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David Fuller: An example of journalistic incompetence and deceit on COVID-19

The following is an important guest article by Dr Scott McLachlan. A pdf version can be found here.

David Fuller: An example of how unqualified ‘journalists’ attempt to discredit and silence anybody publishing COVID-19 research that challenges the ‘official narrative’

Scott McLachlan


On 12 August 2021 David Fuller wrote a long article[1] attempting to discredit the work of those who have challenged the ‘official’ narrative on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and alternative treatments. His article claims to be a detailed investigation into two independent journalists who produce the Dark Horse podcast[2] - Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, as well as several of their on-air guests[3]. However, the article quickly descends into a polemic aimed at others including Dr Pierre Kory, myself and co-authors of this paper. As I will show here, when challenged about the personal attacks against me in the article, Fuller claimed he had never heard of me; when it was pointed out to him that his article contained an extensive attack against me he then tried to extricate himself from this by saying that he was not responsible for writing it - despite him being the sole named author.

Here I expand on three Twitter threads I posted on August 19[4], August 20[5], and August 22[6] in response to Fuller’s hit piece.

Who is David Fuller?

David Fuller, is a “writer and journalist” who produces documentaries mainly for Channel 4 and the BBC[7]. Fuller started his own website called Rebel Wisdom[8] in 2018, which he describes as a platform for philosophical, transformational and cultural topics[9]. The website asserts that he blogs “frequently about politics, and the inner world”, but the link provided on that statement ( takes you to the page shown in Fig. 1. We might be given to wonder who Samuel Hinton is and why a URL containing David Fuller’s name lands on an empty account for Mr Hinton - but this isn’t the only incongruity we will see in the writings and claims of David Fuller.

Figure 1: The @davidfuller page on Medium

Fuller claims to be engaged in a self-mediated truth-finding exercise he calls SenseMaking. However, from the outset his efforts are no different to those who have recently self-appointed themselves as ‘fact checkers’ - journalists often armed with little more qualification than a liberal arts or English literature degree who, for no other reason than the fact that they have found a platform, have decided they know more than clinicians, researchers and professors with far more appropriate qualifications in medicine, health science, health informatics, health law, mathematics or statistics. Often, these SenseMakingfact checkers’ do little more than cross-link each other’s articles as ‘supporting evidence’ to debunk, discredit or deny what can sometimes be rigorously researched findings that run counter to the mainstream media’s COVID-19 narrative. And when they have nothing legitimate to support their views, ‘fact checkers’ like Fuller resort to indirect insults by linking to statements made by anonymous social media posters (Fig. 2 & 3) like uberfeminist described as the nastiest and vilest around (Fig. 4), which Fuller happily cites as though they are authoritative sources.

Figure 2: A typical post by the anonymous Twitter account @UberFeminist (UF)

Figure 3: A post in the @UberFeminist (UF) thread linked by David Fuller in his article

Figure 4: One of many posts describing @UberFeminist (UF) and another linked Twitter account (Yuri) cited in Fuller's article

Fuller’s claims about our work

Fuller’s claims relate primarily to this article [10] in which I was the lead author with five other named co-authors. The article was a detailed analysis of a subset of the initial publicly available data (from VAERS) on vaccine adverse reaction. The article currently has over 89,000 reads on ResearchGate.

Media narrative, fact checking and Tucker Carlson in the ‘lead in’

Fuller opens his criticism of our work with the statement:

There hasn’t been a systematic response to the paper’s more detailed claims, but there are reasons to be suspicious[11].

He follows this imputation, presumably to demonstrate one of the alleged reasons, by stating:

Much of the lead-in to the paper is highly opinionated, a polemic against ‘the media narrative and fact-checking’ that mentions Tucker Carlson and several tweets the authors find objectionable.

This reproachful claim is deceptive and misleading.

First, nowhere in the ‘lead-in’ to our article do we mention Tucker Carlson. Nor do we discuss the media narrative or fact checkers. While these terms do arise in our paper, they only occur in the final paragraphs of the work. They occur in that area most academic works regard as the discussion, and have absolutely no bearing on the method or results already presented in the leading sections of the paper.

The characterisation by Fuller that we discuss these items in a manner highly opinionated and as a polemic is also wrong. Our crime, in Fuller’s estimation, appears to be that we lift the veil on who exactly the so-called fact checkers really are. That the vast majority, like him, are journalists lacking relevant qualifications in the often highly technical, clinical and contested domains they claim to be fact checking[12]. We make very clear that the reason we mention Carlson is because he is the only major TV presenter to have asked the following obvious questions about the same VAERS data we were analysing:

  • How many people have died after taking [this medication]?

  • What are the potential risks from taking [this medication]?

  • What do we really know about the potential risks from taking [this medication]?

We simply pointed out that these were appropriate questions to ask and did not comment on anything else said in Carlson’s piece to camera.

Our ‘credentials’

In addition to trying to discredit our research of the basis of what he assumes our political beliefs to be, Fuller impugns our credentials. He writes:

The paper is a preprint... and it’s authors don’t seem to have the best credentials, either.

