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Why Hotez is right not to debate RFK Jr. (Opinion)

By Regina Lankenau (Houston Chronicle)June 22, 2023

On June 15, RFK Jr. appeared on Joe Rogan's show, spreading misinformation about vaccines and conspiracy theories about 5G and medical misinformation. Following his criticism of this interview, vaccine and tropical disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez faced an intense harassment campaign by Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and RFK Jr. himself.

Peter Hotez is in the headlines again. It isn’t his first rodeo, but I can’t imagine the past few days have been easy. A vaccine researcher and tropical diseases expert, he became a household name for his ability to communicate clearly during the COVID pandemic and for cutting through the noise — especially that of charlatans peddling conspiracies for personal gain.

Lately, that noise has been deafening. Over the weekend, podcaster Joe Rogan gave Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. three hours of airtime, during which RFK Jr. spewed his go-to anti-vaccine talking points and conspiracy theories. From touting the long-discredited allegation that vaccines cause autism to arguing that “wifi radiation” opens our blood-brain barrier, the list of uncontested, false claims RFK Jr. made on Rogan’s show is long. Hotez retweeted a detailed Vice article that called out the misinformation. [...]

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