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.
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