One warm weekend in October of 2020, three impeccably credentialed epidemiologists—Jayanta Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff, of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Universities respectively—gathered with a few journalists, writers, and economists at an estate in the Berkshires where the American Institute for Economic Research had brought together critics of lockdowns and other COVID-related government restrictions. On Sunday morning shortly before the guests departed, the scientists encapsulated their views—that lockdowns do more harm than good, and that resources should be devoted to protecting the vulnerable rather than shutting society down—in a joint communique dubbed the “Great Barrington Declaration,” after the town in which it was written.
The declaration began circulating on social media and rapidly garnered signatures, including from other highly credentialed scientists. Most mainstream news outlets and the scientists they chose to quote denounced the declaration in no uncertain terms. When contacted by reporters, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins of the NIH publicly and vociferously repudiated the “dangerous” declaration, smearing the scientists—all generally considered to be at the top of their fields—as “fringe epidemiologists.” Over the next several months, the three scientists faced a barrage of condemnation: They were called eugenicists and anti-vaxxers; it was falsely asserted that they were “Koch-funded” and that they had written the declaration for financial gain. Attacks on the Great Barrington signatories proliferated throughout social media and in the pages of The New York Times and Guardian.
Yet emails obtained pursuant to a FOIA request later revealed that these attacks were not the products of an independent objective news-gathering process of the type that publications like the Times and the Guardian still like to advertise. Rather, they were the fruits of an aggressive attempt to shape the news by the same government officials whose policies the epidemiologists had criticized. Emails between Fauci and Collins revealed that the two officials had worked together and with media outlets as various as Wired and The Nation to orchestrate a “takedown” of the declaration.Jenin Younes, “The U.S. Government’s Vast New Privatized Censorship Regime” at Tablet (September 28, 2022)
Some of us are familiar with the Big Tech Media Smirk with which the writers (one cannot honestly call them “journalists” in any traditional sense) receive such “orders” to sneer. One outcome is disparate impact. For example, hate speech is freely allowed — until the Right People protest it. When they do get around to protesting, it is conveniently removed.
Sadly, in some cases, the “right people” are minors and can’t really protest: “A gay coalition group against the sexualization and indoctrination of children by the modern left-wing LGBT movement has now become the target of tech giants including Google, PayPal, Venmo, and Twitter, which have shut off online services.” – The Federalist, (September 23, 2022)
That group found an online support box despite Big Tech:
We’re now on DonorBox…. for now. Hopefully they don’t prioritize child predators over the right for us to exist too.https://t.co/monxq6IgMo
— Gays Against Gr██mers (@againstgrmrs) September 20, 2022
The “Dilbert” cartoon — a lifeline for many workers trapped in corporate bureaucracies — has been removed from nearly 80 newspapers for its attacks on “Wokeness.” Woke is not a joke, apparently, for Big Tech and its allies.
Many people do not understand how pervasive or detailed the censorship is.
In Canada, for example, most media are funded by the government. Media that are not funded by the government are distrusted by Big Tech, quite apart from issues around fact vs. fiction and so forth. So here’s what happens, from a veteran of how the censorship works:
They boost “trusted” or “quality” media — by which they mean establishment media, left-wing media, government media. You can literally type in the exact name of a Rebel News video, and often YouTube will serve up a CBC or CTV or Global News video on the same subject, instead.
I tell you that to point out how hard it is to get anything trending or going viral on social media these days, if you’re not in league with Trudeau or Biden or the World Economic Forum or whatever.
Twitter is the same. You can see their “curated” list of suggested tweets is always left-wing fads. They sure seem to be pushing the war in Ukraine, too — I wonder if that’s a sponsored ad, like many of their other trending subjects. It’s weird to see wars being promoted, I think.News Analysis, “Half a million Canadians say that Trudeau has to go — and the Liberal Party says they’re just foreign-funded trolls and should be censored” at Rebel News (September 19, 2022)
By the way, if you know nothing at all about the Truckers’ Convoy, that was the real Canada — the one you remember (if you ever visited) — but this time shouting back at Big Government, politely but powerfully earlier this year, about the country’s ruinous Covid restrictions.
Canada depends on trucking to stay together. This vid has not been taken down, as of September 28, 2022:
You may also wish to read: Newsletter group creates alarm plus demands for censorship. Substack is getting a lot of ink these days — raising both hope from readers and hand wringing from old media. The surprising thing about “controversial” Substack is that it is a restoration of the very old idea that we should pay a small amount for the content we want.