On Nov. 24, Terry Gross, host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” interviewed Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development.
During the interview, Hotez made a number of inaccurate statements about Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Children’s Health Defense chairman and chief legal counsel.
Here is Kennedy’s letter to Gross, asking that she correct those statements and others relating to vaccine science, and also requesting the opportunity to debate Hotez on a future segment of “Fresh Air”:
During your November 24 interview, Dr. Peter Hotez made several inaccurate and damaging statements about me that went unchallenged. I know you value accuracy and integrity, and so I urge you to correct the record.
Dr. Hotez falsely claimed that I spoke to Nazis and QAnon in Germany
Dr. Hotez was apparently referring to my August 29 speech at the Rally for Peace and Freedom in Berlin organized by the German group, Querdenken 711, or “Critical Thinking 711.” Querdenken is neither Nazi nor QAnon.
Querdenken is a broad-based, peaceful citizens’ movement launched by a large group of European human and civil rights lawyers and others to promote freedom, peace, democracy,and human rights. It strongly opposes Nazism, anti-Semitism, and all forces of extremism. There was no evidence of Nazi iconography anywhere near the Querdenken protest. (Dr. Hotez apparently conflated the large Querdenken rally-reliably estimated crowds = 100k to 1 million plus-with a tiny, staged demonstration by about 50 Nazis and QAnon supporters that occurred simultaneously across town at the Reichstag).
My speech was a screed against Nazism. The principal stage ornament was a giant mural of Mahatma Gandhi, the antithesis of a Nazi hero. Among the speakers were doctors, lawyers, clergy of every persuasion, soldiers, police officers, parents, children, world-famous athletes, politicians from Germany’s Green Party, human rights activists, and leaders of prominent nonprofit peace, human rights, and democracy advocacy organizations. The speakers and audience were racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse and represented dozens of nationalities. The event’s Master of Ceremonies was a Black African born in Ghana. The musical performance included an Indian Hare Krishna monk. The banners were rainbows, peace signs, BLM insignias and the flags of every nation in Europe. There were no swastikas nor QAnon iconography. As is its usual practice, Querdenken took great pains to exclude extremists from the Berlin event. Those efforts were spectacularly successful. The complete absence of extremist influence is evident from the program, from all the footage publicly available on the Children’s Health Defense website, on my social media, and in the thousands of photos and videos of the event easily viewed on various platforms of the Internet. Any reporter interested in accuracy may easily check these sources.
I am currently in litigation against Dr. Hotez’s probable source on this slander — an anonymous author who calls himself “Down East Democrat,” who first vouchsafed that libel in an opinion piece on the Internet platform Daily Kos. The fact that he can point to a source does not excuse Dr. Hotez from independently verifying the slander before reporting an implausible accusation that is one of the most damaging charges that anyone can levy at a public figure. It does not relieve NPR of correcting the error when discovered.
I have notified Dr. Hotez that I will sue him if he repeats that libel. He denies that he even made that statement, but the Fresh Air transcript speaks for itself. I ask you to take steps to address the harms that Dr. Hotez caused while on your show.
Dr. Hotez erroneously called me ‘anti-vaccine’
I am not anti-vaccine. I have said this hundreds of times over the years. I have explained, ad nauseam, that my demand for safer vaccines, robust science and regulatory agencies — free from Big Pharma’s corrupting conflicts — does not make me anti-vaccine. (I have fought for four decades to remove mercury from fish, yet nobody calls me “anti-fish”). Characterizing all questions about vaccine safety and efficacy as “anti-vaccine” is a calculated industry propaganda technique for muzzling debate, and for marginalizing and vilifying critics. It is Dr. Hotez’s strategy to apply the “anti-vaccine” ad hominem to anyone who questions the medical cartel’s orthodoxy that all vaccines are safe, effective and thoroughly tested. Dr. Hotez applies the defamation broadly: to discredit attorneys like me who sue his industry, to intimidate the many doctors, scientists and public health educators who ask reasonable and thoughtful questions about vaccine safety protocols; and to bully, silence and gaslight the mothers of millions of intellectually damaged children who believe that vaccines harmed their children.
Dr. Hotez erroneously called me ‘anti-mask’
I am not anti-mask. Neither I, nor my organization, Children’s Health Defense (CHD), take a position on masks. I have asked legitimate and thoughtful questions about the science that justifies government mask mandates. I have also complained about the absence of notice and common rulemaking and due process accompanying the imposition of mask mandates. This advocacy means that I believe in science, democracy and our Constitution. This does not make me anti-mask.
On CHD’s website, we publish every peer-reviewed study we can find on mask efficacy, regardless of their conclusions. We have identified over 35 placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed studies to date. We have not been able to find any peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled study that supports the efficacy of masks against viral or bacteriological transmission — even in hospital settings. Meanwhile, dozens of studies suggest negative efficacy and several link masks to a grim inventory of respiratory, pulmonary, dental, gastrointestinal and dermatological injuries.
