The Impersonator: Eric Feigl-Ding, COVID-19, and an implicit far-left agenda

How a nutritionist turned politician became a "COVID-19 expert."

If you’re on social media and you follow news related to the coronavirus pandemic, chances are you’ve stumbled upon some panicked pandemic posts coming from a man named Eric Feigl-Ding, a nutritionist and longtime democrat political operative who has succeeded in impersonating a medical professional, and is generating a cult following in the process.

With one hysterical tweet after another, Feigl-Ding went from having a small social media following to accumulating a massive army of influence. Feigl-Ding’s consistent elevation of fear and panic, doom and gloom, and his relentless themes of chaos and destruction related to a virus with a 99.8% recovery rate has brought his accounts millions of clicks and views, and hundreds of thousands of new followers.

And he did it all without having a clue what he’s talking about.

The ‘Charlatan’

At the beginning of 2020, Feigl-Ding was an unpaid, visiting scientist in Harvard’s nutrition department. His academic research centered entirely around nutrition, diet, and exercise. If Eric Feigl-Ding was interested in pandemics and the study of viruses, his research and academic credentials did not reflect that.

When the coronavirus pandemic began to make waves in the media, everything changed. Feigl-Ding, an aspiring politician, appeared to see an opening to influence the masses and build up his brand.

Feigl-Ding’s rise to coronavirus stardom began with this since-deleted tweet falsely describing the coronavirus as “the most virulent virus epidemic the world has ever seen.”

But not everyone associated with Feigl-Ding was thrilled with the early panic promotion act. Feigl-Ding’s frequent use of Harvard-associated credentials to elevate his baseless COVID-19 proclamations greatly upset some of his colleagues (despite many of them advocating for the same draconian measures proposed by Feigl-Ding to “combat” the virus), and landed him in hot water with the academic institution.

Twitter, for reasons unknown, decided to credential him as a “COVID-19 health expert,” which further elevates his supposed legitimacy as an “expert” on the pandemic.

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In mid March, Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, described him as a “charlatan exploiting a tenuous connection for self-promotion.” 

The Association of Health Care Journalists also took notice, reporting that he has “precisely zero experience in infectious diseases.” 

An unnamed source at Harvard told The Chronicle on Higher Education in April that Feigl-Ding has “been asked many times to stop promoting himself as having specialized knowledge.” 

In recent months, Feigl-Ding updated his profile to show that he is no longer associated with Harvard. The reasons for his departure have not been made public.

Impersonator

In order to sell his purported expertise on COVID-19, Feigl-Ding has repeatedly misrepresented his credentials. As seen in this screenshot from 2019, prior to the pandemic, Ding clarified that he was a PhD nutritionist, and not a medical doctor. He has since removed the PhD label from his account.

May 8, 2019 (wayback archive):

January, 25 2020 (wayback archive):

Feigl-Ding has continued to muddy the waters surrounding his credentials, taking it to new heights in a new political advertisement. He recently appeared in a pro-Biden Super PAC (funded by Silicon Valley billionaires) ad about the coronavirus pandemic. It features “Dr” Feigl-Ding in a lab coat with tie ensemble that is associated with the attire worn by a medical doctor, not a PhD academic with a background in nutrition research.

“Joe Biden has a plan,” Feigl-Ding says in the ad. “He listens to medical experts. Joe Biden will do what needs to be done so we can live a healthy, normal life again.”

Many reporters were falsely led to believe that Feigl-Ding was one of the medical doctors featured in the ad spot.

Far-left politician/Soros ties

Feigl-Ding has long been a far-left activist who advances his agenda under a healthcare reform label.

In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. Universal healthcare and medicare for all, or socialized medicine, was the centerpiece platform of his congressional run. According to Science Magazine, Feigl-Ding was supported in his run by political networks associated with far-left democrat mega donor George Soros, and FEC records reflect that. Feigl-Ding’s ties with Soros go back many years. In 2008, he received a Soros scholarship for his medical school studies (he would later drop out).  Despite his far-left mega donor support base, Feigl-Ding finished an unimpressive third place in the PA-10 2018 Democratic Primary. 

Feigl-Ding remains closely connected to the Soros network. He currently serves as Treasurer of the The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows Association (PDSFA).

And through his Twitter and Facebook feeds, Feigl-Ding has utilized his unwarranted credential as a “COVID-19 health expert” to promote his far-left politics, disguised as healthcare expertise, to hundreds of thousands of people.

Feigl-Ding’s political aspirations did not cease with his failed congressional run. During this election cycle, he has contributed over $110,000 of his own money to a non-profit he founded called Health Justice For All.

His organization’s website claims to be “building a grassroots network to expose Big Pharma, to fight for affordable medications, and to elect a bold new generation of leaders who will not stop fighting Big Pharma until there is health justice for all.” 

However, there is nothing particularly health oriented about this organization. FEC records show that Feigl-Ding uses Health Justice for All to run attack ads against Republicans and supportive ads for Democrats.

Social media’s foremost COVID-19 hysteric has leveraged his baseless pandemic panic promotion to achieve newfound fame. This month, the hyper-political nutritionist turned “COVID-19 expert” has dedicated his social media feed to nonstop promotion of Joe Biden’s candidacy for president. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that Eric Feigl-Ding’s rise to “public health” stardom has delivered plenty of opportunities to resurface as a true contender in the future political arena.

[Thanks for reading! I would be honored if you are willing to support my work and subscribe to The Dossier, my publication for journalism in the age of our “new normal.”]