As the country scrambles to vaccinate its population amid the COVID–19 pandemic, one prominent medical professional is facing scrutiny for his fear–mongering tactics and the subsequent lack of public trust in scientists.
Peter Hotez, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, has been a vocal proponent of both masks and lockdowns throughout the pandemic and recently backed down from a challenge to debate one of the top–performing podcasters, Joe Rogan.
The trouble began when Hotez failed to respond to Rogan’s invitation to appear on his podcast to discuss the COVID–19 vaccine with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — a noted anti–vaxxer.
What followed was a wave of public criticism for Hotez, who opted to appear on MSNBC rather than debate his critics — an outcome that many view as a sign of the widening rift between the public and the scientific community.
Such criticism is understandable, according to Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, who believes that someone like Hotez needs to be held accountable for his fear–mongering tactics.
“At the end of the day, science is only as credible as the people behind it. Fear–mongering is bad for credibility, and unfortunately, it appears as though Hotez indulged in it for a bit too long,” Pavlich said.
“This kind of behavior only serves to undermine trust between the public and the scientific community, and it proves once again why it’s important to know one’s limits and not muddle rhetoric with science.”
Unfortunately, it appears that Hotez’s legacy will be one of dwindling public trust in the scientific community. His refusal to take part in the debate with Rogan and RFK Jr. suggests a less–than–honest fight for the truth, something that he never comes across as having any stake in.
If we are to restore public trust in the scientific community, then someone like Hotez must take responsibility for their role in eroding that trust in the first place. People need to see a public rebuke of his fear–mongering and lack of self–awareness, or else the damage will linger long after the pandemic ends.