring to her as a licensed physician when she wasn’t, Thacker wrote.

Wisconsin law defines a physician as “an individual possessing the degree of doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy or an equivalent degree as determined by the medical examining board, and holding a license granted by the medical examining board.”

Neitzel is not listed in the National Provider Identifier Standard, which lists all licensed physicians in the U.S.

“What makes Allison Neitzel unique,” Thacker wrote, “is that she was forced to retract and apologize for her lies and fake claims.”

Multiple media outlets continue to list Neitzel as a ‘physician’

Thacker wrote that Neitzel “rocketed to national fame on CNN after graduating from the Medical College of Wisconsin and posting a letter on social media that accused Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers of spreading COVID misinformation.”

Rodgers, a critic of COVID-19 vaccination, said he was allergic to one of the vaccine’s ingredients and did not need the vaccine because of a prior COVID-19 infection.

Thacker told The Defender Neitzel’s letter “had this narrative arc that people wanted, like, ‘whoa, this physician is standing up to Aaron Rodgers, this famous quarterback, and she’s really explaining what the important things are about COVID and how Aaron Rogers is wrong to not get vaccinated.’”

Rodgers’ statements came “almost a year before the CDC stated that prior infection was no different than being vaccinated,” Thacker wrote.

The National Association of Medical Doctors (NAMD) republished Neitzel’s letter criticizing Rodgers in its Journal of Medicine, alongside the statement, “Allison Neitzel is a physician.”

Thacker wrote:

“Despite spreading false information about Rodgers, Neitzel’s letter and purported medical bona fides proved catnip to reporters at MedPage Today, Mother Jones, and NBC, who quoted her as a physician exposing medical misinformation.

“Columns Neitzel wrote for websites WhoWhatWhy and Science-Based Medicine also claim she is a physician focusing on disinformation.”

For instance, Neitzel’s bio on the website of WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit news organization, still lists her as a “physician-researcher” who “has investigated the dark money and politics behind public health disinformation with a focus on the pandemic.”

The same site prominently features articles that call Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman on leave of Children’s Health Defense, a “global threat” and articles on how the “far right plots [the] triumph of online disinformation” by “targeting ‘censors.”

Examples abound of Neitzel being presented as a “physician” by the mainstream media.

In a 2023 Mother Jones story critical of doctors who sued the state of California to stop a since-repealed law that would have disciplined doctors for sharing “false COVID information,” Neitzel was referenced as a “physician and disinformation researcher.”

The story claimed that “far-right rhetoric” was backing the lawsuits challenging the law.

Similarly, a 2023 NBC News story examining “online harassment” against physicians purportedly being perpetrated by “anti-vaxxers” cited Neitzel as “a physician-researcher who studies misinformation.” In this story, Neitzel claimed that such online harassment against doctors was a “well-worn tactic” that increased during the pandemic.

According to Thacker, outlets including NBC and WhoWhatWhy did not respond to inquiries regarding why they cited Neitzel as a physician in their stories.

One site that did respond is Science-Based Medicine, for which Neitzel, in May 2023, wrote “Repurposed to Radical: How drug repurposing created a global right-wing market for COVID early treatment fraud.”

Neitzel’s bio on Science-Based Medicine lists her as “physician-writer who focuses on disinformation, dark money, and politics in public health with a focus on COVID-19, inspired by her medical school experience during the pandemic in Wisconsin.”

“Science-Based Medicine is a marketing site for the biopharmaceutical industry run by David Gorski, a Wayne State University surgeon, self-described ‘misinformation debunker,’ and ardent vaccine cheerleader,” Thacker wrote.

In his response to Thacker’s inquiry as to why Neitzel is listed as a physician by Science-Based Medicine, Gorski said the question was “pedantic” and said he favored the definition for “physician” the American Medical Association provides on its website.

“Oftentimes what happens is, when you expose these people as frauds, they want to pretend that what happened is not what happened,” Thacker said. “They’re just going to hope that no one pays attention to the fact that they platformed someone who doesn’t really have credentials and herself puts out misinformation and defames people.”

Neitzel ‘made to seem important’ by ‘misinformation-disinformation machinery’

Despite her apology, Neitzel appears to be continuing her online attacks against people who question the establishment’s COVID-19 narrative.

For instance, in a tweet earlier this week targeting Florida physician Dr. Andrew Zywiec, Neitzel wrote “Perhaps the allegations of being “a misogynist” or “a QAnon conspiracy theorist” were not so false?” referring to a legal case in which Zywiec was involved  — and in which there was no such finding.

But for Thacker, Neitzel’s online attacks are secondary to the media’s portrayal of her as a physician and an authority on “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

“These media outlets made her appear to be important, and I think what makes the story about Allison Neitzel important is how little importance she actually has but how she was made to seem important, because that’s what the ‘misinformation-disinformation’ machinery does,” Thacker said.

Noting that this machinery appears closely aligned to the policies of the Biden administration, Thacker said it “takes these minor, tiny, insignificant people, makes them experts and authorities to attack anyone who’s seen as a threat to Democratic Party policies or to the Biden administration. That’s just how it works.”

The Defender on occasion posts content related to Children’s Health Defense’s nonprofit mission that features Mr. Kennedy’s views on the issues CHD and The Defender regularly cover. In keeping with Federal Election Commission rules, this content does not represent an endorsement of Mr. Kennedy, who is on leave from CHD and is running as an independent for president of the U.S.

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