Moderna, the pharmaceutical powerhouse that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, has reportedly employed a former FBI analyst to head a 'disinformation department.' The department's primary role is to gather internal reports on celebrities known for their public criticism of mandatory vaccination. The list of these 'high-risk' figures includes tennis legend Novak Djokovic, tech tycoon Elon Musk, and actor-turned-activist Russell Brand.
Moderna's Disinformation Department
Under the leadership of Nicki Rutman, a seasoned FBI analyst with two decades of experience, Moderna's disinformation department is said to closely monitor the discourse on vaccines across news outlets and online platforms. The aim is to identify narratives that could potentially undermine public trust in vaccines' safety and efficacy.
High-Risk Celebrities and Their Influence
Reports compiled by the department include one titled 'Djokovic, the anointed anti-vaccine hero, after winning the US Open.' Djokovic's vocal stance against vaccination barred him from competing in the 2021 and 2022 US Open tournaments. However, his subsequent return and victory sparked concerns among Moderna's executives. The company, being a sponsor of the US Open, feared that opponents of vaccines might celebrate Djokovic's triumph.
Elon Musk, the world's wealthiest man, was flagged as 'high-risk' after he expressed doubts about the vaccine's efficacy on his social media platform, X. His influence carries the potential to propagate a narrative that can seed skepticism about credible sources of vaccine information.
Russell Brand, known for his popular podcast, was also a focal point due to his anti-vaccine stance. He has been critical of pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of profiteering during the pandemic.
Risk Assessment and Monitoring
These reports are categorized by risk levels ranging from 'low' to 'high-risk,' according to independent journalists Lee Fang and Jack Poulson, as cited by the New York Post. Moderna's global intelligence department, from which the disinformation department stems, has also contracted a tech firm to monitor vaccine-related content across 150 million websites.
Moderna's initiative underscores the immense influence celebrities wield in shaping public opinion, especially in matters of critical public health importance such as vaccination. It also sheds light on the lengths to which companies will go to protect their interests and maintain public trust in their products.