OptOut News recently published an original report with co-founder Walker Bragman’s Important Context newsletter revealing details about a shadowy COVID-19 misinformation hub called the Brownstone Institute. That story has made an impact.

We found that, despite Brownstone’s framing of its fight against vaccines and other public safety measures as anti-elitist, just nine large donations comprised most of the group’s funding in 2021. We also highlighted Brownstone’s role in promoting extremism, including the fact that Paul Alexander, a former Trump science adviser who called for the hanging of Anthony Fauci and other public health officials, was a Brownstone fellow.

Within days of our story, the institute appeared to have fired Alexander. It removed him from the list of 2023 fellows on its website and from a post announcing the fellows for the year. While Alexander and Brownstone’s founder (who once worked for a neo-Confederate hate group) did not return our requests for comment, Alexander wrote an angry post on his blog about our story.

The well-funded Brownstone Institute is still out there spreading fear and misinformation about the pandemic, but at least its craziest fellow is no longer helping them do it.

If you think this kind of accountability journalism is important, please consider becoming an OptOut member so we can continue fighting misinformation and its purveyors.

Thank you!

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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