right wing media
Emerald Robinson—the White House correspondent for the far-right disinformation outlet, Newsmax—stunned Twitter users earlier this week after she falsely claimed the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines contained a component called "LUCIFERASE" which she suggested was a satanic "marker" designed for tracking.
In reality, Luciferase is a naturally occurring light-producing enzyme discovered by French pharmacologist Raphaël Dubois in the late 19th century. Though evangelicals like Robinson often associate the name "Lucifer" with Satan, luciferase is named for the Latin words "lux" or "luc-," meaning light and "fer," meaning bringer, so the name for the bioluminescent material translates to "bringer of light."
Before Twitter removed Robinson's tweet from the site, users screen shotted it and shared it widely.
This is Newsmax's White House correspondentpic.twitter.com/hpmk7MXMxt— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona) 1635825448
Robinson has now been suspended from Twitter for the next week after spreading dangerous disinformation regarding the vaccines, but that isn't the end of the problems stemming from her bogus claim.
Robinson's own network disputed her claims as well, with Newsmax's executive vice president Elliot Jacobson told The Hill:
"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."
A separate statement attributed to the network said:
"Such false claims have never been reported on Newsmax."
Newsmax later announced that Robinson would be "fulfilling her duties for the network" but would remain off the air for the time being.
Twitter users were amazed at how unhinged claims must be in order to get refuted by Newsmax.
When your nutjobbery becomes a concern even by Newsmax standards, it\u2019s time to look within.https://twitter.com/erikwemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Stu Whitney (@Stu Whitney) 1636038648
When you've managed to violate Newsmax's standards for accuracy...https://twitter.com/ErikWemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Bill Grueskin (@Bill Grueskin) 1636037742
So there's the line.https://twitter.com/ErikWemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Nick Jungman (@Nick Jungman) 1636037407
They also noted that Newsmax's content isn't much less deranged than Robinson's Twitter screeds.
How was that post different from everything else she and her colleagues at Newsmax say?https://twitter.com/ErikWemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Molotovsky \ud83e\udd40 (@Molotovsky \ud83e\udd40) 1636038231
Confused. I thought this constituted blockbuster investigative work from Newsmax.https://twitter.com/erikwemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— David Simon (@David Simon) 1636036502
This morning Newsmax did extended propaganda on Jan. 6 being a "false flag" that included the dictionary definition of false flag https://twitter.com/ErikWemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/IbmsW4jTY5— Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC (@Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC) 1636036030
Some speculated Newsmax was only fact-checking Robinson because it got backlash.
Newsmax: First and foremost, the lies we tell must be believable. We have a reputation to maintain https://twitter.com/erikwemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Jack (@Jack) 1636037589
That\u2019s weird. Why would Newsmax care? My guess is they worried about liability.https://twitter.com/erikwemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— John Gordon MD (@John Gordon MD) 1636038483
As with their recanting of voting machine lies, which happened because Dominion filed lawsuits against them, I wonder which vaccine manufacturer \u2018reached out\u2019 to them.\n\n\u201cNewsmax - we\u2019ll make stuff up unless you sue\u201dhttps://twitter.com/erikwemple/status/1456252049989984257\u00a0\u2026— Peter Schamerhorn (@Peter Schamerhorn) 1636039034
It's unclear when Robinson will return on the air.