Coronavirus conspiracy theorists infecting academia

Coronavirus conspiracy theorists infecting academia

The Times reports:

Prominent British academics have been sharing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus online, The Times can disclose.

They included suggestions from other social media users that Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) that meets in Davos may be involved in plots to exploit the illness and speculation that it was a biological weapon.

The academics include Tim Hayward, a professor of environmental political theory at the University of Edinburgh, and Piers Robinson, co-founder of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies (OPS), which uses the University of Bristol as an address.

Richard Benyon, a former Conservative MP who served on the home affairs select committee, said: “These are Russell Group, internationally respected universities. These people have access to the next generation of young people and are able to cast doubt about the clear realities of modern life.”

The OPS tweeted a YouTube interview last week headlined “Is Coronavirus The New 9/11?”, where Dr Robinson said it was now obvious the official story of the World Trade Centre attacks was incorrect. “The question is who was involved in influencing, arranging, and which states, including from within the US political system. And if that’s the case with 9/11 it’s perfectly possible that there are actors at play in relation to this. Some people have talked about bioweapons.”

He described Covid-19 as “a low fatality virus . . . There’s no indication that it’s significantly different from what we see with major flu outbreaks every year”, but “propagandistic information” had created “so much hype around it, there is so much fear”.

The OPS has given Companies House the address of the School of Policy Studies at Bristol, where one of its directors, David Miller, is professor of political sociology. A university spokesman said it had not been aware its premises were listed.

Another director, Mark Crispin Miller, a professor at New York University, has written that the coronavirus “may be an artificially created bioweapon”. [Continue reading…]

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