Anti-vaccination activists have been cozying up to far-right and white supremacist groups online — and they appear to be emboldening each other.
The Daily Beast reported that as "vaccine hesitancy" represents one of the top 10 global health risks per the World Health Organization, anti-vax beliefs have been linked to populist politics in Europe.
"White supremacist website Red Ice has churned out at least 100 articles and radio clips bashing vaccines in recent years," the report, authored by the Beast's Kelly Weill, noted. "Links to those articles appear regularly in closed anti-vaxxer Facebook groups, a number of which boast more than 150,000 members."
As Weill wrote, many of the anti-vax articles on sites like Red Ice aren't overtly white supremacist — but readers who come across those pieces can end up perusing the rest of the websites that host them, ultimately benefitting the far-right ideology they promote.
"Most anti-vaxxers are not white supremacists, far from it," the Beast reported. "But the overlap can send some well-meaning parents down the rabbit hole. Far-right groups frequently engage in 'entryism,' a tactic that involves seeding a sympathetic mainstream group with extremist ideology, then slowly radicalizing its members. The tactic works well in groups like the anti-vax community."
Though anti-vax beliefs are often bipartisan and rooted in distrust of large pharmaceutical corporations, the right-wing conspiracy sites that host articles about the so-called dangers of vaccines "takes the claims further."
"Red Ice, Infowars, and their ilk build on the mistrust of pharmaceutical companies to claim vaccines are part of a world-domination scheme by a shadowy global elite," Weill wrote. "As these claims typically go, the conspiracy theory gets anti-Semitic, with white supremacists interpreting 'elite' to mean Jewish people."
Read the entire report via The Daily Beast.