RFK Jr. is building a presidential campaign around conspiracy theories

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has built his presidential campaign challenging President Biden for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination around debunked conspiracy theories and misleading claims.

Controversial Claims: Kennedy’s assertions range from misleading claims linking Wi-Fi to cancer, antidepressants to school shootings, and chemicals in water to transgender children.
* He has been especially vocal about his disproven belief that vaccines cause autism and that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they are designed to prevent.
* Kennedy argues that the attempts to fact-check or criticize his theories amount to censorship.

Campaign details: His campaign is hinged on convincing supporters that the government, pharmaceutical companies and media are lying to them while he is speaking the truth.
* Kennedy’s presidential run appears to be fuelled by the increase in popularity he and the anti-vaccination movement experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
* The Kennedy campaign did not respond to inquiries from NPR for the article.

Conspiracy Theories and Politics: Kennedy joins a list of politicians who have propagated conspiracy theories before him.
* Donald Trump popularized birtherism and the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
* Kennedy’s own list of claims include his assertions that Republicans stole the 2004 election, 5G networks are used for mass surveillance, and the CIA assassinated his uncle.

The Social Media Influence: Despite being named one of the top spreaders of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and being banned on social media platforms, his campaign has seen increased exposure and appeal among anti-vaccine advocates, far-right conspiracy theorists, and Silicon Valley leaders.
* His framing of the vaccine safety debate as a censorship issue appeals to his supporters.
* Kennedy’s campaign strategy involves widespread use of podcast appearances, a medium where he often shares misleading or false claims and is seldom challenged.

View original article on NPR

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