Alex Berenson Biography & Facts
Alexander Berenson (born January 6, 1973) is an American writer. He was a reporter for The New York Times and has authored several thriller novels and a book on corporate financial filings. His 2019 book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence sparked controversy, earning denunciations from many in the scientific and medical communities.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Berenson appeared frequently in American right-wing media, spreading false claims about COVID-19 and its vaccines. He spent much of the pandemic arguing that its seriousness was overblown; once COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, he made false claims about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
Early life and education
Berenson was born in New York, and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. After attending the Horace Mann School, he graduated from Yale University in 1994 with bachelor's degrees in history and economics.
Berenson joined The Denver Post in June 1994 as a business reporter. In August 1996, he left the Post to join TheStreet, a financial news website founded by Jim Cramer. In December 1999, Berenson joined The New York Times as a business investigative reporter.
In the fall of 2003 and the summer of 2004, Berenson covered the occupation of Iraq for the Times. More recently, he covered the pharmaceutical and health care industries, specializing in issues concerning dangerous drugs. Beginning in December 2008, Berenson reported on the Bernard Madoff $50 billion Ponzi scheme scandal.
In 2010, Berenson left the Times to become a full-time novelist. He lives in Garrison, New York, with his wife Jacqueline, a forensic psychiatrist.: 1 He has written 12 spy novels, all featuring the same protagonist, CIA agent John Wells. His first novel, The Faithful Spy, was released in April 2006 and won an Edgar Award for best first novel by an American author. The Faithful Spy was ranked #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List for paperbacks.In 2008, Berenson released his second thriller, The Ghost War. His third novel, The Silent Man, followed in 2009. His fourth, The Midnight House, was released in 2010 and debuted at #9 on The New York Times bestseller list. The fifth, The Secret Soldier, was released in 2011 and debuted at #6 on the bestseller list. The sixth, The Shadow Patrol, was released in 2012, and debuted at #8. In July 2012, The Shadow Patrol was named a finalist for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, given by Britain's Crime Writers' Association.
Opposition to cannabis legalization
He authored the controversial 2019 book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence that has been denounced as alarmist and inaccurate by many in the scientific and medical communities because of his claims that cannabis causes psychosis and violence; many scientists state that he is drawing inappropriate conclusions from the research, primarily by inferring causation from correlation,: 1 : 1 : 1 : 1 : 1
as well as cherry picking: 1
data that fits his narrative, and falling victim to selection bias via his use of anecdotes: 1
to back up his assertions.: 1 : 1 : 1 : 1
Early in the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Berenson vocally argued that people and the media were overestimating the risk of the new virus, that it posed little risk to young Americans, and that it was being used as a cover for government overreach. Many public health experts have rejected his claims.: 1 In May 2020, Fox News announced that Berenson would host a TV show called COVID Contrarian on its online streaming platform Fox Nation. However, by July 2020, amid surges in coronavirus cases across parts of the United States, Fox News appeared to have backtracked and removed the announcement of his show from its website.In 2021, Berenson tweeted that COVID-19 vaccinations had led to 50 times more adverse effects than flu vaccine. PolitiFact rated the claim "mostly false". The Atlantic called him "The pandemic's wrongest man", owing to his false claims of the vaccine's ineffectiveness.On August 28, 2021, Twitter permanently suspended Berenson for repeated violations of its policy on COVID-19 misinformation.
John Wells series
The Number (novel) Random House, 2003, ISBN 978-0375508806
Lost in Kandahar (novel) Brilliance Audio, 2012, ISBN 978-1469230948
Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence, 2019, Free Press, ISBN 978-1982103668Awards
2007 Edgar Award for best first novel, for The Faithful SpyReferences
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