Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information, therefore fact checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources. See all Conspiracy-Pseudoscience sources.
- Overall, we rate The Highwire a Strong Conspiracy as well as a Quackery level Pseudoscience site based on the routine promotion of unproven claims. We also rate them Low for factual reporting due to promoting propaganda not aligned with the consensus of science as well as several failed fact checks.
Factual Reporting: LOW
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2004 by Del Matthew Bigtree, The Highwire is the website for his internet radio program of the same name. The website publishes alternative health and medical news that frequently promotes pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.
Del Bigtree is an American television and film producer, and CEO of the anti-vaccination group Informed Consent Action Network, who produced the film Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe based on the discredited views of Andrew Wakefield on an alleged connection between vaccines and autism.
The website does not have an about page, however, Mr. Bigtree describes himself as follows: “Del Bigtree is one of the preeminent voices of the Vaccine Risk Awareness Movement. His career as an Emmy winning producer of the CBS talk show The Doctors changed abruptly when he produced the documentary VAXXED, which is credited with igniting a revolution against Pharmaceutical Tyranny around the world.”
Funded by / Ownership
The Highwire does not openly disclose ownership, however, it is presumed to be owned by Del Bigtree and funded through the Informed Consent Action Network via donations.
Analysis / Bias
In review, the primary purpose of this website is to promote anti-vaccination propaganda and health misinformation. Besides Bigtree, the website also publishes articles by Jefferey Jaxen whose writing has been featured in discredited sources such as RT, Natural News, InfoWars, Collective-Evolution, Waking Times, Om Times, and countless others.”
Recently, The Highwire has been covering the Covid-19 pandemic with articles that utilize strongly loaded wording such as this BREAKING: REMDESIVIR STUDY “A SHAM”. This article links directly to a video segment of The Highwire radio program. The Highwire routinely downplays the Coronavirus and has published debunked information regarding death totals such as this: SHOULD WE TRUST THE COVID-19 CASE COUNT?. This story promotes the conspiracy that Doctors and hospitals are recording more Corona deaths to receive more money. While it is true that the use of ventilators costs more and that Medicare reimburses 20% more, however, the claim’s suggestion is that the number of COVID-19 cases is being padded is not proven; but rather evidence indicates the cases are being undercounted.
As mentioned above the primary purpose of this website is to promote anti-vaccination propaganda. The Highwire frequently promotes the debunked claim that vaccines cause autism such as this: Denialists & Gatekeepers: While CDC Ignores Autism Crisis, Experts Busy ‘Debunking’ Alternative Therapies. Further, they also promote cures for autism, which have zero scientific evidence to support the claim such as this: Autism ‘could one day be treated with a probiotic pill’. Currently, there isn’t a known cure for Autism and this headline is grossly misleading as probiotics cannot cure autism, however, it has been shown to improve gastrointestinal health in those with autism.
Failed Fact Checks
- “There are no studies that prove vaccines don’t cause autism” – Inaccurate
- “Toxic vaccine ingredients in the MMR vaccine cause encephalopathy” – Inaccurate
- “2019 novel coronavirus contains “pShuttle-SN” sequence proving laboratory origin” – Inaccurate
Overall, we rate The Highwire a Strong Conspiracy as well as a Quackery level Pseudoscience site based on the routine promotion of unproven claims. We also rate them Low for factual reporting due to promoting propaganda not aligned with the consensus of science as well as several failed fact checks. (D. Van Zandt 5/9/2020)