Collaborated with ex-FBI and Secret Service analysts to influence online discourse
By Jason Cohen
Daily Caller News Foundation
Pharmaceutical giant Moderna tracked the content of popular media personalities who were critical of the COVID-19 vaccine seeking to censor what the company deemed as “misinformation,” according to an investigation published Tuesday.
Moderna monitored the content of independent journalist Alex Berenson, comedian Russell Brand and journalist Michael Shellenberger, to search for so-called vaccine misinformation, according to an investigation published by RealClearInvestigations and independent journalist Lee Fang. It is the second part of an investigation first published in November that revealed Moderna’s marketing department collaborated with former FBI and Secret Service analysts to influence online vaccines discourse.
Moderna worked with the Public Good Projects (PGP), a pharmaceutical industry-backed nonprofit, to collaborate with governments and social media platforms to police vaccine “misinformation” online, part one of the investigation found. The organization’s website lists “media monitoring” and “misinformation alerts” as some of its services.
It distributes talking points to a network of 45,000 healthcare professionals as well as “advice on how to respond when vaccine misinformation goes mainstream,” according to an internal Moderna email uncovered in part one of the investigation.
Berenson published a post Moderna flagged in September that pointed out that Center for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) data indicated that among 1 million teenagers who received mRNA vaccines, there would be no more than one COVID death prevented, and there would be between 100,000 and 200,000 side effects, according to the investigation. Moderna included Berenson’s post in a report titled, “Attacks on pediatric COVID-19 vaccines escalate,” asserting he “cherry-picked data” and his post was “high-risk” in terms of threatening rates of child COVID-19 vaccination.
“Fears about side effects and long-term dangers are major reasons parents report not vaccinating their children,” the report noted, adding “resistance to COVID-19 vaccines for children can be a gateway to broader anti-vaccine beliefs,” the investigation found.
Reports about Brand indicated Moderna was monitoring him due to his “large platform with over 6.6 million YouTube subscribers and over 21 million followers across multiple social media platforms,” and because his “videos are widely circulated in anti-vaccine spaces where he is viewed as a truth-teller and threat to authority,” according to the investigation.
One report about the comedian asserted that Brand “claimed that COVID-19 vaccine mandates were based on a lie in a recent podcast episode,” the investigation found. The company suggested it was “monitoring” the episode with PGP.
Moderna and PGP did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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