I am always careful to say that the one-sided findings refuting mask efficacy in the existing peer-reviewed literature do not mean that masks are ineffective against COVID-19 transmission. Most of the published research focuses on influenza transmission. Researchers have yet to comprehensively study the specific efficacy of masks against COVID-19. Future research may yet demonstrate a beneficial association. However, the popular claim that “science supports masking” — an assertion Dr. Hotez routinely broadcasts — is simply inaccurate.
On your show, Dr. Hotez cited a study by IHME (Institute for Health and Metrics Evaluation) that predicts a large number of lives would be saved from universal masking. However, the IHME paper is not a placebo-controlled trial. It is, rather, a modeling study and, like all modeling studies, its predictive weight wholly depends on the quality of the assumptions upon which it relies. Here, the refereed literature does not support the study’s fundamental assumption — that masks reduce viral transmission. “Garbage in,” the saw goes, “garbage out!”
It is worth mentioning that Bill Gates is the principal funder of IHME, and that IHME was largely responsible for the notoriously exaggerated mortality calculations that overestimated COVID deaths by 20-fold at the COVID pandemic’s outset. Political leaders around the globe cited the IHME’s results to justify the universal lockdowns. Mr. Gates contributed $600 million to IHME and $79 million to the Imperial College of London which supported the scandalously inaccurate IHME findings by using the same defective modeling assumptions and techniques. Mr. Gates had been the media’s primary cheerleader for universal lockdowns and a vocal advocate for censoring dissenters who criticize those policies. For several years, his company, Bing, has actively censored information about health strategies that compete with the pharma paradigm, or any information that is critical of pharmaceutical industry products — including vitamins, chiropractors, nutrition, functional and integrative medicine, and especially vaccines. The lockdowns he helped orchestrate have increased Mr. Gates’ wealth by $20 billion.
Meanwhile, lockdowns have triggered global food and medicine shortages that are causing deaths of 10,000 African children each month, the obliteration of the American middle class, and the permanent closure of millions of small businesses — including nearly half of all Black-owned businesses. The shutdown has bankrupted our social safety net, left millions of people without health insurance, and pushed millions more into poverty and food insecurity, while the net wealth of America’s super-rich, including Mr. Gates, has grown to nearly $4 trillion. The quarantine has increased not only Mr. Gates’ wealth, but given him unprecedented power to dictate far-reaching policies that affect all of humanity while, coincidentally, swelling his pocketbook.
I remind you that the traditional role of the media — and of Fresh Air — was to exercise extreme suspicion and skepticism towards such large agglomerations of power.
Terry, I’d love your advice on what I might do to correct Dr. Hotez’s slanders. I would, of course, welcome the opportunity to appear on-air myself to correct his defamatory comments. An appearance would also allow me to address the many other inaccurate, misleading and self-serving assertions that Dr. Hotez made on your show. I would be happy if you invited Dr. Hotez back to join me for a civil discussion about the critical national and global issues that he addressed on Fresh Air. I realize this is a pipe dream. As you know, I have appeared on Fresh Air over the years, but I am aware that NPR has joined the mainstream media in blackballing any knowledgeable expert who questions the government/pharma vaccine orthodoxies promoted by Mr. Gates. My litigation against the vaccine companies and my books criticizing the industry and regulatory corruption have made me part of that disqualified cohort.
I suspect that Peter Hotez is relieved by this blanket ban on debate and dissent. Dr. Hotez has become comfortable with the softball questioning by credulous and fawning hosts of cable and network news shows addicted to pharma advertising and/or Bill Gates’ “philanthropy.” Some of us still expect more from NPR.
For more than a year beginning in 2017, Dr. Hotez and I privately maintained a regular telephone debate about vaccine safety moderated by my cousin, Special Olympics Director Tim Shriver. It is my memory that Peter did not fare well in those exchanges. I continue to publish scrupulously sourced science-based castigations of Peter’s serial self-serving inaccuracies that he routinely broadcasts from his Twitter feed. I have frequently challenged him to debate publicly about those whoppers. I am not surprised that he has steadfastly refused my invitations. On March 11, 2019, Dr. Hotez told Joe Rogan that he would hesitate to debate me because I am a “clever lawyer.” In an earlier conversation, he told me that he would happily participate in a public debate, but only if NIH (presumably Dr. Fauci) gave him permission. That peculiar demurrer raises its own parade of questions about the cozy relationship between government and industry that, I hope, you also find troubling.
In fact, NPR’s choice to allow Dr. Hotez on Fresh Air to unleash diatribes of unchecked and unchallenged pharmaceutical industry propaganda raises many disturbing questions about the current role of public broadcasting in the age of pandemic censorship.
If Peter Hotez were an oil industry insider, it is difficult to fathom that NPR would allow him to transform Fresh Air into a petroleum industry advertising vehicle, or to issue unchallenged slanders against a leading climate activist, such as branding him “anti-science” and “anti-prosperity.”
