Each fall, Oklahoma lawmakers host what they call “interim studies” to look into issues that may be addressed in the upcoming legislative session.
Although the intended purpose of these studies is to educate, inform and provide a comprehensive look at an issue before it gets entangled in legislation, they usually serve as nothing more than an opportunity for lawmakers to advance their own ideology and agenda, and placate donors, constituents and special interests groups in the process.
For example, State Rep. Sean Roberts – one of the leading members of the Oklahoma Derplahoman Caucus – recently held an interim study on public health and the pandemic response. Instead of inviting an epidemiologist or public health expert to speak at the event, he chose a couple of nutty conservative troll-docs who have made names for themselves in the local anti-vaxxer/q-anon conspiracy scene.
Via a Briana “Rearviewmirror” Bailey article in The Frontier:
An ophthalmologist paraded a series of internet conspiracy theories and unproven health claims before state lawmakers at a hearing at the Oklahoma Capitol this week — including that masks are ineffective at slowing the spread of the virus and that people of color need more vitamin D in their diets to prevent them from contracting COVID-19.
Instead of an epidemiologist or virologist, State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, who chairs the House of Representatives’ public health committee, invited two doctors who are vocal supporters of the anti-vaccine movement to speak at an informational hearing on Oklahoma’s response to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
That’s cool! I wonder if they also shared some medical advice for the upcoming Civil War? I’m sure that’s an issue our lawmakers will take very seriously this spring.
Naturally, the liberal social media echo chamber flipped out about this. I can see why. It is kind of disturbing to have a lawmaker invite physicians who believe in discredited conspiracy theories to the State Capital to peddle those same discredited conspiracy theories to other lawmakers.
Then again, it’s not like this is anything new. We already have an anti-vaxxer governor, and an anti-vaxxer day at the capital, so we might as well have some snake oil peddling docs who both adhere to and profit off conspiracy theories to come to the capitol and confirm everyone’s beliefs.
Or better yet, six other people’s beliefs.
Anyway, you can read more about this over at The Frontier. Tell them TLO sent you.