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How Didier Raoult became the new face of the conspirators

Professor Didier Raoult, at the IHU in Marseille, on February 26. GERARD JULIEN / AFP

They do not tell us everything. They hide things from us. Someone had a vested interest in this happening. For three weeks, and the accelerated development of the Covid-19 epidemic in France, the little conspiratorial music has not stopped rising.

A virus that hits older people the hardest? It is a government conspiracy to resolve pension problems. Containment? A pretext for a military coup, when social protest was in full swing. Lack of vaccines, treatment, masks? Again, a conspiracy hatched by the European Union, China, the government, this or that company.

But for the past week, it has been the personality of Professor Didier Raoult which has focused the attention of more or less assumed conspirators. The media coverage and scientific debates surrounding the treatment with hydroxychloroquine, practiced by this doctor in Marseille, caused a gigantic draft in the conspiracy spheres. Why then is this treatment, supported by certain political figures like the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, not generalized?

Also read: Estrosi, Boyer, Vassal … The right takes up the cause for Professor Didier Raoult

Rather than delving into the details of the medical reservations relating to the treatment protocol followed by Mr. Raoult – the first results of which are far from being unanimous in the scientific community -, a ready-made explanation has arisen in the spaces of Most radical online discussion: that of a plot in the pharmaceutical industry, most often with a strong anti-Semitic connotation. “Can't the Jews make money with it?” Delete it », wrote a user of 4chan / b /, a popular forum for the English-speaking extreme right, in a thread explaining that hydroxychloroquine is cheap.

Omission of scientific reserves

The spread of these theories is far from being limited to forums. A column by Gilbert Collard, published on March 24 on YouTube but also on the Rassemblement national (RN) site, thus takes up several key elements of conspiracy theories in vogue on the coronavirus (including its alleged “military” origin), without ever state them explicitly.

In his text analysis for the site Conspiracy Watch, historian Valérie Igounet explains that MEP RN “Use a well-known conspiracy rhetoric here to point out allegedly disturbing coincidences”. And omits to mention the scientific reservations on the protocol used by Dr. Raoult, as well as certain proven facts, in particular that the classification of chloroquine into poisonous substance has nothing to do with the pandemic – the decision dated from there is more than a year. The former MP, however, takes care to clarify that the former husband of Agnes Buzyn is one of the sons of Simone Veil.

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