It took a couple of years after 9/11 for the pseudo-documentary Loose Change to come out. But in 2020, with nineteen years of technological advances and the rise of social media, a conspirozoid movie about the COVID-19 pandemic is going viral just months after the virus appeared.
A slickly produced 26-minute video called Plandemic has exploded on social media in recent days, claiming to present a view of COVID-19 that differs from the “official” narrative.
The video has been viewed millions of times on YouTube via links that are replaced as quickly as the video-sharing service can remove them for violating its policy against “COVID-19 misinformation.”
In it, filmmaker Mikki Willis conducts an uncritical interview with Judy Mikovits, who he says has been called “one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation.”
Never heard of her? You’re not alone.
Two prominent scientists with backgrounds in AIDS research and infectious diseases, who asked not to be identified over concerns of facing a backlash on social media, told NPR that they did not know who she was.
And who is the esteemed Dr. Mikovits? You guessed it: a crank.
When Judy Mikovits co-wrote a 2009 research paper that linked the mysterious condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome to a retrovirus that came from mice, thousands of sick patients hoping for relief rallied behind her. The scientific riddle was solved, they thought.
Less than two years later, those hopes were dashed when follow-up studies failed to replicate the findings and the respected journal “Science” retracted the paper. Researchers posited that the study’s inaccurate conclusions were the result of contamination of the lab samples, and the theory that a virus might be the source of the still-mysterious condition died.
But Mikovits’s conviction that her theory was correct, and her belief that the top scientific minds in the United States conspired to ruin her career, never faded.
She has now accused the scientific establishment of conspiracy again. In a film called “Plandemic,” and in a recently published book that topped the Amazon bestsellers chart this week, she makes a bizarre and false claim: that the doctors and experts shaping public policy in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic have silenced dissenting voices and misled the public for sinister reasons.
She falsely claims that wealthy people intentionally spread the virus to increase vaccination rates and that wearing face masks is harmful.
After her legal mess, Mikovits wrote her first book with anti-vaccine advocate Kent Heckenlively in 2014, called “Plague.” Their second book, “Plague of Corruption,” was published by Skyhorse Publishing this year and was listed as No. 1 on Amazon’s bestsellers list as recently as Friday morning, beating out presales for Stephanie Meyer’s upcoming addition to the massively successful “Twilight” series.
Much more about the film’s half-truths, errors and blatant lies here. Unfortunately, I’ve seen several people who should know better (and also many idiots) sharing the movie on Facebook.
The best-case scenario is that this kind of burns out like the “9/11 Truth” movement did. But considering that “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield still has followers despite being as discredited as it’s possible to be discredited, the virus troofers are likely to plague us for years to come. No pun intended.
In Australia they think they know the culprit. (To be fair I’m also in favor of arresting Bill Gates, but for Windows 95.)