Right-wing rag Newsmax has sidelined its White House correspondent Emerald Robinson over tweets claiming the Covid-19 vaccines contained a bioluminescent marker called “luciferase” that somehow or another acted as a tracker. This isn’t true.
Robinson posted the since-deleted Tweet on Monday, it read, “Dear Christians: the vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called LUCIFERASE so that you can be tracked. Read the last book of the New Testament to see how this ends.” She was likely making reference to the end times war involving Lucifer in the Book of Revelations and the “Mark of the Beast” that some Christians believe will be mandatory for buying goods during the apocalypse. Twitter temporarily locked Robinson’s account over “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” according to The Daily Beast. Robinson has just over 438,000 Twitter followers.
Like much of the Covid-19 vaccine misinformation, there is a kernel of truth nestled deep down between mounds of detritus. Luciferase is indeed a real enzyme that can produce light, something regularly seen in fireflies. The enzyme was reportedly used in Covid-19 research but is not an active material in the actual vaccines people receive. The name is derived from the original Latin word for Lucifer, which Merriam Webster notes translates to “light-bearing,” but isn’t intended to be linked with Satan or any other derivation of the Prince of Darkness. Again, it’s an enzyme…commonly found in fireflies. There’s also no evidence the aforementioned devil can use luciferase to track people.
Robinson’s Claims were debunked and disputed widely, but most importantly they were rejected by Newsmax themselves. In a statement sent to The Daily Beast, Newsmax said it does “not believe the vaccines contain any toxic materials or tracking markers, and such false claims have never been reported on.”
A separate statement from Newsmax’s executive vice president and chief content officer Elliot Jacobson told the Washington Post:
Newsmax is a strong proponent that Covid 19 vaccines are overarchingly safe and effective. while at the same time raising concerns that mandates infringe on personal liberty and privacy. We have seen no evidence to suggest LUCIFERASE or LUCIFERIN are present in any vaccines or that they are used as any sort bioluminescent marker.
In a statement sent to Gizmodo, a Newsmax spokesperson said the company “is currently reviewing the posts and during that period Ms. Robinson will not be on air but continue with duties for the network.”
Newsmax’s distancing of itself from Robinson’s claims comes just a day after it and One America News Network find themselves added to a massive defamation lawsuit launched by voting technology company Smartmatic. That suit, filed in Delaware, accused Newsmax of publishing, “dozens of reports indicating that Smartmatic participated in a criminal conspiracy to rig and steal the 2020 U.S. election.”
That lawsuit, should not be confused with the $US1.73 ($AU2) billion defamation claim that Dominion Voting Systems filed against Newsmax in August.
Walking the fine line between viewers’ favourite conspiracy theories and defensible free speech just keeps getting harder for the folks at Newsmax.