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Did Michael Flynn’s vaccine conspiracy theory come from misreading a Takeout article?

did-michael-flynn’s-vaccine-conspiracy-theory-come-from-misreading-a-takeout-article?

Michael Flynn at the White House

Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool (Getty Images)

I wrote a short news article the other day called “Would you eat a vaccine salad?” In it, I described some fascinating new research that scientists are conducting at the University of California-Riverside. Basically, the university researchers are looking for a way to reproduce mRNA-based vaccines within plant cells. This has a pretty striking implication: you might be able to eat a vaccine in plant form someday, like a scrumptious immunity salad. Emphasis on “might,” as this research is still in progress, and no salad-specific breakthroughs have been confirmed yet.

Yesterday, Insider reported that Michael Flynn, disgraced former national security advisor to the FBI (whom the New York Times reported as pleading guilty twice to lying to the FBI in 2017), was on a conservative podcast called Thrivetime Show, speaking to host Clay Clark about all manner of conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. At one point, Flynn started shouting about… salad dressing. You can view the video here.

“Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they’re talking about putting the vaccine in salad dressing,” he says at the beginning of the clip. “Or salads. Have you seen this? I mean it’s—and I’m thinking to myself, this is the Bizarro World, right? This is definitely the Bizarro World,” he said.

If he’s talking about the original piece about the research, posted by Study Finds (and republished by WFLA), you’ll notice those sources mention nothing about salad dressing. But in my own article on the topic, I did crack a little joke about salad dressing. Here’s how I ended the piece (bolded here for emphasis):

“Vaccine salad? That sounds delicious. Think of the possibilities. How about a Caesar or wedge vaccine with plenty of dressing? Would you like your sandwich with fries or a house vaccination instead?”

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If you heard a smacking noise ringing across the world today that sounded like a palm slapping a forehead, well, that was probably me when I read the Insider news.

Whether or not Mr. Flynn is a fan of The Takeout, let me be clear: there are no vaccines in our salad dressing (I can’t believe I’m writing this), nor are there any in your salad leaves. And to Michael Flynn, if you’re reading this, I assure you that your former employer is not force-feeding the American people Cobb salads filled with mRNA.

In fact, Mr. Flynn, if you’re going to skim Google News to gather ammunition for your baseless conspiracy theories, you’d better do it a little slower and learn how to recognize a joke when you see one. You know, before you start talking about stuff that might be construed as, oh, I don’t know, serious and willful misinformation?

Flynn appeared on the program with another guest I wouldn’t consider a vaccine expert: Andrew Sorchini, a precious metals dealer based in Beverly Hills. While that information is not a joke, it certainly reads like one.

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