He doesn’t support this claim either directly in its own paragraph, or even in the next paragraph. He leaves this claim hanging as if presenting knowledge that is either notorious or a fait accompli.

For the record, before gaining my PhD in computer science and health informatics I gained separate Masters degrees in Science and Law, which in turn had followed previous undergraduate study in health (clinical nursing), computer and information sciences. I am extensively published in the area of health informatics and health data analysis. These would seem to be relevant qualifications for someone analysing and commenting on what is a large health reporting dataset.

My co-authors hold a variety of similarly relevant top-shelf qualifications. Fenton is world-renowned expert in probabilistic risk assessment[13] and is Professor of Risk and Information Management at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Osman holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology and is currently a Reader in Experimental Psychology at QMUL. Dube holds a PhD in Computer Science and has researched and published extensively in health informatics and the privacy and ethical issues of using patient data. Chiketero is a Registered Nurse with more than a decade of experience. Choi holds Honours and Master’s degrees in Health Science (Health Informatics). Critically, we also had two registered doctors and a practicing midwife working with us on our analysis of the VAERS data. However, given how the GMC and NMC have publicly attacked any member who doesn’t absolutely adhere to the government and NHS narrative on COVID-19 issues, we felt it better to withdraw their names from the final preprint release to protect them and their current patients.

The paragraph of peculiar claims

In the next paragraph of his article (Fig. 5) Fuller claims that I have been taken off Twitter. This is, to say the least, grossly misleading; my account was unavailable for several days after someone with an IP address in the UK tried to hack into it which led Twitter to rightly lock the account. Shortly before the hacking attempt a complaint was apparently made by a journalist concerning posts on my account, yet no offending post was ever identified. It took several days to get Twitter staff to return the correct phone number onto the account and reset the password so that I could access it again. Given that these events all coincided with release of Fuller’s article, it may be possible that this was coordinated rather than coincidence. Either way, the claim I was taken off Twitter was exaggerated for effect, but remains completely false.

Figure 5: The 'peculiar claims' paragraph

Fuller’s justification for the other claims in this paragraph are based entirely on three inflammatory Twitter postings of UberFeminist (some of whose previous posts we showed in Figs. 2 & 3). They are shown in Figures 6-8 (all were posted on 21 July). Fuller cites these posts, seemingly without having conducted any further research of his own, to validate the wider context and ignorantly collects them together in one prolonged sentence for amplification. In each case UberFeminist, like Fuller, makes inferences about something I posted on Twitter without directly linking to my real posts (he/she uses screenshots instead). This is presumably to shield their audience from the true context and meaning of my tweets, which runs counter to the inferences both are making. UberFeminist’s posts are little more than misleading ad hominem attacks and are in no way legitimate or credible review of the content. Specifically:

1.The tweet in Fig. 6 references a response I made to a tweet that includes a link to a paper from the DANMASK trial[14] which concluded that there is insufficient evidence to suggest wearing a mask as you go about daily errands will protect you from infection, and that the prolonged mask wearing and poor mask hygiene practices of many of the general public increased the likelihood of bacterial pneumonia in the mask wearer. In the context of the wider thread from which UberFeminist deceptively pulls this one post[15], I am not making the claim myself. Rather, as above (in italics), I am simply paraphrasing conclusions drawn from the paper itself.

Figure 6: A post about prolonged mask wearing and possible increased bacterial infection

2.The post in Fig. 7 is one in which I stated a test was conducted using an unused swab which returned a positive COVID-19 result. Firstly, who is UberFeminist to say whether or not this happened, nor indeed whether or not I observed it? This anonymous malefactor cannot possibly know the answer to either of these propositions, yet he or she elevates themselves to sit in judgement of them.

Mainstream media and academic articles have variously reported that swabs taken from fruit juice[16], goats[17], soft drinks[18], flaws in brand new manufacturer-supplied lab equipment[19], unintentional laboratory contamination[20], and even unused cotton swabs[21] have all returned positive PCR test results. The test I observed in a London lab was separately repeated in overseas labs by other researchers, including a follow-up test reported by Dr Edouard Broussalian in Belgium[22]. Given that some of these have been reported in the MSM on what is presumably the same political stance as both UberFeminist and Fuller, they surely cannot be arguing that all of these instances are fabrications?

Figure 7: False positives from an unused swab

3.The third UberFeminist post Fuller draws on is one which Fuller characterises my tweets as arguing that Andrew Wakefield’s autism and vaccine paper is better than we think. Given the content in the particular screenshot UberFeminist provides, shown in Fig.8, quite a long bow must be drawn to get from the words of the post as shown to Andrew Wakefield or autism. Research during the last decade has indeed found that the bacteria in our intestinal tracts (often described as gut flora or microbia) can directly influence brain function, brain chemistry (neuro-transmitters) and mood; and that a definite relationship exists between gut flora and many psychiatric disorders