And while Morris believes that all claims about vaccine safety should be properly verified – “Is it possible that vaccines have another rare side effect that we have not yet realized? Yes, it is possible,” he told me – adding that he regularly He has tried to manipulate the evidence to make it appear that he supports the allegations baselessly.
In September, Kirsch emailed Morris asking him to estimate the maximum number of deaths due to the vaccine. “Who knows,” Morris replied. “But not 150K. And not zero.”
Kirsch immediately forwarded the exchange to me and, I suspect, to other journalists. “Bombashell: Top biostat professor admits we have no clue # John killed by covid vaccine,” he wrote. “He thinks #wax can kill anywhere between 0 and 150K people.”
Those who know Kirsh say that this is a common tactic. He is adept at debating, quickly changing the basis of conversation to put the other person on the back foot.
“He may not be a good scientist, but he’s smart,” said Feinberg of WVU. “She is OK. He can be a good snake oil seller.
I felt it myself when, in a call, we discussed several studies. Kirsch told me that “meta-analyzes are evidence of a higher level than randomized controlled trials.” When I replied that meta-analyzes are as good information as they are based on, he said “I want to understand your source, because I can’t find a source that says that the greater proof of a Phase 3 trial than a meta-analysis.” ”
“When you identify me, you have to say that Steve Kirs did not go to the majority vote to interpret the data.”
While combining the results of several well-planned tests to reinforce an argument or find invisible patterns in small samples, a meta-analysis is the sum of its parts; Any single well-performed test is more effective than a combination of several poorly performed results. Yet, at the moment, his question threw me off, and I stammered.
Perhaps Kirsch’s most effective strategy, though, is simply to surpass his will to everyone else. During our first conversation, which turned into a multi-hour zoom session, Kirsh held his phone to chest level through the rooms of his cave house, rarely looking at the camera. Thirty minutes after our scheduled time ended, he dropped his phone into his Tesla cupholder so he could talk while running a task.
“When you need to do my character, you have to tell me not to go with the majority vote when it comes to interpreting Steve Kirs data,” when he asked me about his views on ivermectin, he told me it was a silver bullet against Covid. “If you want me to find someone to argue for ten thousand dollars or a thousand dollars, I’m happy to do it, just for your benefit.”
Finally, a press correspondent who was listening, David Sutterfield unmuted his microphone and suggested that we end our conversation via email. After I finished the zoom meeting, Sutterfield called me to apologize for separating us. “I was just getting tired,” he said before speaking off the record.
A mesh of influence
It doesn’t matter if Kirs’s views on vaccination were personal or shared with a limited audience. But as Kirsch struggles with experts he initially surrounded himself, he has become increasingly close to others who share his views on the vaccine – who have provided a large and acceptable audience for his claims about the fluvoxamine conspiracy.
His appearance in an episode of the anti-covid-vaccine, Ivermectin scholar Brett Weinstein’s Dark Horse podcast, with Robert Malone, a well-known source of vaccine misinformation, introduced Kirsch to followers of the “intellectual Dark Web” who have since embraced the truth. He also made several videos and podcasts with Vladimir Zelenko, a conspiracy theorist doctor who persuaded Trump to take hydroxychloroquine.
Although YouTube has repeatedly removed the entire video of the Dark Horse episode, various clips have been viewed 4 million times and full audio is available on Spotify.