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Monday, May 20, 2024
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The character assassination of Robert F Kennedy Jr

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WILL there be another dead Kennedy? I hope not to tempt fate, but as a Democrat nomination candidate for the US presidential election next year, Robert F Kennedy Jr is making himself a target. He rejects the official narrative on Covid-19 and Ukraine, and he rails against Big Pharma, corrupt federal authorities and militaristic foreign policy.  The Democratic Party wants to keep the octogenarian and cognitively suspect incumbent Joe Biden, whom many people see as a puppet of the Deep State, struggling to read from an autocue.

Already being RFK is being attacked, albeit by the pen rather than the sword. Liberal-progressive media are troubled by his rise in the polls. First they ignored him; then they ridiculed him; now they are desperately denouncing him as a harmful interference in ‘democracy’ (a term that means something different to the elite than to you and me). Among the latest hit jobs, the Washington Post argued that RFK should be running as a Republican, as that’s where the anti-vaccine constituency lies. A Daily Mail column described him as a serial misogynist (journalists are less concerned with the sitting president’s proclivity for fondling little girls and sniffing their hair).

A recent diatribe in the Los Angeles Times by Michael Hiltzik is so bad that it’s good. RFK had appeared on a 90-minute ‘town hall’ programme on the cable channel News Nation on June 27. Hiltzik wondered why. A similar format featuring Donald Trump on CNN was supposed to be taken by broadcasters as a clear message that nothing can be gained from giving a platform to bombasts and conspiracy theorists. Trump had played to the gallery and taken control of the debate, interrupting and haranguing the weak presenter. Fact-checking ‘quackery’ on a live show is futile. 

Although RFK is up to around 20 per cent in polling as a challenger to Biden, Hiltzik belittled him as ‘a fringe candidate for the Democratic Party nomination’. He suggested ulterior motives: ‘perhaps News Nation is trying to assume the mantle of Fox News as a dispenser of right-wing twaddle, or (to be more charitable) of CNN as a sober neutral voice’.  To regard (actually, to disregard) CNN as a fair, unbiased medium shows how once-trusted organs such as the Los Angeles Times have become polarised. 

RFK performed in a controlled setting, before a small audience in Chicago, but Hiltzik complained that moderator Elizabeth Vargas was ‘ill-equipped to counter Kennedy’s elaborate web of misinformation about vaccines’. Actually, Vargas did not raise the topic of vaccines until near the end of the debate. This should have come first, Hiltzik averred, ‘because Kennedy’s anti-vaccination stance is a major element of his presidential campaign . . . that’s what makes him a public health hazard’.

As a business editor, Hiltzik is unlikely to have a fraction of the knowledge gained by RFK on vaccines over decades of research. But he felt qualified to rebut the claims of the Democrat pretender. After denying that he is ‘anti-vaccine’, Kennedy asserted that vaccines should be tested like other medicines, but ‘of 72 vaccine doses mandated for American children, not one has ever been subjected to a prelicensing placebo-controlled trial’. ‘Yes, they have,’ Vargas responded. But Hiltzik was exasperated by the host’s failure to ‘catch Kennedy’s deceptive sleight of hand’.  RFK is wrong, according to Hiltzik, as a placebo such as an inert saline injection would be unethical; instead, a new product needs only to perform better than an existing vaccine, not by depriving study participants of potentially life-saving immunisation.  Naïve to this Big Pharma stitch-up, Hiltzik believes the propaganda that vaccines have ‘all gone through phased trials mandated by the Food and Drug Administration to determine their safety and gauge their efficacy.’

Quite reasonably, RFK told the New Nation audience that vaccines should be properly tested for long-term risks. Hiltzik scoffed: ‘Does he mean one year? Five years? Thirty years? Some diseases take that long after exposure to manifest themselves. Is 30 years an appropriate period to wait?’

Kennedy focused on two specific vaccines. There is considerable evidence of the chickenpox vaccine, mandated for children in every state of the US, causing outbreaks of shingles in adulthood. Googling it, Hiltzik found the predictable array of pro-vaccine medical authorities denying any link between the vaccine and this painful rash. 

The second vaccine of concern was for hepatitis B, a disease transmitted through sexual contact or bodily fluids. RFK asked why this is mandated for young children, but Hiltzik glibly explained that a mother of unknown infection could pass the virus to her newborn.  There will always be a reason to jab kids against every known pathogen.

As Hiltzik explained, ‘while speaking deceptively, he [Kennedy] comes off as earnest — a skill that Donald Trump hasn’t mastered’. The lesson that the media must learn is that ‘there’s no way that even a determined interviewer can fight back against deception and deceit when it’s dispensed by the torrent’. Doing their duty for the establishment, influential broadcasters and newspapers are demanding censorship of presidential candidates: in a functioning democracy this would be so intolerable as to justify removal of their licences. When the establishment threw everything but the kitchen sink at Trump, this proved to his supporters that the system is rigged.

Although best known for his views on vaccines, RFK is causing most trouble through his opposition to the military-industrial complex, a term coined by Dwight Eisenhower in a warning to the American people three days before leaving the White House in 1961. His successor John F Kennedy (RFK’s uncle) delivered his ‘Peace Speech’ in June 1963, conveying his intent to end the arms race and build peaceful stability with Russia. Such outspoken resistance to the generals and CIA may have been the final straw that led to his assassination five months later in Dallas. The US and Nato empire have been waging wars ever since.

Hiltzik had little to say about Kennedy’s contrary views on Ukraine. It is hard to discredit pacifism as ‘disinformation’, never mind ‘dangerous’. But as shown by the ferocity of establishment attacks on Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump, the one topic that is definitely out of bounds is military interventionism. RFK is an imperfect but compassionate and conscientious man. It is grossly insensitive for journalists to describe the son of a murdered father and nephew of a murdered uncle as a mortal hazard.  

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