On August 27, 2021, the conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com posted an article strongly promoting a “new study out of Israel” that touted natural immunity against Covid-19 over the immunity provided by vaccines. The Gateway Pundit article headline said people who have recovered from COVID-19 have more protection against the virus than people who’ve only been vaccinated. The study the website pointed to as the source of this information was the very same un-peer reviewed Israeli preprint on MedRxIv.org with a warning label that CMU President John Marshall pointed to as the basis for his August 30 “Campus Safety” email to staff promoting the protective value of natural immunity to Covid-19.
The Campus Safety email to staff stated,
“…a large observational study out of Israel demonstrated the power of the human immune system which supports what we’ve been saying all along: That naturally acquired immunity after a SARS-CoV-2 infection is highly protective against reinfection and severe disease and hospitalization.”
Same key info omitted
Coincidentally both Marshall and GatewayPundit withheld the very same key information that readers really needed know about this study: that the study had not yet been peer-reviewed, that it may contain erroneous information and that it had a warning label saying it “should not be used to guide clinical practice.” Marshall and GatewayPundit also failed to disclose the limitations of the study that its authors disclosed, specifically that they did not consider the effects of participants’ health behaviors like masking and physical distancing. And neither Marshall nor GatewayPundit mentioned the important point that the website Politifact made about the article, that “gauging immunity by comparing COVID-19 reinfection rates among the unvaccinated with breakthrough infections among the vaccinated ignores the dangers of contracting COVID-19 in the first place and the protections against severe illness that vaccines provide.” Also, neither Marshall nor GatewayPundit mentioned that the Israeli study had concluded that “individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.” [Italicized emphasis added.]
Gateway Pundit is the same right wing conspiracy theory website that posted Mesa County’s voting machine passwords
If the name “Gateway Pundit” sounds familiar, here’s why: it is the same far right wing conspiracy website that posted the passwords to Mesa County’s voting machines last month.
National Public Radio described Gateway Pundit as “a conservative news site that traffics in election conspiracy theories.” In 2017, the Washington Post described it as a “blog known for spreading hoaxes” and the New York Times called it a “pro-Trump blog.” Wikipedia describes Gateway Pundit as “a far right fake news website … known for publishing falsehoods, hoaxes and conspiracy theories,” and in February, 2021, Twitter permanently shut down the account of the Gateway Pundit’s founder, Jim Hoft, because of his efforts to try to manipulate the election.
If CMU President Marshall is really getting his medical information about Covid-19 immunity from TheGatewayPundit and not from professional immunologists, epidemiologists, virologists and other public health experts, we may all be in trouble.