With the resignation of off-the-wall science advisor Scott Atlas, Donald Trump’s position as his administration’s No. 1 purveyor of disinformation is safe.
Atlas, a neuroradiologist without any training in infectious diseases, blasted the need for masks and lockdowns as ways to stop the spread the COVID-19. He also dismissed the testing of asymptomatic people.
He was rebuked by Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, and Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force.
Stanford University, where Atlas holds a post at its Hoover Institution think tank, felt the need to distance itself from the White House science advisor, issuing a statement that his views “are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic.”
That didn't stop Atlas.
In his Dec. 1 resignation letter, he remained true to his misinformation ways, writing: “I always relied on the latest science and evidence, without political considerations or influence.”
He noted that while some disagreed with his recommendations, “It is the free exchange of ideas that lead to scientific truths, which are the foundations of any civilized society.
“Indeed, I cannot think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more important.”
Humbled by COVID-19, the US heartily agrees that it is vital to safeguard science in order to beat the pandemic. That is why we are so happy to see Atlas hit the road.
As Atlas mercifully fades from public consciousness, Trump reigns supreme in the misinformation game.
The Cornell Alliance for Science found media mentions of Trump regarding COVID-19 made up by far the largest share of the misinformation market. Trump mentions comprised 37.9 percent of the misinformation conversation from Jan. 1 to May 26.
The Alliance concluded that Trump is the largest driver of COVID-19 misinformation.
It has not tabulated Trump’s hundreds of claims about the “stolen election” or “rigged votes.”
That tally would be another feather in the president's misinformation hat.