ISD researchers Aoife Gallagher and Clara Martiny feature in Newsweek‘s profile on Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., speaking on the influential role the now presidential candidate has had within the anti-vaccine world, the impact the pandemic had on his popularity and how his presidential bid may increase his reach into mainstream audiences.
“For Kennedy and others in the anti-vaccine world, the pandemic hugely increased their visibility and influence,” they said. “It also helped to cement the role of CHD (Children’s Health Defense, a group of which he is the board chair and chief legal adviser) as one of the leading organisations in the anti-vaccine movement and spread the movement to an international audience.”
“The CHD was behind a variety of anti-vaccine protests once the COVID-19 vaccine was unrolled worldwide. It often partnered with activists who had made a name for themselves in the anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown and conspiratorial spaces online over 2020 and 2021.”
Now that that Kennedy has launched his campaign, it is highly likely that his narratives reach a larger, less niche audience.
“Kennedy’s presidential bid will certainly give him the opportunity to spread his views to a new and more mainstream audience. He has built an empire for himself in the anti-vaccine world by using his clout as a Kennedy and he will be able to build on this further during the campaign.”