A trove of internal Facebook documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal confirms what has been obvious for several years: Facebook exempts select VIPs from its content moderation rules while imposing harsh censorship on disfavored influential figures and regular joes.
This evidence highlights several untested clauses of Section 230, one of which immunizes online platforms from liability if they moderate their sites in “good faith.” Does good faith include some measure of neutrality and equal application of rules? We don’t know because this law has never been fully adjudicated. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would like courts to begin analyzing this and other questions about what Section 230 means.
Section 230, however, is just one facet of a much wider social phenomenon. And when it comes to Covid-19, these broader censorious attitudes and practices may have already pushed us past a danger point. The promotion of one strategy (lockdowns and vaccines) and the suppression of other options (focused protection, aggressive early treatment, cheap rapid testing) have damaged American health and divided us politically.
In July, reporter Alex Berenson flagged emerging data from Israel suggesting a rise in cases and, potentially, even hospitalizations and deaths. Israel was perhaps the earliest and most broadly vaccinated nation on earth. Was this a signal of the vaccine’s failure to block transmission and its lack of durability? For asking this question, Twitter suspended Berenson for a week.
Unfortunately, Berenson was onto something. Over the next few months, Israeli cases and illnesses surged. Of the 607 Israelis who died of Covid-19 in the month of August, 375 (61.8%) had received either two or three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while 232 (38.2%) had either zero or one dose. Because a high proportion of Israelis had been fully vaccinated, the rate of illness among the vaccinated was still lower than the unvaccinated. The vaccines reduce the severity of disease – at least for several months. For most high-risk individuals, vaccination probably still makes sense. Yet the rationale for universal vaccination, for coercive measures, and for the vaccination of young people had crashed.
Scotland, which also vaccinated early and often, is experiencing similar challenges. Between August 26 and September 2, 71.4% of its Covid-19 fatalities were double-vaccinated. In Britain, where 81.4% of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, 8,340 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized, compared to 1,066 at the same time last year.
In the super-multi-faceted pandemic, these data do not tell the whole story. Yet the failure of the official vaccine storyline to pan out as promised should at the very least open our minds to the views of the scientists, physicians, and analysts who proved correct over the last 18 months and who have proposed alternative strategies. (I’m talking about people like Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA vaccine technology; Baylor University cardiologist Peter McCullough; Stanford epidemiologist and economist Jay Battacharya; Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff; and Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, all of whom have been censored.)
Instead, some nations, including the U.S., are tripling down on intrusive vaccine monomania – with the help of social media censors. When Berenson noted on August 28 that the vaccine “doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission,” Twitter banned his account permanently. But the Washington Post had already confirmed Berenson’s observation, reporting on a leaked CDC slide deck acknowledging the same.
A central fact of Covid-19 is its highly differential effect according to age and preexisting conditions. Young, healthy people are nearly invulnerable to Covid. But they and others are not invulnerable to vaccine side-effects, such as myocarditis. Europe’s EudraVigilance network, for example, reports 24,526 Covid vaccine fatalities and 1.13 million serious injuries. The CDC’s VAERS system reports 14,925 Covid vaccine deaths and 60,741 hospitalizations.
For years, most experts acknowledged VAERS substantially undercounts adverse events, perhaps by a factor of 5-10. But now the CDC, FDA, and NIH insist VAERS is unreliable and we should ignore these danger signals.
Everyone agrees VAERS is imperfect. It is meant to detect faint signals among lots of noise, prompting further investigation. But if it is totally useless, as our public health officials now assert, then why has our government, which is spending unlimited billions on Covid, not replaced it with a better surveillance system? How can we conduct the largest medical experiment in world history and studiously avoid collecting reliable data? Especially when governments and businesses are now coercing people – even those who are at almost zero risk from Covid – to take vaccine.
On August 31, two of the FDA’s top vaccine scientists resigned, reportedly because they objected to White House pressure to approve vaccine booster shots. The following week, those two scientists – Marion Gruber and Philip Krause – co-authored a Lancet article warning against boosters at this time. In their Lancet letter, they echoed many of the same concerns which the censored physicians and scientists cite when pumping the brakes on coerced universal vaccination. Many of these doctors, who voice genuine and deeply learned alternative views, are not only being censored by social media but also now face threats from professional medical associations and state boards of licensure.
Are Gruber and Krause, who sped the vaccines through the initial FDA authorizations and approvals, the new anti-vax conspiracy theorists? Apparently not. On September 17, the FDA’s VRBAC vaccine advisory committee, by a vote of 16-2, agreed with Gruber and Krause and rejected boosters for those under 65.
If the vaccines don’t prevent infection or transmission, we cannot insist that everyone take them for public health reasons – to stop the spread. And if the vaccines are sometimes harmful, failing a risk-reward calculation for many people, then we should not encourage everyone to take them for individual health reasons. Dr. Jay Battacharya of Stanford says it may be unwise for those under 30 years old to take vaccine. One scientist presenting at last Friday’s VRBAC meeting, Dr. Doran Fink of FDA, said the myocarditis risk may exceed any vaccine reward for males under 40.
A more targeted and diversified health strategy could have delivered better results. If, in addition to the vaccines, we had focused more on early treatment with monoclonal antibodies and inexpensive and safe drugs (e.g. ivermectin), we might have saved many tens of thousands of lives. Without the economic and social destruction, and with less political venom. The suppression of information has dangerous real-world consequences.
On September 7th, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. She demanded the company clamp down on misinformation, specifically condemning Alex Berenson’s four Covid booklets. People noticed. Berenson’s fourth booklet, the one on vaccines, jumped to the number one best-selling book on all of Amazon.