Dr. Bob Sears monetizes fear


PT Barnum famously said that you can’t go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public and pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears demonstrates the truth of that adage every day.

Like Barnum, Sears depends for his income on the gullibility and lack of sophistication of his target audience. Anti-vaxxers are so naive that they seem to have no awareness that anti-vax is a business, and they’ve been duped into buying an endless array of its useless books and products.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Since Dr. Sears’ followers are having trouble seeing anti-vax for the business that it is, let’s give it a nickname: “Bobsanto.”[/pullquote]

Since Dr. Sears’ followers are having trouble seeing anti-vax for the business that it is, perhaps we should identify what he does by giving a nickname to his business. I suggest “Bobsanto.”

Barnum at least had to put on his circus and that costs money. Monsanto at least has to create products that actually do something. “Bobsanto” doesn’t have to create much of anything to rake in the dough. Sears has figured out how to monetize fear, and that’s free, especially when you create it yourself.

I could spend a lot of time debunking Sears’ claims and insinuations one by one, but I know that’s not very effective, because anti-vaxxers lack the knowledge of immunology needed to understand them in the first place. But even those who never learned chemistry should have learned cynicism though. They should be able to recognize a marketing ploy when they see one.

“Bobsanto” is no more committed to your health and wellbeing than Monsanto is. Both are businesses that make money by promoting and selling products. Monstanto sells a range of products some of which have tremendous value, some of which have serious side effects and all of which fill Monsanto’s coffers.

“Bobsanto” is part of the Sears’ family business, involving his father and siblings, that promotes and sells a range of products all of which have no intrinsic value since don’t do anything besides line the Sears’ pockets. They only have value when you’ve been convinced to fear the less expensive, often far more effective, conventional alternative. That’s where Sears’ and his family members’ true brilliance comes in. They know that their claims don’t have to make sense and don’t even have to be true. They are fluent in the language of both performative motherhood and faux “empowerment” that deluded anti-vaxxers think they are mastering.

Bob Sears provides emotional support by sharing fears about vaccines and by affirming mothers’ right to assign her own unique beliefs to vaccines. This service fills is a critical social need in the context of anti-vax advocacy that depends on a shared cultural consensus for its significance. And he and his family charge a bundle for it.


Monstanto at least gives you a product. Bobsanto merely offers nonsense with a heaping side of self-pity. Dr. Bob imagines portrays himself as persecuted because he has been placed on probabation for violating the standards of medical practice.

Don’t worry, though. Dr. Bob won’t change. He isn’t about to let the his various income streams dry up.

Nothing has changed about the way I practice. I won’t pretend this whole ordeal isn’t stressful. It is. But it has also prompted me to increase my focus and involvement in what really matters to me in this world — giving each and every family I meet complete, objective, and un-doctored informed consent on the topic of vaccination.

What led to his “ordeal”? A recent article in JAMA explains:

The case against Sears, a popular and highly visible California pediatrician known for inventing an alternative vaccine schedule, arose from the 2014 care of a 2-year-old patient. The boy’s mother told Sears that, after previous vaccinations, the boy was unable to defecate or urinate for 24 hours and he went limp “like a ragdoll.” Sears did not take a detailed vaccine-associated history but wrote the boy a medical exemption from all future vaccinations, declaring that his kidneys and intestines had shut down and he had had a so-called severe encephalitis reaction caused by prior vaccinations.

The complaint against him alleged:

…gross negligence, repeated negligent acts in his care for a patient, and failure to maintain appropriate records.

Sears AGREED with all the charges leveled against him so he could continue monetizing the fear he cultivates so assiduously.

Sears can continue practicing medicine but will be required to take an ethics class and 40 hours of medical education courses a year and be monitored by a fellow physician. He also must notify all hospital and medical facilities where he practices about the order …

I suspect it’s going to be a lot harder to get a vaccine exemption from Dr. Sears for the foreseeable future.

Not matter. Anti-vaxxers are utterly oblivious to the fact that Bobsanto, like Monsanto, is an enterprise that exists to create value and profit for its shareholders regardless of whether its products help or harm people.

Proving once again that you can’t go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American anti-vaxxer.