I can only imagine that such circumstances would offend your sense of fairness, but I’m hard-pressed to distinguish this example from your interview with Dr. Hotez. Peter is the consummate insider to the $100 billion vaccine industry. Although he portrays himself to your listeners as free from profit motives, Dr. Hotez has elsewhere boasted that he hopes to make millions on his tropical hookworm vaccine. Likewise, he stands to cash in on his other tropical medicine projects.
Dr. Hotez’s myriad financial entanglements with Bill Gates only exacerbate the conflicts inherent in his various Pharma pedigrees.
As you surely must know, Mr. Gates is also Dr. Hotez’s mentor and principal funder. Mr. Gates reportedly donated $52,000,000 to develop and conduct clinical trials in Brazil for his hookworm vaccine. After that donation, Dr. Hotez emerged as the principal voice for promoting vaccines globally and as a carnival barker for Everything Gates. In that sense, Dr. Hotez has become the most visible promoter of the government/Pharma partnership and the rich government subsidies and mandates that underpin the global vaccine industry.
NPR’s own controversial relationship with Bill Gates compounds the awkward appearance of self-dealing and bias when Fresh Air gives Hotez full license to defame critics of Gates and his pharma partners. Gates has donated $9.3 million to NPR since 2013. Mr. Gates is the world’s largest vaccine maker, the world’s largest distributor and most aggressive promoter of vaccines. As New York Magazine has documented, Gates’ significant personal and foundation investments in the major vaccine companies benefit from his philanthropic promotion of the vaccines globally. His investments in GAVI, PATH, and WHO have given this powerful, unelected billionaire unprecedented control to dictate our global health policies, control our freedom of movement and even our clothing. His funding of dozens of industry front groups, social media outlets, television networks, newspapers, magazines, and his ubiquitous and sinister “fact checker” organization, has allowed him to control public perceptions, and censor public debate over his policies.
In 2009, in an unprecedented appearance by a billionaire with no government portfolio or official approval before the United Nations, Gates unilaterally declared the 2010’s to be the “Decade of Vaccines.” His $10 billion donation effectively gave him control over the WHO. Under his direction, right on schedule, WHO declared in January 2019 that questioning of vaccines was among the greatest threats to global health. That announcement opened the Pharma allies in virtually every U.S. state and in 100 nations around the globe. A tsunami of suffocating censorship — directed by Mr. Gates and around the world — accompanied this legislative campaign. Under this stifling new rubric, nobody can question the lopsided public investment of $48 billion COVID vaccines with meager proof of safety and efficacy — to which governments and the medical cartel and Big Pharma are inexplicably directing us. Meanwhile, regulatory officials and Pharma ignore or suppress a pharmacopeia of cheap, available, safe, off-patent therapeutic remedies like Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, Pepcid, and cortical steroids that appear to be much more thoroughly tested and far more effective against COVID — but far less profitable for Gates and his Pharma partners. It would be interesting to hear an informed and vigorous debate on the peer-reviewed science supporting these various remedies. But such discussions depart from the orthodoxy and are therefore taboo.
As your show’s title implies, you built “Fresh Air” on a platform of fierce protection of first-amendment free speech, open dialogue and debate. I imagine that the current Kafkaesque imposition of censorship against even mild critiques of the government’s diktats must inspire in you a visceral revulsion. Working with the industry’s captive regulators, pharma insiders like Mr. Gates and Dr. Hotez have succeeded in making it verboten to ask even the most reasonable questions about a pharmaceutical product mandated by government, immunized from liability, heavily subsidized, freed from animal studies, placebo control human trials, and the long-duration safety trials that are required for every other medical product. Dr. Hotez and Mr. Gates are the spear tip of Big Pharma’s push to abolish informed consent and force every global citizen to undergo risky medical interventions. Their most momentous accomplishment has been abolishing the public right to question such violence or to complain or debate Pharma policies or pronouncements.
Since 2019, we have weathered an extraordinary devolution in press independence as acquiescence and fearmongering have eclipsed the Fourth Estate’s proud traditions of healthy scrutiny toward government pronouncements, and robust skepticism toward the corrupt pharmaceutical industry. Scientific literacy in the media has given way to “appeals to authority”;instead of citing peer-reviewed science, journalists content themselves with defending controversial government health policies by citing regulators like NIH, CDC, WHO and FDA — all of these agencies with well-documented records of corruption and capture.The media has effectively deified Dr. Anthony Fauci, and altogether displaced the robust scrutiny of government, pharmaceuticals, and science that were once the hallmarks of the American independent press. It has become mandatory for journalists to insist that all vaccines are safe and effective simply because the government says so.
You have long been a champion of the idea that censorship is the weapon of tyrants. You understand that America’s founders adopted the First Amendment not to protect popular speech approved by government and industry power centers, but to protect unpopular speech — especially during times of crisis. Democracy functions best when public policy emerges from the cauldron of open, and even fierce, debate. Turning “Fresh Air” over to pharmaceutical industry insiders to promote shoddily tested mandatory medical products and broadcast unchallenged industry propaganda is not consistent with your show’s proud tradition.